Cloud & Sauk Rapids, Minnesota Tornado
April 14, 1886
THE WIND'S WRECK
AWFUL DESTRUCTION BY A CYCLONE IN MINNESOTA.
St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids Visited by a Whirl
Wind The Loss of life Appalling Great
Confusion and Excitement Render Particulars
Meagre [sic] Help Sent From St. Paul.
ST. PAUL, Minn., April 15. -- St. Cloud and
Sauk Rapids were swept by a terrible destructive
cyclone about 5:30 yesterday afternoon. The
first knowledge of the disaster was contained in
the following telegram sent to
Mayor AMES, of
Minneapolis from St. Cloud, asking for help:
To Mayor AMES Minneapolis: A destructive
cyclone passed over St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids
late this afternoon. There has been terrible
destruction here. Please send up all the
assistance you can immediately by special train.
Send physicians and surgeons.
Telegrams to the following effect were
received from Sauk Rapids:
To Mayor AMES, Minneapolis: Can you send a
special train with physicians to this city? A
cyclone passed over the city this afternoon. A
great many are believed to have been killed, but
the number is not yet known.
Immediately, upon the recept [sic] of these
messages, preparations were made to respond to
the call for help. A train for St. Cloud left at
The cyclone began about 3 o'clock in the
basin of the Masonic cemetery, forming a
whirlwind about 1,000 feet in diameter. It took
almost every tree in the circle from the ground
or twisted it off at the trunk. Great stones
were tore up and carried along with the wind.
Moving slowly along in a southeasterly direction
it wrecked the Catholic chapel and several
houses in its course across the prairie
adjoining the town. It completely demolished
large brick house and scattered fifty or more
smaller frame houses like so many feathers. In
most cases nothing was left to mark the site of
dwellings but cellars. The prairies were strewn
with timbers, furniture and clothing. The
freight depot of the Manitoba road was a total
wreck. Numerous cars loaded with freight were
blown half a mile and rails wrenched from the
track. It passed the limits of the town just
west of Lieut. Gov.
GILMAN'S residence, killing several
horses. It crossed the Mississippi at the Sauk
Rapids wagon bridge which it demolished. It here
widened to six hundred feet, and levelled [sic]
grist mill. From there it swept through the
center of the town, taking the best of the
business part of it, including the court house,
hotel, public school and every important
business building in the town except
The village is virtually wiped out, four-fifths
of the buildings being leveled. The fatalities
in St. Cloud, though great, are not equal in
number to those in Sauk Rapids. In every house
most all of the inmates were more or less hurt.
The dead at St. Cloud, so far as known, area
as rollows [sic]:
MRS. WEISMAN and little girl and a
son 4 years old.
MRS. STEIN, a widow.
A son 4 years old, of
SHORTRIDGE YOUNG, a railroad man.
An unknown railroad man.
Two young children of
A baby of
The dead at Sauk Rapids are:
J. BERG, a
merchant, and two children.
JOHN KENARD, county auditor.
GEORGE LINDLEY, county treasurer.
Two children of
C. G. WOOD, merchant.
Child of P. CARPENTER,
clerk of the court.
P. BEAUPRE, judge of the probate
EDGAR HILL, president of the German
A brief dispatch has just been received
saying that between 40 and 50 bodies have been
recovered from the ruins at St. Cloud and the
search is not completed. The town presented a
scene of utmost desolation as seen by the light
of flickering lanterns and the groans of the
wounded and lamentations of those who have lost
relatives are heart rending in the extreme.
Among the injured is
ex-Senator E. G. HULBERT,
formerly of Binghamton, N. Y., but at
present Northwestern agent of the New York
Mutual Life Insurance company. He is not
expected to live.
ST. PAUL, Minn., April 15. -- From Sauk
Rapids, the storm struck Rice's Station, Benton
countg [sic], demolishing the village and
killing or injuring nearly the entire people.
The wires are down and no definite information
is obtainable from that point.
ST. PAUL, Minn., April 15. -- The reports
of the cyclone at St. Cloud, Sauk Rapids, Rice
Station and other points in that vicinity last
night were not exaggerated. At 3 o'clock this
morning in the places named there were 49
persons dead and very nearly 200 injured, with
many still missing, whose bodies probably will
be recovered by night. Just enough houses are
left in Sauk Rapids to form a fringe around the
village limits. The debris is not piled in
heaps, but is scattered far and wide. The sign
at Sauk Rapids on the Manitoba depot and a
basketful of books were found in Rice Station,
15 miles distant. This shows the terrible power
of the storm. No reports have yet been received
from outlying districts, where it is believed
great destruction of property and loss of life
has been wrought. The storm extended from
Jamestown, Dakota, through Minnesota and into
Wisconsin, though its most disastrous effects
are to be found in the three places first named.
ST. PAUL, Minn., April 15. -- The city council
this morning voted $5,000 in cash to aid the
cyclone sufferers and
Gov. HUBBARD dispatched a carload of
provisions to Sauk Rapids. The car was
accompanied by a committee of the Jobbers Union
who will offer all the assistance in their
who with others went last evening by special
train for St. Cloud returned this morning and
was at once called upon by a reporter. Upon
reaching St. Cloud, he said, the physicians from
St. Paul and Minneapolis divided, part going to
Sauk Rapids. DR. DENSLOW was on the force sent
to the St. Benedictine Sisters Hospital and they
were kept busy until 4 o'clock this morning. The
reports are in no way exaggerated. The storm was
fully as disastrous as reported and may in the
end prove worse. Fully twenty-five injured were
brought to this hospital alone and he does not
know how many more were cared for in private
houses. Two of those brought to the Hospital
will probably die.
One is a woman who has broken her collar
bone, both bones of the left forearm and both
bones of the left leg fractured, and the pelvis
broken, an accident seldom chronicled in the
annals of surgery. The head and face are bruised
beyond recognition, yet, strange to say, the
woman is conscious and talked freely saying her
hip hurt some, but otherwise she felt no pain.
The other probably fatal case is a young man 20
years old. Both legs were so badly crushed they
had to be amputated midway between the knee and
thigh. One man, lying in the hospital badly
injured, said three of his children were dead.
DRS. DENSLOW and
RITCHIE, shortly after midnight, went
across to Sauk Rapids to render what assistance
they could there. Twenty three dead bodies had
then been found and doctors from Minneapolis
were busy caring for the injured.
BIG LAKE, Minn., April 13(?), --
DRS. HIGBEE and DELLIVER
of Minneapolis have just arrived. The
latter told an Associated Press reporter that
new bodies were being recovered hourly from the
debris and being brought in from the country.
Twelve injured people were brought in. Some of
these will die. Druggist
remains had just been brought in. Four have died
of wounds since this morning. At a church cast
thirteen of a wedding party were killed
including the officiating minister.
At Sauk Rapids 31 are already dead. The list
will be swelled to 40.
DR. AMES of Minneapolis, on duty at
St. Cloud, told DR.
DELIVER at least 30 deaths can but
result there. Capt.
FARLEY, an old settler of Sauk Rapids
weighing 280 pounds was blown 400 feet in the
The Daily Northwestern Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Submitted & transcribed by Stu
Beitler Thank you,
On April 14, 1886 (4PM) the deadliest tornado
in Minnesota history razed parts of St. Cloud
and Sauk Rapids, leaving 72 dead and 213
injured. 11 members of a wedding party were
killed including the bride and groom.
Minnesota Tornado History and Statistics
View photos of the tornado at Sauk Rapids
from the Minnesota Historical Society
for more information on the St. Cloud & Sauk
and other disasters in the Historic
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