Chicago, IL Storm Blows Buildings Down, Apr 1892 - Insane with Fright

People Insane With Fright
A Terrible Scene After the Crash-The Rescuers-Other Disasters

The sound of the awful crash had not died away before the narrow street was filled with screaming men, women and children. The people living in the four houses wrecked, but not crushed as was the one at 12, were almost without exception insane with fright. One woman, tearing her hair and screaming at the top of her voice, went running through the mud and rain, and was not stopped until she reached Halsted street. In an incredibly short space of time there were 2,000 or more people crowding, shouting and crying into the little street.

Arrival of the Rescuers

Then the police, thirty strong, under Inspector Ross, and the firemen, under the personal command of Fire Marshal Swenie, came thundering up in patrol wagons and fire department vehicles. The first care of the firemen and police was to inspect the wrecked cottages still maintaining an upright position. From these were carried several fear-stricken men and women. Then began the digging in the ruins for the dead and injured. Within half and hour HORACE WYGANT and MRS. WYGANT were taken from the ruins bleeding and crushed.

Dead Children Taken Out

Then the two MOTT children, lying side by side, were found beneath a great beam. They were both dead. In another part of the debris firemen discovered JAMES GOWAN. For three hours the rescuers worked before they freed him. His right leg was pinioned by a heavy timber and it required tremendous labor to extricate him. Suffering awful torture during all that time GOWAN never lost consciousness, but directed the firemen in their work.

The Building Which Collapsed

And so the work went on until the list of dead and injured reached the totals given above. The collapsed building fronted north, and its east wall was about 100 feet west of Desplaines street. It had a frontage of fifty feet, 118 deep, and seven stories high. It had not been completed, work on the roof having been concluded only Thursday, and much of the interior work yet to be done. S.E. Young was the owner and E.J. Mills was the contractor.

A Flat Building Wrecked

A two-story frame in Flat Crossing, on Adams Avenue, between seventy-fourth and seventy-fifth streets, blew down during the early part of the storm. Four persons were hurt-CLARK ERRICKSON, contractor, internally hurt; CHARLES BENSEN, carpenter, slightly; HENRY WICKWIRE, plumber's helper, injured in back; JOHN LADD, 16 years old, plumber's helper, collar bone and arm broken.

Back Broken and Will Die

At the corner of 64th and Champlain avenue, in Woodlawn, an unfinished frame building went down before the storm. Three men were injured, one PETER BLUMM having his back broken and will die. A two-story frame at 37 Perry street was blown to pieces, as was another at 75 Nebraska avenue. Several other men were hurt in different parts of the city by flying debris.

Davenport Daily Leader, Davenport, IA 3 Apr 1892