Galesburg, IL Tornado, May 1858
THE GREAT TORNADO
(Correspondence of the Tribune)
GALESBURG MAY 14TH 1858
The frightful storm which swept through this section Thursday afternoon, visited our city with terrible power.
The direction was at first north-west, but varied soon to north-east, and came down with overwhelming force, carrying away every moveable thing, tearing up trees and side-walks, unroofing houses, burying in ruins numerous buildings and frames, and racking others into unsafe positions.
The storm was accompanied by an unheard of volume of rain, pouring in such torrents as to perfectly fill the atmosphere, concealing the nearest objects, and making the air so dense with water that respiration could with difficulty be sustained out of doors. The ravages in our city are not yet entirely known, but the greatest loss was the entire destruction of the new and unfinished Church of the First Congregational Society, upon which $19,000 had already been expended. The spire, (the highest in central Illinois,) was twisted from the tower and hurled upon the central sections of the roof, crushing it in to the basement floor, and so racking the walls that they soon fell, leaving only the end walls standing, which were supported by projections, The Church was a beautiful structure, being near to completion, and its loss will be felt by the whole city.
The Catholic Church, a good substantial building, erected during the past year, was entirely demolished.
The new College building (Knox College )was somewhat damaged. The front gothic window, two stories in height, was blown in, admitting the storm and rain, damaging floors, ceilings etc.
Lombard University also sustained some damages.
The new Female Seminary of Knox College was injured badly in the roofing, sashes, cornices and chimney.
The engine house of the Chicago & Quincy R.R was crushed by the force of the storm, burying in its ruins engines and other railroad stock, with considerable injury. Several cars on the Peoria and Oquawka R.R were capsized near the depot and broken. A large number of buildings around the depot belonging to the companies, and, also, private dwellings, barns and outhouses in that vicinity, were twisted about or overthrown by the hurricane.