Chicago, IL Storm Blows Buildings Down, Apr 1892

Frightful Disaster At Chicago
A Seven-Story building Blown Over on the Adjoining Occupied Residences
Eight of the Occupants Crushed to Death, Seven mortally Wounded, and Others Badly Hurt

Chicago, April 2.--Deathg rode into the city on a mighty puff of wind that hurled the rain in sheets upon the pavements shortly before 6 o'clock last evening. The storm struck the seven-story building at 14 and 16 Pearce street a blow that caused the structure to collapse and in its fall it crushed a frame cottage into kindling wood. Fourteen people are supposed to have been in the little house, and the following list of the dead and wounded tells the frightful story: MRS. ELIZA ALLEN, an invalid, who lived on the second floor, crushed about the head and body; MRS. J.L. GOWAN, crushed about the abdomen; WILLIAM GOWAN, 3 years old, head crushed; MARY GOWAN, 4 years old, smothered beneath the debris; DAVID D. HEWLETT, 8 months old, frightfully crushed; EDWARD MOTT, 2 years old, smothered; HORACE MOTT, 5 years old, smothered; MARY WALSH, 20 years old, a niece of MRS. GOWAN.

A Long List of the Injured

JAMES GOWEN, 30 years old, leg broken and hurt internally-may live; ALICE HEWLETT, 8 years old, crushed about the legs, head and body-cannot live; MRS. ADA KEOWN, hurt about the head and injured internally-will die; JAMES MOTT, crushed about the head-mortally injured; MRS. JAMES MOTT, fatally hurt; JANE MOTT, 12 years old, spine injured-may die; MAMIE MOTT, 10 years old, serious wounds on the head-probably live; HORACE WYGANT, bruised about the body and shoulders-will die; MARY WYGANT, wife of Horace, terribly crushed about the body and head-will die; HORACE WYGANT, infant, head crushed-will die; MRS. ELLEN GLEASON, slightly injured; MRS. KATE O'SHAUNESSY, slightly cut about the face; MARK SEAVEY, slightly cut about head; MRS. FRANK GILLENNY, slightly hurt; HENRY WASCOE, arm cut; JACOB JAQUES , [illegible] and arms, not seriously; [illegible] cut on head and left leg.

Joliet Man Missing

[illegible] EIRSDALE, of Joliet, Ills., a cousin of SARAH GOWAN, may also be numbered with the dead whose bodies have not been recovered. He came to the city several days ago to visit his friends and relatives and stayed at JAMES GOWAN’S house. It was not learned until late last night that he was in the house at the time, but the fact was established when no trace of him could be found elsewhere.

The Death Dealing Blast

For some minutes the rain had been falling in torrents, accompanied by frequent flashes of lightning and deafening thunder. The wind rapidly increased in velocity, and then came the blast that caused the disaster. It came from the south and west. On the west side of the building, which towered fifty feet above the frame houses, were many open windows, while the east side wall was solid. The wind seemed to life the roof slightly, and then with a mighty crash, heard half a mile away, it fell to the eastward. The base of the west wall was thrown outward, and it lifted from its foundation the cottage on that side of the building and hurled it with frightful force across an alley eight feet wide against the cottage on the other side of the narrow thoroughfare.

Buried Beneath The Debris

The houses to the east of the collapsed structure bore the brunt of the fall. The two-story frame cottage at 12 Pearce street was buried beneath the thousand tons of brick and mortar. The cottage of 10 Pearce street was torn and twisted, and will be taken down at once. It is unsafe and could not resist the power comprized(sic) in an ordinary summer breeze. The cottages at 20 Pearce street and 18 ½ Pearce street were also so badly torn that they will have to come down.

Davenport Daily Leader, Davenport, IA 3 Apr 1892