St. Charles, MO Tornado, Feb 1876

A Fearful Tornado

ST. CHARLES MO., Feb. 27. -- About half past 2 o'clock this evening our city was visited by the most terrible tornado ever known.

At the hour names dark clouds came sweeping down from the south. Rain began to fall, followed by hail. In a moment dark yellow streaks were observed following in the course of the clouds. A noise as loud as thunder was then heard, and in the twinkling of an eye the tornado was upon us.

The heavens were shut out by the debris of wrecked buildings which filled the air, so that nothing could be discerned. The roar of the wind was appalling, and every one was paralyzed by fear.

The duration of the tornado could not have been longer than one half of a minute. As soon as it subsided and people began to venture out the sight that met their eyes was such as to make the stoutest heart quail.

The main street of our city from Water street to Clark, a distance of some twenty squares, was filled with bricks, porches.

The loss of life has not yet been ascertained. So far two bodies have been taken from the ruins of the gas works, JAMES GOSNEY and his little son; both were found in the retort house under one of the massive retorts. The child was closely clasped in the arms of its father. Both bodies were crushed so as to be unrecognizable.

A little boy of MRS. LINNEBAR is still missing. Some parties assert that they saw a little child blown over the St. Charles bridge, which is 90 feet high. Several other persons are missing, but at this hour hopes are entertained that they will be found.

Below is given a partial list of the damage done to the most important buildings:
Court-house unroofed and front blown down; Concert hall and St. Charles Savings bank totally destroyed; new county jail unroofed and the walls on four sides of two stories down, leaving the cells with their inmates entirely exposed; three story building of Meyer Bros. Damaged to the amount of $3,000; St. Charles gas-works totally destroyed; Pieper's large agricultural warehouse levelled [sic] to the ground; F. X. KREMER'S wheat warehouse totally destroyed; the First National bank will have to be pulled down; large livery stable of R. O. HARRIS unroofed and otherwise damaged to the amount of $2,000.

Some fifteen or twenty other buildings were blown down, and every house on Main street more or less damaged.

The Phelps County New Era Missouri 1876-03-04