Cincinnati, OH Great Tornado Destruction, May 1860



Cincinnati, Tuesday, May 22.
The most destructive tornado ever known visited this city yesterday afternoon between 3 and 4 o'clock. The storm came from the northwest, and appeared to be a cloud densely black, some two miles in breadth, rushing forward with fearful rapidity, accompanied with thunder and lightning, and torrents of rain.
The damage done in this city by the blowing down and unroofing of houses is immense, and will probably approximate $500,000.
A large number of persons were injured, but as far as ascertained, but six persons were killed.
The roof of the new Commercial office building was blown off, portions of which were carried to the distance of an entire square. A part of the wall fell through JOHNSON'S saloon, adjoining, injuring several persons who were on the ground floor.
The steeple of St. Andrew's Church was blown off and fell through the roof.
Almost all the public buildings, school houses and churches, besides a large number of dwellings, were unroofed, or otherwise damaged.
The telegraph lines in every direction were prostrated.
Little is known of the damage in the country, but as far as is ascertained it has been fully as severe as in the city.
The Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad was covered with a forest of fallen timber between here and Carthage Village, and the country along the Little Miami Railroad, between here and Cleveland, suffered terribly.
At Loveland the railroad depot and other buildings were demolished, as was also the railroad shop at Lawrenceburgh.
The Catholic Seminary on the hill beyond Brighton was unroofed and otherwise badly damaged.
The storm visited Cumminsville with great fury. The Catholic Orphan Asylum was completely unroofed, and the road between Cumminsville and the Brighton House completely covered with trees torn up by the roots. The nurseries and gardens along the orad suffered terribly.
The storm raged with fearful violence along the river. The steamers at the levee were, however, properly moored, and weathered the gale.
The steamer Virginia Home, when two miles above the City, was capsized, and the cabin parting from the hull, floated down the river in fragments. There were but three passengers on board, all of whom were saved. Two of the crew were lost. The boat was valued at $6,000.
As Spring Grove Cemetery the destruction to monuments, trees and shrubbery was severe.
Along the Cincinnati, Wilmington and Zanesville Railroad, from Morristown to Circleville, trees were blown down by thousands, and several houses were destroyed. There was great destruction of trees and shrubbery, and all slong the Clifton avenues the trees were uprooted.
A train on the Covington and Lexington Railroad was thrown from the track, and the locomotive and baggage car completely demolished. The passengers escaped uninjured.
A heavy rain set in early in the evening, and continued till after midnight, drenching the habitations already made roofless by the tornado, which is conceded to have been the most disastrous known to the present generation.
It is impossible to estimate all the damage that has been done, but scarcely a house in the city has escaped uninjured.
No traces were seen of the storm on the Ohio and Mississippi Road, west of Lawrenceburg. From that point east its signs are seen on every hand.
Northwest of the city it appears to have extended about seven miles in the line of the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad.
The tornado was very severe as far east as Chillicothe.
Trees were blown down in all drections, houses unroofed, and a general destruction of property is apparent in all quarters.
Great fears are entertained for steamboats and coalboats on the river above here.
The storm along the river above and below was very severe. At Madison, Indiana, six or eight buildings were unroofed, but no lives were lost. Three of four pair of coal boats were sunk, and six men are missing. The steamer Eunice was partly wrecked near Ghent, Kentucky. Her cabin and chimneys were blown overboard, together with a quantity of freight. The steamer Argyle lost her chimneys. Wharf boats at Patriot, Chent and Carroliton were torn from their moorings; carried up stream and wrecked. At New Richmond, Ohio, several buildings were unroofed, and a vast amount of damage was done to boats and rafts. Six pair of coal boats were in sight as the storm came on, but nothing has been seen of them since. All on board have probably perished. The railroads have sustained but little damage, and are all in running order.

The New York Times New York 1860-05-23