Rockford, IL Winnebago County Court House Collapse, May 1877


CHICAGO, May 11. --- A Tribune's special from Rockford, Ills., says: A pall has fallen over what this morning was a happy community. The Winnebago county court house, which this morning when our citizens commenced their days labor was the pride of their hearts, is now a desolate ruin, a monument of criminal incompetency. Some families which bade adieu to their loved ones this morning, received their corpses to-night disfigured by the ruins from which they were drawn piece meal.

The building was not yet under roof and the massive stone cornice which preceded the roof was to-day being put on. Just as the keystone was being placed in the dome of the main pavillion[sic] the brick work between the iron and stone gave way and the entire dome and the interior walls of the structure came crashing down --- with a terrible crash that was heard nearly a mile away.

Within ten minutes after the disaster no less than four bodies were recovered by the almost superhuman efforts of the crowd that quickly gathered. Up to 7 p. m. the following list of victims were obtained:

A. HAUGH, dead;
A LUCAS, (engineer) leg broken and badly injured;
T. HAYES, (engineer of the lower floor) badly hurt but may recover;
WM. McJUNES, leg broken, elbow injured and a scaly [sic] wound;
J. F. PECK, mortally injured;
J. PIPPE, dead;
A. H. HALLANFECK, dead, remains in building;
GEORGE SMITH, badly hurt;
J. WARREN, missing and probably dead;
HUGH ALDRED, hurt in leg and face;
LINHOLM, dying;
J. LAWSON, colored, reported dead;
A. BALDAL, badly injured, but may recover.
H. W. ARNES, was working on the southeast corner, and fell down to the first story, but escaped from the second story window. His head is badly hurt;
BENJAMIN BROWN, colored, slightly hurt;
ISAIAH DONNELLY, two severe scalp wounds and cut in the head;
HUGH ELDREDS, contusion of leg, and face hurt;
GEORGE SMITH, neck and head hurt;
CICERO DIXON, contusion of the thigh;
DONNALLY is seriously wounded, but all those wounded will probably recover. C. HARRIS, of Dixon, a carpenter, was injured internally, and so badly that his leg must be amputated, and he will die probably.

W. D. RICHARDSON, contractor, and F. E. LATHAM, superintendent, had a narrow and thrilling escape. They were both on top of the dome of the building before it fell, and were talking of the probability of its falling when they heard a crash, and rushed at once for the west wall, where they stood when the dome went down. Had they been a moment later both must have perished. When the dust cleared away both were standing on the wall.

The Cornoror's [sic] jury has been called, and this afternoon, identified the dead bodies.

Liberty Weekly Tribune Missouri 1877-05-18