St. Louis, MO Terrible Storm Damage, Apr 1869




St. Louis, April 19, 1869. - The storm king has been holding his Saturnalis in this region. Last night we had a deluge of rain, accompanied with vivid lightning and terrific peals of thunder. No particular damage was done, however, though telegraphing was quite out of the question. About noon today a heavy rain storm, accompanied by lightning and hail, passed over the city.
While the merchants were on change, the lightning struck the Chamber of Commerce, passing through the dome, damaging the painting slightly and putting and end to the transactions for some minutes. At four this afternoon the most terrific hail storm ever witnessed for more than a quarter of a century burst over the city. The winds blew a hurricane, lightning flashed, thunder roared, and the rain and hail fell in torrents.
The storm came from the west, and unnumbered panes of glass were broken in windows on that side of the buildings. All the hotels suffered heavy losses from this cause; sky-lights, everywhere, have been completely riddled, and an immense deal of damage done to buildings. In various parts of the city some small buildings were injured or demolished, though no valuable houses were seriously damaged, except from broken glass and water.
The steeple on the Catholic Church was struck by lightning, and the steeple a good deal shattered. Homeyer's, Shaw's and Elliard's gardens suffered severe loss by the breaking of glass in hot-house frames and injury to plants.
The west side of the Republican office had its forty windows literally riddled with hail, causing the building to look like a wreck. Two hundred and fifty panes of glass were broken. It is estimated that at least $20,000 worth of glass was broken in the city. It is said that over one thousand street lamps are broken.
Bailey's large menagerie tent in the western part of the city was lowered at the approach of the storm so that it formed in funnel shape through which fifty bushels of hail passed into the arena. Terrific consternation was created among the animals, and it was with the greatest difficulty that the lions, tigers, rhinoceros and other animals were kept from bursting out of their cages. A number of persons were slightly injured in consequence of the storm, though none seriously, except two persons, who are said to have a leg, each, broken in some way.
The storm came up very suddenly, and created a frightful confusion among horses and carriages. Two funerals, on their way to the cemeteries, were overtaken by the storms, and the horses to both hearses ran away, overturning the vehicles, and threw both coffins into the streets.
It is impossible to detail the innumerable incidents of the storm, and it is a miracle that no lives were lost and so few persons injured. The storm extended east and west as far as heard from.

Nashville Union and American Tennessee 1869-04-22