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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (March 30, 1913)
PAGES ONE TO TEN
PAGES ONE TO TEN
VOL. XLII NO. 41.
OMAHA, SUNDAY MORNING, MARCH 30, 1913.
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By JAMES 15. WOOTAN.
'Tis my task, O queen, vo consider what you havo
done: on me it is Incumbent to execute your
commands. You conciliate to mo whatever of
power I have, my sceptre and Jove. You grant
mo to sit at tho tables of tho gods and you make"
me lord of tho storms and tempests.
Thus having said, whirling the point of his spear,
ho struck the hollow mountain's side: and tho
winds, as In a formed battalion, rush forth at
every vent and scour over the lands in a hurri
cane. They press upon tho ocean and at once,
east and south, and stormy southwest, plough
up the whole deep fronr its lowest bottom and
roll vast billows to the shores. The cries Of tho
seamen succeed and tho cracking of tho cordage.
In an Instant clouds snatch the heavens and day
from tho oyes of tho Trojans: gable night sits
brooding on tho sea, thunder roara from pole to
pole, the sky glares with repeated flashes and
all nature threatens them with Immediate death.
Virgil's graphic description of Aeolus's sorvlllty
to cruel Juno and a bit of what follows his obedi
ence of her commands.
HE tornado struck Omaha Sunday at
about 5:50 d. m.. entering at Flfty-
11 fourth and Center streets, the extremo
HUUlllWCOLi ui6Wii; iv
tho city to tho northeast, going over
the bluff at about Fourteenth and
Bpencer streets, demolishing tho Missouri Pacific
roundhouso, leveling the big trostle work of tho
IlllnotB Central across Carter lake, wrecking somo
buildings at the Rod and dun club and vanishing.
Tho path of the storm reached for a length of
some six miles with a width from two to six blocks.
It resulted In 120 deaths, to which should be
added seven In Ralston and eleven in Council
Dluffs; Injured, 850, not fatally; totally demol
ished 550 homea; partially wrecked 1,250 other
homes; eleven churches, eight bcIiooIb and a num
ber of small stores and shops; rendered 2,500 per
sons homeless and destroyed or damagod property
valued at JD, 000,000, on which approximately
$500,000 In tornado Insurance was carried.
Weather Prosaged Terrible Storm.
Preceding the storm the weather was cloudy
and unsettled, growing abnormally warm toward
evening with intermittent hall and rain. For hours
the barometers showed the lowest registration. A
shower of rain, succeeding bail, UBhercd in the
tempest, and a torrent followed It from a sky of
raint yellowish hue, soon deepening Into red with
rising tongues of flameB from buildings set afire
by the storm. But a little while and the rain
ceased, nightfall was utterly black, darkness every
where, as all electric and gas street lights went
out. then the mercury began to fall, and within
an hour and a half the air was biting, steadily
growing colder through the night.
Thousands of people saw the fatal funnel-shaped
cloud rise out of the southwest and many watched
it throughout its course. It was of dull greyish
color and seemed to emit smoke as it came on its
mission of death. But those who saw it, while,
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perhaps, haunted by the vision, will never forgot
that horrifying roar accompanying it. It waB a
steadily-sustained, deep, terrlblo rumbling like the
grunt of eomo hideous monster in distress, and it
vibrated with a sort of hum as If koeplng time to
Ite terrible volocity. Nonror and nearer It comoa,
moro doprossiiiB and deadonlng and slakonlng the
pound. In the oplc speech of tho Roman poet,
"thundor ronre from polo to pole, tho sky glares
with ropoated flashes and all naturo threatens thorn
with immodiato death."
Personal Kxpcricncotf and Observations.
Some havo tried to doBcribo this tornado oloud
as many great engines rumbling on abreast to
destroy a city. Remarkable oxperlencos havo been
related by those who stood and gazod at what thoy
believed to be their doom.
Many charmed by the glamor, or transfixed by
fear, or bewildered beyond fright, stood still and
gazed at the fleeting inferno, while others fled for
refuge to collars or lay prostrate upon the ground,
and some of both were taken, and somo spared..
Cellars did not prove a sure retreat In evory enso.
Many became in a twinkling tho dark chambers of
The first trace of tho tornado within Omaha's
limits was at Fifty-fourth and Center streets. From
there it traveled north, veering slightly to the east,
to Leavenworth street. Thence it traversed a north
easterly course to Fortieth and Farnam, clearing
its path as it went. At Fortieth and Farnam it
spread its ominous wings until they stretched from
Forty-second on the west to Thirty-eighth on the
east, and thus arrayed, it tore like a ravishing
demond down to tho north. Apparently it had
directed its course in a straight line, centering
about Fortieth and Forty-first streets, but suddenly
in a new caprice it voerod again a little to tho oast
and touched its moit northern point on the west at
Saunders school, Forty-first avenue and Cass
Wise folk Bay cyclones and tornadoes, once they
strike a lowland, will keep to It Instead of turning
That 1b only one of tho many vagnrles people
Indulgo about these phenomena.
Wrecks tlio Homes of Wealth.
In veering it mounted the beautiful heights of
Thirty-eighth stroot, crowned with costly dwell
ings, mostly now and built of solid material. Into
their midst it dipped as in fiendish mockery of the
magnificence puny man had wrought. And it tors
through this region of wealth and beauty as If it
wero a canebreak, hurling houses, or parts of
houses, high Into the air and far down the slops
of tho hill to the east.
But theso cruel wings which had spread at For
tieth and Farnam encompassed that rich row of
architectural beauty ranging along Thirty-ninth,
from Farnam north to Davenport, buttressed by
the Joslyn castle.
W. A. Smith's now burnt brick residence. Just
north of Thirty-ninth and Farnam corner, escaped
with but slight damage, but tho red stone homo of
H. H. Baldrlge, tho Crofoot residence, a masslvo
frame structure, built and once occuped by former
President II. G. Burt of the Union Pacific; the
Redtck place; several others newer and as hand
somo, were cruelly handled In this rampage. Casper
B. Yost's large grey brick at Thirty-ninth and
Davenport was glvon a few cursory slaps as tho
wind leaped in ghoulish glee to wreck 'tho towering
turrets of the Joslyn castle.
And hero about this groat estate one catches
a now conception of tho velocity of cyclones. The
Joslyn plaeo Is enclosed with a heavy ntone wall,
surmounted by strong iron fencing, which is deep
set in tho stone. Before the wind this both stone
(Continued on Page Two,)
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