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Pictures and Illustrations.

The Great Tornado at St. Louis Cover Page

Commercial and Pine Streets.

The First Victim. At Tower Grove Park.

Searching for Bodies in Ruins of Soulard Market.

A Blockade.

Lafayette Park, looking North from Lafayette Av.

Bird's-eye View of Saint Louis Looking West.

Anchor Hall, Cor. Jefferson and Park Avs.

Bird's-eye View of East St. Louis, Looking East.

Broadway and Soulard Street.

Annunciation Church, Sixth and La Salle Streets.

Mueller Bros. Furniture Warehouse, Broadway and Chouteau Avenue. Residences on Mississippi Avenue, Wreck of Mississippi Steamer.

Southeast Corner Broadway and Barry Street.

Northwest Broadway and Barry Street — Pestalozzi School in Rear.

Broadway, Near Miller Street.

Train of Southern Electric Railroad on Eighth and Park Avenue.

Trinity Church, Eighth and Lafayette Avenue.

St. Paul Evang. Church, 1804 South Ninth Street.

Southeast Corner Seventh Street and Park Avenue.

Scoenthaler Manufacturing Co., 1013-1019 Chouteau Avenue.

Wreck of Engine House No. 7, Rutger and Eighteenth Streets.

Power House People's (Cable) Railroad.

Missouri Avenue Looking West from Lafayette Park.

Lafayette Park.

Lafayette Avenue. Lafayette Park. Mississippi Avenue.

Car Sheds and Power House Union Depot Railroad.

Lafayette Avenue, Looking East from Jefferson Avenue.

Union Club, Lafayette and Jefferson Avenues.

Storage Warehouse on Jefferson Avenue and La Salle Street.

Oregon Avenue, Looking South from Russell. Residences in Compton Heights. Residence on Alpine and Jefferson Avenue. Seventh and Gratiot Streets. Residences on Jefferson Avenue.

North Side of Russell Avenue Between Oregon and Ohio Avenues.

Ohio Avenue, Looking North from Russell Avenue.

Allen Avenue, Looking East from Ohio Avenue.

Residence on California Avenue and Accomac Street.

Residences on Compton Heights.

Rear of Oregon, South of Russell Avenue. Rear of Waverly Place, Looking East from Jefferson Avenue.

Southeast Corner Seventh and Rutger Streets. The Death Trap.

Southwest Corner Seventh and Rutger Streets. The Death Trap.

City Hospital, Looking East.

Cotton Compress Company, River and Miller Street. St. Louis Refrigerator and Wooden Gutter Company, Main and Park Avenue.

United Elevator Co.'s Elevator B, Foot of Chouteau Avenue. Ruins of Club House in Foreground.

Elevator B. (River Bin Warehouse).

Plant Milling Co., Main and Chouteau Avenue.

Commercial Street, Looking Southwest from Pine Street.

Merchant's Elevator, Taken from Wreck of the Charlotte Boeckeler.

Eastern Approach Eads Bridge.

Hezel Mill. Kehlor's Mill. Electric Light Plant on Island. St. Mary's Church.

Douglas School on Island.

Site Where Tremont Hotel Stood. City Hall and Jail Adjoining. Wreck on Missouri Avenue. Wreck of Railroad Ferry-Boat. Wrecks of East St. Louis Railroad Yards.

Where the Famous Martell House Stood. Relay Depot in the Distance.

Mount Calvary Episcopal Church, Jefferson and Lafayette Avenues.

Stemmery at Liggett

Gasometer, Fourteenth and Papin Streets.

Lafayette Park Presbyterian Church, Missouri Avenue, Corner Albion Place.

St. Patrick's Church, Sixth and Biddle Streets.

Hospital and Chapel at the Poor House.

Lafayette Park M. E. Church, Lafayette Avenue, Corner Avenue.



The Great Tornado at St. Louis, on the Evening of May 27th, 1896.

BRUISED and torn and bleeding, staggering from the force of the blow, but still reliant and confident in her own strength, St. Louis to-day is standing in the view of hundreds of thousands of visitors, a beautiful picture even in her misery and pain. Though 200 of her children were torn from her by the merciless wind, and scores are lying in the hospitals on beds of agony, she is rallying her superb resources ready to begin again the march of progress. Property worth millions was snatched from her bosom, and from the fair surface of her vicinage huge factories, beautiful dwellings, gigantic elevators and thousands of homes of the poor have been razed. Dazed and half-blinded she has struggled to her feet, groping in the darkness of affliction.

Every day we see clouds in the sky. Sometimes they are idle and fleecy and their soft surface is tinged with a coloring that reminds one of the fabled silver lining. Again they are angry and dull, and from their inner-most recesses leap forth tongues of fire, followed by crashes that jar the earth like the discharge of a thousand pieces of heavy artillery. They grow familiar and we scarcely notice them save when some glorious evening the sun takes them in hand just as he is going to rest and spreads on them tints which defy the painter's brash. They are our friends, the clouds, but sometimes they turn on us and smite us. They are cruel to the extreme of cruelty.

Wednesday the clouds gathered in conclave over St. Louis and formed a line of battle. For months and weeks they had been hovering in an atmosphere that made them worried and restless. They were surcharged with energy generated by excessive heat, and they were surly. Down below them myriads of mortals ran about the streets of the big city like ants, each carrying out his part in the daily journey of the world. Across the river dense volumes of smoke arose and from the many railroad yards the shriek of locomotive whistles mingled with the rumble of moving cars. The great stock yards and the rolling mills and the foundries were adding their quota to the atmosphere that was irritating the vapory masses in the sky. The sun was hidden by their sullen front, and their venom showed in a green tint that dyed such portions of the vault of heaven not hidden by their columns. On earth men sweated and growled at the heat and babies cried langorously. There was something in the air that foretold disaster. In the parks the birds were still and vagrant winds carried dust in sulphury groups from corner to corner. The clouds were giving their victims a foretaste of their fury and the victims rested secure in blissful ignorance, hoping and praying for the cooling rain.

Beginning at noon the barometer began to fall with a steady persistency that was alarming to those who observed it. The sun, now and then veiled behind evil-looking clouds, scorched and burned. Fitful winds came from every direction, but there was no coolness in them. Up in the tower of the Federal building, where Weather Observer Frankenfield and his assistants make their headquarters, all the instruments were carefully watched, and nothing like the disturbance that came was anticipated.

Shortly after 3 o'clock peculiar looking clouds began to float lazily across the sky. The wind was from the northwest, but it did not seem to govern the fleecy precursors of the storm. They flitted to every point of the compass, and the sky in the north and west began to assume a sickly green color, the color that makes the dweller on the prairies run to his storm cellar and furnishes the background for the deadly funnel-shaped cloud. But to the south of the city the clouds


were few and warmly tinted with the ruddy glow of the sun.

It was not until 4:20 that the condition of the sky gave any indication of a serious outcome. The banks of green clouds to the north and the west on a brighter hue, and hung closer to the earth. From out of the east drifted big, black, heavy shapes of vapor, laden with lightning, that flashed in sheets and forks. A cool breeze sprung up, a breeze that seemed to have in it an odor of burnt leather. Down in the streets the wind seemed to come from the north. From the tops of buildings, where the smoke-stacks of the city could be seen, it seemed to come from the east. Further up in the air, from the direction taken by the clouds, it seemed to come in some places from the southeast and in others from the northeast.

A few minutes before 5 o'clock the forces of the air began to marshal for the attack on the city. Long lines of clouds in array like trained soldiers suddenly ceased shifting from place to place and took up a steady, swift procession for the west. Out of the southeast they came close to the earth, heavy and ominous looking, breathing lightning. Lighter, more flurried, but none the less dangerous in appearance, they slid in long lines from the northeast, swiftly circling on the edges on their way to meet the forces from the other side. Fortunately these clouds were at a greater altitude than the others. Had the two masses met at an equal height the consequences, judging from what they were under more favorable circumstances, would have been most horrible.

All the time the clouds were gathering in the west the wind was rising and from the Weather Observatory was obtained a view of the most brilliant electrical display ever seen in St. Louis. Against a background of various tints of green, forks and sheets and luminous balls of fire, colored purple and red and blue, shot out, accompanied by roars of thunder. All the while to the south the sky remained bright and nearly clear.

At 5:05 the advancing masses of clouds came together over the western part of the city. At the first contact the air grew darker and across the green sky there seemed to be torn a rent of white light twisting and turning from north to south that was visible nearly 10 seconds. It was blinding, but in the momentary glimpse that could be had of the attacking elements by its assistance it was seen that a long cloud shaped more like a big sausage than anything else was rapidly forming and that one end of it was descending toward the earth. All was confusion in the skies. Stray masses of cloud, floating away off from the center of disturbance, seemed to take life suddenly and fairly sail across the horizon to join the destructive mass in process of formation.

At 5:10, while darkness was swiftly settling down over the roofs of the city, a slight rain was seen coming from the south, the wind seemed to shift to the east and the great army of the elements suddenly took up the march away toward the west. The rain from the south came slowly, but the register in the office showed the wind had increased in velocity to 37 miles an hour. Away below in the streets people could be seen scurrying to places of safety and the street cars were compelled to wait long on the corners for the crowds desiring to get aboard. Signs began to creak and swing wildly and strange blue balls began to flash along the telegraph and trolley wires.

The army of the elements was coming back. The retreat was a strategic move. Over the horizon just south of west came a horrible front of surging, flashing angry clouds. Outriders of lightning led the way and galloping balls of fire ran in and out of the main ranks. The elongated shape of the column was lost, but the two armies were there, firmly packed together. The rain that came from the south pattered desperately a few times and ceased. The instrument that records the speed of the wind began to hum, then stopped, and again began to hum. On came the army, wildly plunging and tearing. The light green of the sky was hidden behind a wall of mist out of which long ropes of blue light rapidly unfolded and fell toward the ground. At 5:17 a glance at the instrument showed a wind velocity of 80 miles an hour.

Then came the grand charge of the elements. The advancing army came on with a shriek and dashed itself against the town. Thunder rolled like the boom of cannons and the air became dark as with smoke. The lightning came into play and shot bolts to the ground, and all over the city sprang up blazes that showed how well it was doing its work. Out of the low bank came sheets of rain that penetrated everything. For a minute it was dark as night.

And then from the tower the watchers saw the great battle. The Storm King and the Fire King combined in the attack on St. Louis. And right bravely did they fight. The air was filled with light and heavy debris, tributes to the might of the wind. Away below could be heard the clang of the gongs of the fire engines and suddenly in the south there shot in the air a stream of flame that lit up the whole city. The Fire King had scored his first point in the assault. For 13 minutes the wind tore out of the northeast at a speed of from 75 to 80 miles an hour. A big skylight came sailing past the observatory tower, circled around in the air, made a dive for Olive street and was stopped by the gutter along the building. Then down in the street could be seen the results of the attack of the invading hosts on the subtle agent of man, electricity. In every direction the long lines of telegraph poles were flashing pillars of blue flame. The wires were strings of fire and the insulators were blazing bunches of sizzling wires.

Buildings swayed and creaked in the powerful blast. The wind came down in the streets, picked up buggies and turned them over. It bounded to roofs, rolled up tin coverings like scrolls and deposited them in telegraph wires. It filled the air with flying bricks and timbers and made the ears horrified with the crash of falling signs and breaking windows and the


shrieks of men and women. All over the city fire engines hurried to and fro and flames broke out in such a multitude of places that the hearts of the brave firemen sank within them when they contemplated the possibilities of a general conflagration. But in this the allied forces of wind and fire worked at cross purposes. For the rain served to largely undo the work of the other elements.

It was 5:35 when the army of air withdrew from the assault. Then the rain came down in torrents and drenched the throngs hurrying through the streets. It was a wonderful rain, a steady, pounding, penetrating rain that seemed to gather strength as it fell. Amid the horror and the wild rumors of countless fatalities the rain came down harder and stronger, gloomily sounding a knell.

At 6:30 o'clock, while thousands were hurrying they knew not whither, out in the west there gathered another army as formidable looking as the one that had won such a signal victory an hour before. The sky was green and the clouds were wicked. But the wind did not gain the strength necessary to do damage. Nothing came but rain; a rain that beat long and pitilessly on the helpless city.

When the force of the wind abated, from every door and every place of shelter men and women swarmed with blanched faces and trembling lips. Every thoroughfare was a vista of broken signs, overturned vehicles, ground and shattered glass and twisted wires. Lights were snuffed out by the fury of the gale and the wonderful current that propels so many of the cars of the city was rendered useless from the lack of conductors. In the downtown business districts, where the damage was slight, the streets were crowded with citizens anxious to get to their homes to reassure loved ones. All felt that a dreadful calamity had occurred, but none could say the extent of it.

While the news of all the fatalities was being circulated in the manner that news was circulated in the olden time, when town criers were the chroniclers of the events of the day, night was falling rapidly. The telephone system of the city was useless and the rapid transit conveyances stood idle in the streets. Light was at a premium. Candles were called into requisition and gas jets that had not seen service for years were pressed into use. The streets were wildernesses of risk. On every hand the wires were spitting and snapping and from roofs pieces of debris were falling suddenly and without warning. An hour before the usual time the town was buried in a black pall as in a dungeon. Out of the west came another storm, resembling the first, and terrified mortals fled from it wildly and aimlessly. All the time the rain beat down desperately.

Night came on a city thoroughly and pitifully demoralized. In all its vast extent there was not a man who knew what had been accomplished by the terrible wind.

About this time the eastern horizon took on a ruddy appearance, and through the blinding rain long tongues of fire could be seen mounting high in the air. East St. Louis was on fire. There were fires to the south and to the east and to the west. The city was walled in with flames on three sides and the streets were impassable.

Out of the confusion and chaotic spawn of rumors, it became soon apparent that the bulk of the damage had been done in South and East St. Louis. No one knew the extent of it and all feared to guess. That it was unprecedented was intuitively surmised. Up in the city, where the full force of the charge of the angry clouds was not felt, the ruin gave a faint indication of what it was where the tornado had mowed a path through the solid evidences of the industry of man. A steady stream of travel took its way toward the south and all night long it ebbed and flowed out of scenes of misery and devastation into scenes of devastation and misery.The rain did service in putting out numerous fires the firemen could not reach and then ceased slowly. Brave men, with heads cool and hearts true, realized, as soon as the full fury of the visitation was spent, that there was work for them to do. The City Dispensary naturally became the central point of news and succor. Confronting the Health Department was a task so frightful in its magnitude that even the minds of those upon whom must devolve the task of taking care of the injured and dead were partially stunned. The rumor that all the patients in the City Hospital were dead could not be verified or disproved because of the lack of telephone facilities. Early in the storm an alarm of fire had been turned in from the Poor House and in the hearts of those who knew it was the sickening thought that, perhaps, all the dependent poor of the city had been swiftly ushered to the great beyond. Every minute news of fresh horrors reached the Dispensary.

Ambulances began to reach the City Hall loaded down with wounded and dead before any measures looking to their care could be taken. Physicians, full of energy, willing to do their part, came from every district in the city that had not been touched by the storm. Volunteers poured in from every direction, ready to dig and delve or do anything to assist the authorities. The militia — or individual members of it — offered aid that was thankfully accepted. A temporary hospital was secured, hasty preparations were made for the accommodation of victims. About the time the rain ceased to hammer the city with heavy, insistent force, there was some system arranged in the general confusion — an incomplete system, it is true, but a system.

Eight hours followed such as never before were ticked off by the clocks of St. Louis; eight hours of terror and uncertainty. The innermost recesses of the highest mountain ranges were scarcely more difficult of access than were the stricken districts. A darkness that seemed all the more impenetrable because it was experienced by a people unused to darkness, hid the view of one side of the street from pedestrians on the other. Wires hung at all angles or lay on the ground, tripping those who tried to cross them at every step. Telegraph poles were


spread in every direction in the down town districts and the remnants of buildings that had stood the brunt of the storm were stacked up like small hills on every corner.

All night long St. Louis and East St. Louis were cities alone in their terrible desolation, almost entirely cut off from communication with the rest of the world, and without exception the streets of this city were dark tunnels and her homes were the homes of fearful people. Dead and dying, death and injury, were the sole topic of conversation from Baden to Carondelet and from the river to the suburbs in the west. To those who slept came dreams of rushing storms carrying the bloody victims of their fury in outstretched arms. To those who spent the night in work in the devastated district came a surfeit of sickening experiences that will haunt them for months to come. And in all the horror of the black night and its terrible developments reigned a feeling of dread for what might be disclosed by the day. When the first gray coloring in the eastern sky gave evidence of the coming of the light, the watchers gazed with mingled feelings of thankfulness and fear. Objects became discernible dimly as the sun mounted higher on the course of his daily journey, emphasizing the ruin that was rather felt than seen in the gloom of the night.

The morning sun dawned bright, clear and smiling Thursday morning and gazed down upon the scene of wreck and ruin that had distorted the fair features of the city in the few fleeting hours that had elapsed since its scorching rays had been blotted out by the angry phalanx of death laden clouds that came out of the southwest and hurled the Storm King's relentless forces upon the devoted city. The searching beams of light from the orb of day pierced everywhere, into the inmost recesses of the battlefield that had been swept by the bloody ravages of the devouring elements and laid naked the awful destruction. The awful sense of desolation and destruction that had oppressed the citizens during the terrible hours of the long night, when the mantle of darkness covered with a charitable pall the sight of the ruin, gave way to a sense of overpowering horror that could find no adequate expression in words when the mantle was stripped and exposed the ghastly, gaping wounds in all their hideous nakedness.

From the extreme southwestern limits of the city, where the monster first descended, to the northeastern portion along the river bank, where it left its victim quivering and writhing in helpless misery, to seek fresh prey in East St. Louis, the path of the tornado was marked by a tangled, chaotic, distorted and dismembered mass of wreckage that was appalling in its extent and awe inspiring in its character and variety.

Paramount to the destruction of inanimate property, however, and overshadowing it in horror, was the awful loss of human life and the frightful maiming of the probably less fortunate survivors.

At intervals of less than a hundred yards through the entire path of the storm the crumbled masses of debris piled high into the air that had once marked the location of a residence or factory marked the burial place of numbers of human beings, crushed out of all semblance to humanity by the tons of wreckage piled above their bodies. From beneath the rain-soaked piles of brick, mortar, lumber and twisted iron beams that were the temporary tombs of scores of men, women and children, ever and anon arose the groans and plaintive cries that warned the shuddering spectators that beneath the debris lay the painracked form of some unfortunate to whom death had denied a speedy release from agony. In almost every street, alley and by-way in the districts cruelly torn by the wind the dead bodies of its victims lay where they had been stricken down during the evening, their limbs awry, and their distorted features telling too plainly of the agony of fear and pain that had been their portion.

To attempt to describe the work of the wind throughout these portions of the city, with any degree of success or detail, is, of course, impossible and almost, useless. The elements of the atmosphere, in their sportive, vindictive and cruel mood, played a wild fantasy with the weak and puny creations of man. The mad pranks indulged in by the Storm King in his delirious revel over the twin cities are still a never-ending source of wonder and amazement to the fortunate survivors. Here his fancy led him to destroy whole blocks of houses, there he grew contrite and passed merciful over an adjoining block. He made no distinction between wealth and poverty, merchant, prince and humble mechanic. All alike shared the measure of his petulant fancy.

The streets and alleys on Thursday, in the path of the storm, were literally impassable. Huge piles of debris, masonry, bricks, lumber, great trees, broken telegraph poles, tangled wires, overturned vehicles, household furnishings, and litter of every conceivable description was blown into one conglomerate mass, in an inextricable tangle that cumbered the streets and by-ways to the height of several feet. The spectacle was amazing, astounding, incomprehensible. It required a vivid stretch of the imagination to compare the picture presented to view on Thursday morning with the peaceful, orderly, well-groomed appearance of the same streets a few short hours before, and realize that the work of the wind had encompassed this fearful destruction.

The ruin was grand, picturesque, yet gloomy and tragic even in the brightness of the sunny day that succeeded the period of death and darkness. Out


in the southwestern limits the ruins of the Poorhouse marked the beginning of the trail of death and desolation. Tower Grove Park, Shaw's Garden and Lafayette ark, the three brilliant, fresh, fragrant bouquets of the metropolitan conservatory, were bowed to the dust, shriveled, shorn of their beauty and scattered. The huge factory of Liggett & Myers was converted into a vast tomb, imprisoning scores of unfortunate artisans beneath the crumbling walls.

Down to Compton Heights raced the shrieking giant, where it gathered the beautiful homes of the dwellers therein in its constricting embrace, and, passing on, left them a mass of chaotic rubbish. On to Jefferson avenue, where the beautiful residences surrounding Lafayette Park withered away before its blasting breath, littering the streets with debris. Spurning the dismantled and splintered wreck of the park with a flirt of its tail, the storm crossed over in search of human prey, and descended upon the helpless inmates of the City Hospital. Only God alone at present knows how many of these defenseless victims it claimed in its descent upon this institution.

Veering to the east, it seized upon almost every object that reared its front in its path, strewing the ground with a plenteous mass of wreckage, and leaving the dead, dying and maimed in its wake — down into the central southern portion of the city, where it reaped its full harvest of bloody vengeance. Here was its visit most awful and destructive in its consequence. Here were located the homes of the poor, and here the pitiless monster glutted its thirst, which had been whetted only by the meager slaking of blood further west. Away to the northeast with a hoarse shriek of satisfaction, followed by the crash and grind of falling walls and splintered timbers in its wake.

Out on the bosom of the surging Mississippi, whose mighty banks offered unhindered sweep to the exercise of its full strength, went the wind, and woe betide the puny thing that offered an obstacle to its free progress. The mighty leviathans of the water were as but painted toys in its fierce embrace. In the twinkling of an eye, almost, the banks were swept clear, and the steamers that had graced the shores were either converted into driftwood that lined the lower banks of the river, or furnished playgrounds for the finny tribe far down in the ruffled waters.Spurning this pastime as of too trivial a nature to occupy its time, the destructive winds bore down with resistless force upon the unprotected confines of East St. Louis. As a preliminary exhibition of its reserve strength, it flirted a few hundred thousand tons of masonry out of the great Eads bridge before bearing down upon the city with its flying wedge. Nothing could withstand the fearful onslaught, and the scenes of ruin, desolation and death that marked the advent and passage of the storm through this city were repeated with added violence across the river.

The community was aghast with horror over the calamity which had befallen it. Never before in the history of this municipality had such dire disaster overtaken its citizens. They were appalled at the contemplation of the frightful results of the storm. Worse — they were paralyzed. Although the full realization of the enormity of the destruction of life and property has even now only begun to dawn upon the minds of the survivors, on the morning succeeding the storm they were stunned by the shock — simply stunned. For a time everybody stood supinely about, helpless in the face of the awful situation, unable to formulate definite plans for the relief and succor of the afflicted. But only for a brief interval. Then the vigorous and recuperative personality of the men who have made the city what she is, asserted itself, and a plan of aggressive action was immediately determined upon.

Foremost, above all things, the task of caring for the dead and succoring the wounded and afflicted was the prime consideration, and right nobly did the citizens respond to the occasion.The City Hospital, that refuge of the maimed and suffering, was a dismantled ruin, many of the patients which it had sheltered having themselves fallen victims to the wrath of the wind. In this trying situation the generosity and unselfishness of the citizens of this city, which has been put to the test on so many occasions, shone forth.

Emergency hospitals and dispensaries were established in all parts of the city to care for the wounded. Relief corps were organized with promptness and scores of volunteers immediately began the work of searching in the debris for the bodies of the dead and wounded, and in conveying to the various hospitals throughout the city, whose doors had been thrown open at the first intimation of the disaster, the scores of mangled, braised and bleeding victims of the tornado. The physicians and surgeons of the city vied with each other in volunteering their services to the afflicted.

Every department of the city responded nobly to the call made upon its resources. While the searching parties were engaged in the work of rescuing the dead and injured from the mass of ruins beneath which they were buried, the police department, recognizing the importance of protecting the exposed property from the depredations of vandals with which every city is cursed, who would despoil the homes of the dead and dying, pressed all the men they could spare into service in the storm-swept district, to guard the property and assist in the work of rescue and relief.


Realizing that the force thus available was entirely inadequate for the territory to be covered, the Police Board, with commendable promptness, immediately drafted into service 150 emergency specials, whom they distributed judiciously over the ravaged portions of the city. In this crisis the militia came nobly to the front and seconded the efforts of the police department. The First Kegiment, N. G. M., and Battery A, through Colonel Batdorf and Captain Rumbold, volunteered their services in protecting the property of the citizens, and the offer was thankfully accepted. With the addition of 400 members of the militia, the most ample protection was afforded the property and homes of the citizens who had suffered by the storm.

Simultaneous with the work of affording rescue to the wounded and of searching for the bodies of the dead, was the work of organizing an association to extend aid and relief to the distressed and destitute citizens who had been deprived of their homes and their means of support, which offered to the charitable people of the city an excellent opportunity to demonstrate in a practical manner that spirit of benevolence for which St. Louis is famous the world over. They rose supreme to the occasion, and manifested to the outside world their ability and entire willingness to take upon themselves the important responsibility of caring for their afflicted brethren without the assistance of their sister cities. Immediately the news of the devastation and distress prevalent within the city became generally known to the people, the members of the Merchants' Exchange had subscribed within 20 minutes $15,000 towards a relief fund for the benefit of the sufferers.

This was but the nucleus of the fund, which to-day has reached the sum of $120,000 — and is still growing.

The action of the Merchants' Exchange but anticipated that of every mercantile, charitable, benevolent and social organization within the corporate limits of the city and its suburbs, each of which fell readily into line with the same charitable object in view. Within 24 hours the chairmen of the various committees that had been organized within a few hours after the extent of the disaster became known were flooded with communications from individuals and societies of every character, all volunteering their services in aid of a movement to collect subscriptions to the general contribution. The movement was spontaneous and widespread, and bespoke the hearty co-operation of every man, woman and child, almost, in the work of raising funds for the relief of the sufferers.

Right on the heels of the news of the disaster as telegraphed to the outside world came scores and scores of telegrams from sister cities laden with messages of heartfelt sympathy for the affliction which had befallen the city, and proffering most generous and substantial aid for the relief of tie distress which is a certain accompaniment of every such disaster.

Those messages came from every large city in the Union, and from our blood-relations across the ocean, all individual, national and political differences having been obliterated in the common cause of humanity that unites nations in the hour of affliction. The proffers of aid were most generous, and were most gratifying and consoling to the citizens of this city because of the very unselfishness that characterized their tender. Chicago, especially, our long-time rival, showed a spirit that was as indicative of the true nobleness, generosity and gratitude that lie beneath its apparent selfish and careless exterior, and her earnest and heartfelt expressions of sympathy for the blow that has fallen upon this city will be long remembered and treasured within the hearts of St. Louisans.

The civic authorities of the city, fully alive to the needs of the hour, lost no time in preparing measures looking to the relief of the afflicted. The Municipal Assembly started on its passage a measure appropriating $100,000 to the relief of the needy. This was supplemented by the vigorous work of the heads of the different departments, who ordered out the entire forces under their charge and undertook the work of bringing order out of chaos, of restoring the city to its normal condition.

The entire force of employes of the street department were put at work clearing the debris from the streets and sidewalks to make a passage for street traffic. The force of men under the City Lighting Inspector was hard at work on the night of the storm clearing away the debris of fallen poles and tangled wires, working night and day, almost without cessation.

With these examples of indomitable energy before them, the people of the stricken district were roused from the lethargy into which they had fallen after the passage of the storm, and were incited to activity. The citizens of the Future Great are essentially an aggressive and recuperative body, and with the splendid example set them, they were not long in recovering their assertive personality. By Friday morning there were evidences everywhere that the work of restoring the ravaged district to at least a semblance of its former attractiveness had been begun in earnest. In the midst of the throngs of curious sightseers that lined every street and roadway in the path of the tornado, from the wharf to the high ground around the Compton reservoir, could be seen squads of active, busy artisans and mechanics engaged in obliterating the work of the storm.

By Friday evening the people seemed to have become satiated with the curious spectacles afforded by the destructive power of the wind and settled down to the even tenor of their ways. Business resumed its wonted activity in those places not absolutely crippled by the tornado, and the work of restoring the city to its former appearance of splendor, thrift and beauty was well advanced.

Although the blow was a severe one to St. Louis, the indomitable pluck and energy of her citizens will not allow her to remain in her present sorry condition for any length of time.

These qualities have already gained for her the admiration and envy of every other city in the Union, and with the impetus already given the work of restoration, and the unlimited confidence of her citizens in their ability to take care of her interests, it is only a question of a short time until she will have fully recovered from the shock and proudly flaunt in the faces of her sister cities her title of the Future Great City of the United States.


ST. LOUIS, May 31st, 1896.