July 7, 1915
Tornado Cuts Wide Swath Thru Northern Kentucky Cities
Covington and Environs Visited by Severest Storm in Their History—Damage Is Great
Several Reported Missing, Among Whom Are Lieutenant Crout, of the Local Police Force
Daniel Crout, Lieutenant of Covington Police, is reported missing. Crout was camping on an island in the Ludlow Lagoon. His boat was also missing this morning.
The tornado which swept over Northern Kentucky Wednesday at 9:26 p.m. centered its fury in a southeasterly direction thru Covington.
In the darkness and torrents of rain Covington passed a sleepless night trying to take account of its great loss.
The C. Q. O. bridge over the Licking was blown from its piers, and C. & O. offices in Covington were wrecked, the roundhouse partially razed and numerous church steeple and house roofs thrown to the streets.
Steeple Blocks Street
St. Joseph’s Church, Twelfth and Greenup sts., was standing as a skeleton, its needle-pointed steeple lying across Greenup at and indenting the café of J. Donavan. The massive clock stopped at 9:26. In its fall the huge structure circled.
In Donavan’s several escaped death. Catherine, 20, daughter of Donavan, narrowly escaped. An iron telephone post on opposite side of the street was bent and rests parallel with street. Network of wires is strewn over the street.
Supposition was that immediately previous to height of the cyclone an operator, desiring to give warning, sent out a code flash over the electric light wires.
C. & O. Office Wrecked
At Fourteenth st. and Madison av. front was entirely blown out of C. & O. office building and the roundhouse in the rear caved in. All of the 12 workers were accounted for. Clarence Wilhart, machinists’ helper, was cut about the hand from falling missiles.
At home of frank Brokamp, 1217 Scott st., the tin roof was lifted, landing on the front walk. Homes of Jim Auger, at 1219, and C. F. Meyers, 1215 Scott St., were flooded.
Side Lifted Off
Building of R. C. Koch, Pleasant and Greenup sts., was bereft of a large portion of the north side, leaving immense hole. He and his family were in the kitchen and not in their third floor sleeping rooms, where they would have certainly been hit. Koch places his damage at $2500.
On Greenup st., from Eleventh to Twelfth sts., a row of houses was considerably damaged.
Grounds at Ninth st. and Madison av., where lawn fetes are frequently held, bears the semblance of close-cropped forest trees.
A tree in front of Industrial Club building, Eighth and Madison ave., was rooted, carrying with it a large portion of cement walk.
At home of Richard C. Stewart, 1525 Madison ave., several trees fell. A tree on the curb fell, carrying with it a number of wires.
Tim roof over undertaking establishment of E. J. Moore, 717 Madison ave., was lifted, flying across the street, partly resting in doorway of Lyric Theater.
Part of roof over Stuntebeck’s Drug store, Sixth and Washington ave., blew across the street, stopping after entering the Parisian Ladies Furnishing Co. store.
Plate window of Seibler Tailoring Co., 607 Madison av., shattered on sidewalk. Metz Auto Agency, Pike st., suffered damage to building front.
The right dome on St. Aloysius Church, Seventh and Bakewell sts., Covington, was blown into the street.
The tin roof over store at 70 Pike st., Covington, was blown off. At Henry Harkin’s home, Fifth and Main sts, the roof was blown off.
The room of Jack Hilkins’ home, 827 Main st., was blown across the street.
Distillery roof at Third and Scott sts, is partly off.
Prisoners prayer in the Covington jail when the roof was blown off and crashed into the jail areaway. Jailer Murphy swore in two deputies to quiet the prisoners and to take charge of the trusties cleaning up debris on streets.
At Latonia Track
Many stables were blown down at the Latonia track. The bridge across the lake was demolished. The grand stand was untouched. Six men among whom was Superintendent John Keagan, of the track, were pinned under wreckage of the shelter house at the loop near the track and were slightly injured.
The roof of the Latonia Hay and Grain Co., was blown two blocks.
The roof of Ben Hegener’s resident, 229 Court st., Covington, caved in. The family sleeping on the third floor was saved by the son Bernard, 15, rushing them into an adjoining room.
Two men were injured seriously when the stable of E. R. Bradley, at the Latonia tracks, collapsed.
Sheriff Allison swore in 24 deputies to preserve order in Kenton co.
The roof is off the residence at 28 West Third st., Covington.
At Third and Scott sts, the restaurant of Mrs. Miller caved in in front, and the roof was blown off.
The roof of the White House on Court pl. was blown off. The roof of Dominick Boro’s café, Second and Court pl., was blown off. Federal League Park fence was blown away.
Roofs on the home of George H. Lempker, 238 Pike st., Fred Klein st., 143 Pike st., and Henry Deffenbrock, Pike and Craig sts., were blown off.
An unknown negro was brought to St. Elizabeth Hospital in a serious condition from a wound in the chest. He stated a woman in frenzy from the tornado had stabbed him.
D. Hore, residence unknown, was hit by a C. & O. train shortly after the storm and suffered a broken leg.
J. J. Graff, of Ash st., Ludlow, rescued two of crew of Convoy, steamer which sank off Kentucky shore during the gale. Graff secured a skill and pulled men from the Ohio.
Cut Off From Phone
Ludlow was entirely cut off from phone service throughout the night.
Patrons of Lagoon were returned home in cabs Thursday morning after an exciting night.
Ten operators of Citizens Telephone Co. were kept busy throughout night securing information for anxious persons about friends in the storm. For several hours telephone communication was almost impossible.
Cut Thru Roads
Believing damage at Lagoon was more serious, car service having been discontinued, persons trying to reach the resort by auto thru Devou Park were compelled to chop their way thru fallen trees.
Kenton co. and city jail were damaged about $1200.
Damage to Coppin Building about $1000.
Mother of God Church $1000.
At St. Patrick’s Church, Fourth and Philadelphia sts., a portion of the steeple blown down. Damage $1000.
Home of James C. Brady, 722 Garrard st., and H. E. Stickley, 276 West Fourth st., were partly destroyed.
Home of William Capple, Eighth and Russell sts., was damaged in front.
Roof was blown off Wilmes’ café, Sixth and Washington sts.
A. Willenbrink’s home, 85 West Sixth st., has roof off.
A Bohmer’s paint store, 56 Pike st., has roof off.
Phone Loss Great
Citizens’ Telephone Co. estimated their loss in Northern Kentucky at $100,000. Normal telephone conditions will not be restored until Friday. One thousand lines were put out of commission.
The house of W. Standford, Fifteenth and Greenup sts., Covington, was rocked by the wind and is leaning and apt to collapse.
A kitchen was torn off residence at southeast corner Eleventh and Madison.
W. R. Carmack, night operator at the C. & O. roundhouse, had a narrow escape when walls fell about his desk. Carmack escaped by climbing down the side of the building.
Covington Man Missing
Harry Farwig, teamster, of Pike and Crescent, Covington, is reported missing. Farwig, it is reported, started across the C. & O. Bridge from Kentucky just before the storm, and no word has been received of his reaching the Cincinnati side.
The Kloo Studio, 45 Pike st., Covington, suffered an approximate loss of $400. The skylight was destroyed and the rain ruined backgrounds, cameras and other photographic supplies.
At the Kloo home, Fourth and Greenup sts., part of the tin roof and three chimneys were blown down by the wind.
John Fitzgerald, street car conductor, of Covington, was struck by a flying piece of timber and suffered a mashed arm. Dr. Kerns attended him.
Roof was blown off at 415 Scott st. Damage $100.
Peanut and popcorn wagon at Pike and Madison ave. was blown several hundred feet and demolished.
Roof was blown off Elmore flat building, Covington. Damage, $300. T. King, 10, residing in the building, was struck on the head by flying timber and severely injured.
Ludlow and West Covington were hard hit. Brady’s saloon was damaged about $1000.
Driver William Bidders, of Engine House No. 6, was injured about the head and shoulders when his company was responding to a call. The horse collided with a telegraph pole at Fifteenth and Madison sts., throwing Bidders from the seat. He was removed to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.
City officials have detailed a large squad of workers to commence cleaning the streets, which will probably take several days. If necessary, Workhouse inmates may be kept in service, but not in preference of civilians out of work.
Roofs of residences of William Petter, 1817 Rickey ave., and Charles Petty, were blown off.
Unknown 2-year-old baby was found during the height of storm in a gutter at Sixth and Russell sts., Covington. It was taken to Stuntebeck’s Drug store, Sixth and Washington sts. and revived.
Steeple in Shinkle M. E. Church Fifteenth st., between Scott and Greenup, was blown off crashing onto corner of L. Schneider’s home. No one injured.
Roof on home of W. Kathman, East Fifteenth st., between Scott and Madison, torn from rafters. Family escaped injury.
Entire roof and part of front of the Eureka Automobile Co., 158 West Pike st., blew off, damaging stock of machines.
Fires Broke Out
Fire department responded to three calls, which luckily proved not serious as progress was slow on account of broken wires, poles, trees and wreckage across the streets.
Hose Wagon of No. 6 Engine House, Holman st., between Seventeenth and Eighteenth sts. William Bidders, driver, was thrown from seat and cut about head and body. Removed to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.
Roof on home of Ben Scharfe, West Pike st., blown off. George Flashman, boarder, was injured by falling bricks when preparing to retire for night. Not serious.
Roof and part of top floor of Turner’s Hall, on West Pike st., blown off. No one injured.
Roof on restaurant of H. W. Spradling, 242 West Pike st., blown off. Young girl, said to be Alice Marshall, slightly injured.
Roof on building on Ninth and Madison sts., occupied by Roetken and Steffen, blown off.
Entire front show window of Coppin’s dry goods store, Seventh and Madison sts., blown out and show goods destroyed. Wax dummies, dressed in fine garments, lay in heaps about the window. Elevator shaft roof blown off and all floors of building flooded.
Large sign on Union Clothing Store, Madison, between Seventh and Eighth, blown thru window.
Large crowds at summer resort were marooned on account of car service being completely discontinued.
Live wires, falling trees, broken roof cornice and other wreckage endangered life of pedestrians on the streets for hours after storm had subsided.
Panic reigned supreme in five-cent shows when gale blew up and lights went out. Many people narrowly escaped injury.
Another Steeple Off
Steeple on Christian Church, West Fifth st., blew off, crashing thru rear wall of Kentucky Post Building, about one-half block away.
Roof on Knights of Pythias Hall, East Fourth st., blown off.
Portions of the St. Mary’s Cathedral roof were blown away.
Roof and second story of Mrs. Margaret Ewing’s home, 1314 Holman st., were blown off.
Dining room of Bernard Ewing on Wallace av. was wrecked.
Chimney on Virginia Flats, Wallace and Scott sts., Covington, blown off.
The roof of residence of Charles Good, at Clifton and McHenry st., Newport, was blown off.
The little canary that occupies a cage in the home of Attorney Louis F. Brown, of Ft. Mitchell, is singing his sweetest notes now to show his appreciation to his master for saving his little life during Wednesday night’s storm.
Braving the wind and rain Brown rushed down in the back yard and took the cage out of the tree. On his return trip Brown was knocked down three times, the third time barely escaping with his life, as one of the giant trees, in falling, just missed him.
Ft. Mitchell felt the effects of the cyclone very severely. Property damaged in that section is estimated at about $125,000.
House of Dr. Charles Pleck on Lexington pike was almost ruined buggies in the stable were crushed like egg shells.
The Geo. Wiedemann home on the hill overlooking Newport was badly damaged.
The roof of the Bellevue (Ky.) Bank was lifted and hurled across the street.
Mark Prim, Cincinnati saloon keeper, while inspecting Thursday damage to his brother Luke’s house, at 129 East Fifth st., Newport, was struck on the head by a falling brick. He was rendered unconscious and removed to Speers Hospital, Dayton, in Newport auto ambulance.
Will Remove Debris
J. B. Morlidge, Newport Commissioner of Public Works, stated Thursday all fallen trees and debris, if placed in the street in front of homes, would be removed by city employees.
Campbell co. Judge Boltz sent a force of men to clear Water Works rd. of all obstructions Thursday.
Newport auto ambulance removed to Speers Hospital, Charles Wriefing, injured Thursday when he fell from a tree at Front and Beech sts., Newport.
Missing In Bellevue
William Hempelman, 38, of Oxford Hotel, Cincinnati, marooned on his launch “Kildey” at the foot of Foote av., Bellevue, is reported missing.
A piece of timber was carried from top of Queen City Beach pavilion a block and a half, and buried in wall of dwelling of Ansel Weingartner, 125 Van Voast av.
Safety Director Chris Ebert, of Newport, has issued orders that Fifth st., near Church of the Immaculate Conception, be blocked. Large tower on church is leaning and is in danger of falling.
Kentucky Post, July 8, 1915