Last week we shared this photo for WHERE is it Wednesday to see if anybody could recognize the Springfield location.
There were quite a few good guesses: High Street, Lagonda Avenue, North Street, Fountain Avenue, to name a few. Many noticed that the scene showed heavy damage and rightly guessed that this was a scene after a tornado. Some even guessed this was the aftermath of an 1888 tornado that hit the Springfield area.
Everyone was on the right track! This particular photo shows the damage on E. Grand Avenue after a cyclone ripped through the area at around 11:00am on July 13, 1892. Dozens were injured and over 100 homes were demolished or heavily damaged mostly in the area bounded by Center Street, Clark Street, East Street, and Southern Avenue.
The original photo comes from our Disaster Photo Collection, which was recently scanned by a volunteer. The very first folder in the collection was of the cyclone aftermath and when we realized that the anniversary date was approaching, we decided to look up the newspaper coverage from that time and share the pictures and story.
We turned to the microfilmed copy of the Springfield Weekly Republic and found lots of great details including the names of all those who were injured (and detailing their injuries), addresses and details about damaged homes, information about the relief fund (who headed it and who contributed what), and the exact amounts claimed by residents affected. The relief fund, which raised nearly $9,000 to help the affected residents, was headed by a committee that included Mayor Burnett, Asa Bushnell, P.P. Mast, and O.S. Kelly. Total damages across the city topped $20,000.
For more information on the cyclone (we printed all the coverage from the days following to add to the archives) and for coverage on other local disasters, check out our Disaster Collection, which includes a detailed list of floods, fires, blizzards, and more from Clark County’s history.
More scenes showing the damage dealt by the “destructive cyclonic horror”:
Clark County Historical Society Archives, Photographic Category, Disasters, “Cyclone, July 13, 1892.”
Clark County Historical Society Archives, Small Collections Category, Disasters.
Clark County Historical Society Library, Springfield Weekly Republic, Microfilm reel August 8, 1891-July 28, 1892. (Coverage July 14-July 28, 1892).
Clark County Historical Society Library, 1894 Clark County, Ohio Atlas.