By 1812Blockhouse

Early in May, 1894, newspapers across the country, from Maine to California, carried a small news item originating in Mansfield, Ohio.

The brief post shared news of a tornado which struck here a few days before, leaving destruction in its wake and downed power lines everywhere.

Sound familiar?

On the evening of Saturday, April 28, the skies started to glow yellow in the northwest, suggesting that something significant was coming weather-wise. At about 7:00 PM, the storm hit with its full force striking the north part of the city.

Mansfield was, at the time, a burgeoning city with a population that had just hit 10,000. Significant private and public investments were transforming the economy and appearance of the place. Many of these private investments were manufacturing plants located in the blocks north of downtown.

The “cyclone’s” winds were ferocious. All over the northern part of town, dwellings and factories lost their roofs.

The wind whipped through downtown. “Barrels, boxes, and signs were flying around promiscuously on Main street,” one newspaper account shared.  One of those  barrels hit a lady standing at the corner of North Main and West Fourth, who escaped unharmed.

Severe damage was done to churches. A large stained glass windows blew in at the United Presbyterian Church on West Third, causing damage to the church’s interior. A chimney fell at the Methodist Church on Central Park.

The greatest loss was said to have taken place at City Mills on North Main Street (pictured). The tin roof of the new mill was ripped off and rain poured in on equipment and on a large stock of flour. You can imagine the mess.

The new Humphreys Manufacturing Company building was almost completed destroyed, and a large quantity of debris landed on the Eire Railroad tracks, causing hours of train delays. 

Days later, newspaper accounts continued to refer to efforts to return electricity to businesses and city streets. The storm was said to be “…the severest that has occurred in this section of the country for many years.”

Source: Mansfield Daily Shield

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