City Is in Darkness and Traffic at Standstill
TRAIL IS MARKED BY DESTRUCTION
Factories and Houses Unroofed or Demolished, While Streets Are Tangled Mass of Wires and Poles. Trains Held Up by Debris on Tracks.
Danville, Va., June 18. – A cyclonic wind, rain and electrical storm swept ever the city this afternoon from 4:30 to 5:30 o’clock, inflicting damage estimated at $100,000 to $250,000 [$2.6 to $6.6 million in today’s dollars], chiefly in the unroofing and flooding of cotton mills, tobacco factories, storage plants, destruction of trees and shrubbery, chimneys, awnings, porches, telegraph, telephone and electric transmission poles and wires. The trolley service of the city was suspended, and will be tied up for twenty-four hours. The entire telephone service of the city is out of commission and the city is isolated.
Scene of Destruction.
The heaviest damage to buildings was in the business section. Main Street, noted for its heavy shade of old oaks, elms and maples, some of them of gigantic dimensions, is a scene of desolation. The broad residence thoroughfare is blocked at many points by prostrated trees, the telephone and trolley wires and poles. Hundreds of the oldest and largest shade trees, the pride of the city, were delimbed, torn and uprooted, and fill lawns and streets with wreckage. These heavy shade trees, however, saved the best residence section by the resistance they offered to the storm.
The storm broke with cyclonic force, and was accompanied by high wind, attaining a velocity of about eighty miles an hour, rain and hail. It will be several days before the exact property loss can be ascertained.
So far as is known now, no one was killed, although there were several miraculous escapes.
The white mill of the Riverside Cotton Mill Company was unroofed and the automatic sprinklers set going, flooding the building and inflicting heavy loss of stock and machinery.
The tobacco factory of John E. Hughes & Company was unroofed and I the stock badly damaged. The factory of E. K. Jones & Company, leaf tobacco, was unroofed and heavy damage done to the stock.
The Danville Wagon Company’s plant, on Craghead Street, was unroofed and partly wrecked.
A brick tower on Acree’s tobacco warehouse was hurled into the street.
One of the factories of Dibrell Brothers, leaf tobacco, was partially unroofed, as was a portion of the plant of the Imperial Tobacco Company.
The plant of the Riverside Overalls Company and Milam Medicine Company, on Floyd and High Streets, were unroofed, and many smaller buildings in various sections were similarly damaged.
The Burton Hotel suffered greatly by the storm, the roof of the annex having been blown off. Part of it fell down into the washrooms and writing room, damaging them to a considerable extent.
The Interior of the First Baptist Church was greatly damaged by water, and almost every tree In Green Street Park, was blown over.
The storm did considerable damage to property in the residential section. Ten trees were completely destroyed in the Dibrell place, on Main Street, and trees were more or less damaged in the Sutherlin place. Holbrook Avenue Is littered with fallen trees. Main Street, from Mount Vernon Church to the post-office, a distance of about half a mile, is strewn with beautiful maples, lying prostrate. All the telegraph and car wires are lying in the streets, and the cars are at a standstill. A force will be at work all night repairing the, damage.
The handsome memorial windows In Mount Vernon Church were damaged. On Loyal Street all the telephone poles are lying across the street, and the occupants of an automobile had a narrow escape when a pole fell across it, crushing the car.
Out on West Main street a back porch was blown the distance of a square, and fell in a yard on another street. The city Is in darkness to-night, and there were no services in the churches. Trains were held here on account of telegraph poles across the tracks. The residence of Mrs. Mason, on West Main Street, was unroofed.
The storm came from the northwest, and the oldest citizens say it was the worst the city ever experienced.
See also Danville – A Resilient City.