Fatal Path

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The path, of the storm through the city was about seven miles long. It was not a direct path, leading straight from the point at which it effected entrance to where it left. It made a path like a snake striving to gain a place of known refuge from a pursuing enemy. Now and then-it diverged from the Mill Creek Valley on one side or the other, but only to return at some vulnerable point with renewed energy. It seemed to move at a height above the ground that sheltered the low places in its path until after it passed the City Hospital. Then it came closer to the earth, and the damage wrought from Twelfth street to the river shows that it rushed directly down the incline to the Levee.

Where it first entered the city, out near the Poorhouse on Arsenal street, the force of the storm was exerted against trees and scattered buildings. The first indication of the real force of the wind was made apparent at Jefferson and Geyer avenues, where the big power house of the Union Depot street railway system, one of the largest electric plants in the world, was razed, damage to be measured only by the hundred thousand dollars, being wrought. A block further north the destruction was, if possible, even more emphatically manifested in the wrecking of the Union Club building, and the almost total demolition of dozens of buildings in the immediate vicinity.

The force generated at this corner was not lost while the storm continued on its way cast until after it left Lafayette Park, and there was no extraordinary manifestation until it reached the ill-fated corner of Seventh and Rutger streets. Here it spent the full vent of some of its reserve fury, and then moved on to Soulard Market, which formed another center of destruction, wider and longer than either of the others.

While the chief force of the storm was exerted at the three places mentioned, there were others scarcely more fortunate in the matter of locality in its path. Tower Grove Station, where the mammoth plant of the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company was destroyed, was the first point where the surrounding circumstances warranted the wind in extending itself. When it reached the river it met a wide stretch of waste that allowed it to gather force and gave the scattered clouds a chance to rejoin the main body in the assault upon East St. Louis. But at no time was there any diminution in the vigor of such portions of the tornado as reached the earth. The scattering edges of it completed the waste the main body emphasized in spots.





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