It was 90 years ago this month 0
Just as everyone remembered the sinking of the Titanic a hundred years ago this April, so we in Portage la Prairie will mark the NINETIETH anniversary of "The Cyclone". Yes, it was in June of 1922, on the 23rd to be exact, that this prairie city experienced The Perfect Storm.
A MIGHTY WIND
Gathering strength up by Neepawa, the mighty wind swept south-easterly, getting stronger and stronger as the hot and humid day turned to a hot and humid night. The rolling black clouds seemed low enough to touch, and when the storm struck in full fury at 2:30 a.m., and two of our grain elevators caught fire, the clouds turned to red. While lasting only about half an hour, the devastation was unbelievable in the countryside and in town as well.
The Daily Graphic came out with a little one-page, one-sided edition to keep the populous informed of things. We will quote from it now, and also add some pictures that you may or may not have seen before....
ITEM: Mayor Burns has called a meeting of all citizens on Monday for the purpose of organizing for the clean up of debris around the City, the idea being to make Wednesday an all day holiday for this purpose.
ITEM: It has been estimated that the damage in the City and district will probably reach a million dollars, but judging from the number of insurance claims coming in, this estimate will likely be on the low side.
ITEM: The Editor commented that the community will undergo a period of inconvenience and even hardship from the cessation of light, power and telephone service for some days to come.
ITEM: Mr. C.W.Taylor was about to go out to the sleeping balcony to shut a window, but he wife persuaded him not to go. As he turned away, the balcony was torn from the house.
ITEM: Owing to the condition of the Methodist Church on Campbell Street North, the congregation will join with the Baptists for morning and evening services. Members of Knox Presbyterian will meet in St.Mary's Parish Hall.
ITEM: North of town, the big new barn of T. Wishart was demolished, as well as those of A. Wishart and A. Muir, while as a rule, little damage was done to farm residences.
ITEM: At the Fair Grounds on The Island, where it was expected all buildings would be razed, it was an agreeable surprise. The big grandstand and the barns were all intact, the only damage being to some windows and doors, but the judging stand was turned over, and one food booth disappeared completely. Apparently the many trees saved the property.
ITEM: The funeral of little Merle Spencer, the only victim of the cyclone, will take place tomorrow from McKillop's undertaker parlour.
ITEM: Alderman Garland and his son Jimmy had a narrow escape on the sleeping balcony when the cyclone struck. He picked up his sleeping son and had just entered the house when the chimney crashed through the roof onto the bed.
ITEM: The metal-clad roofs of some of the large commercial establishments were specially susceptible to the power of the 84 miles per hour wind, some peeling back, and some like that of the T.A.Garland Store at Saskatchewan Avenue and 2nd Street N.W. ending up as far away as Dufferin Avenue.
ITEM: The Cockshutt Plow Company on Main (3rd St.N.E.) --- now our Friendship Centre --- had its entire second storey blown off. Knox Presbyterian Church --- now Trinity United - lost its vaulted roof, and the mighty pipe organ landed in the basement. Both these buildings are still with us to this day.
COMMENT FOR TODAY
With our changing weather patterns, let's keep our fingers crossed, eh!