100 years ago: ‘Small twister’ or ‘straight line wind,’ storm damages Lawrence trees

From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for July 15, 1915:

  • “Lawrence’s daily rainstorm produced a variation yesterday in the form of a particularly hard wind storm which did a great deal of damage to trees in the south part of town. While there were reports yesterday afternoon that a small twister had struck this part of the city the majority of the people say that it was only a hard straight wind which lasted a short time and tore out some small trees by the roots, and broke down many larger ones. There was no damage other than this reported, and the big damage to the houses seems to have been caused by the unusually luxuriant foliage this year and the fact that many maples are old and rotten…. One woman had a line full of clothes blown away and many people lost porch chairs and potted plants. A big maple which was rotten at the base was blown down in the yard of Thomas Winston, at 1620 Mass. street…. At the residence of George Clevenger at 1631 Massachusetts street the telephone connections were broken and trees torn badly. It is reported railroad officials say that the storm was not generally as severe as it was here and that they have had little trouble. Trains are running on time and the telegraph lines are working all right. Both telephone companies say that the city lines were severely damaged, wires are down, and cables out of order…. Repairs to the lines are being made this morning and will be completed soon.”
  • “Cellars of residents on the south side were again flooded by water from the sanitary sewer last night and the property owners are up in arms over the latest overflow. Water is three feet deep in the cellar of the residence of J. M. Boyd at 1633 Rhode Island street and will have to pumped out. Mr. Boyd has been one of the chief sufferers after each heavy rain and has been to a great deal of expense to keep his cellar clean…. Nor has the flooding been entirely confined to the south side. Abe Wolfson, who lives at 821 Ohio street, says that he had about three inches of water in his cellar yesterday morning and that last night while the heavy rains were on he heard a roaring in the basement and found that the water was spurting up several feet out of the top of sanitary connections and standing three feet deep over the floor. Mr. Wolfson had no rubber boots so he had to let the water run and this morning he was at the city hall looking for the commissioners to put in a kick. ‘I do not believe that the inspection of the city has been thorough,’ said Mr. Wolfson this morning, ‘and it seems to be that there must be a lot of downspout water getting into the sanitary sewer again.'”
  • “North Lawrence, which believed it knew all about floods, has been learning something new this year. While the waters from the Kaw have been kept out by means of dikes, the low parts of the town have been flooded by surface water and by water from Mud Creek. Every low place has been filled and has had no way of being drained. There has been talk of cutting the Union Pacific dike, but the river condition has been so uncertain that the authorities have hesitated to make the cut for fear high water might follow and the condition be worse than ever. It has been suggested that a large storm sewer connecting the low parts of North Lawrence with the river below the dam would afford a permanent means of draining this part of town and would get the waters out in time to save growing crops. During the past few years storm sewers have been built in various parts of South Lawrence and now there seems to be an urgent need for a storm sewer to protect the homes and gardens of the north side.”
  • “All the animals of Kansas, from the great toothed sharks and genuine sea-serpents who swam over our prairies back in the days when the Hutchinson salt beds were the bottom of a great inland sea, down to the common jack rabbit and prairie dog of the shortgrass country, are listed in a new book by A. R. Kellogg, a student in the State University who is now working with the United States Biological Survey. The new volume is complete, containing a description of each of the animals, its habits, when and where found in the state, and keys for its technical classification. It should prove of great value to students of the fauna of the state.”
  • “Senator Thomas P. Gore of Oklahoma will lecture tomorrow, Friday, at the Eudora chautauqua at 2:30 in the afternoon. The best road now between Lawrence and Eudora, and one that is fairly good at this time, is by way of the county farm, while the distance is not much greater than by the direct route.”