1921 - SOUTH FLORIDA COUNTS LOSSES. Gulf Hurricane Does Great Damage. TAMPA SUFFERS MOST. Gale Wipes Out Small Obstacles in Path but Few Lives Are Lost.
Lakeland, Fla., Oct 26. South Florida spent today in recapitulating the damage estimated to run well into millions of dollars caused by the gulf hurricane which tore northeastwardly across the Florida peninsula yesterday. At times attaining a velocity of 70 miles an hour, the gale wrought destruction to smaller obstacles in its path, but only in a few instances, according to reports, causing a loss of life.
While there have been only three or four isolated cases of deaths from the storm it is feared the clearing away of the debris in Tampa's wrecked portions might add to the list. Of the cities and towns within a radius of 40 miles of Lakeland that could be reached by automobile today. Tampa appears to have suffered the greatest damage. The Bay Shore drive residential section from Franklin street to Port Tampa is a panorama of destruction. Trees are down, houses with roofs torn away and foundations weakened from the tidal wave that swept in over the sea wall from Tampa bay have collapsed and logs and other debris swept in on the onrushing water's crest now grace what were once the beautiful lawns of the Hyde Park section, one of Tampa's most fashionable suburbs. Along the waterfront large sections of the sea wall were swept away and parts of streets were washed into the bay. Houses immediately adjoining the boulevard were crushed in by the gale.
Sunset Beach Destroyed.
Sunset Beach, a popular resort of Tampa, was completely destroyed. Small houses were torn down and washed away and the white sands on the beach now show no vestige of ever having been inhabited.
The downtown section of Tampa was more fortunate in the city proper being confined to the breaking of plate glass windows, the tearing away of awnings and the unroofing of houses. A warehouse occupied by the Gulf & Southern steamship company was destroyed, as was part of the Mallory Line docks.
Here and there throughout the city are stranded street cars, the victims of the sudden failing of the city's power plant. Telephone and electric light wires dangle in a tangled mass, giving little hope of an early resumption of services.
Conservative estimates place the damage in Tampa proper at $3,000,000.
The storm, traveling north, appeared to concentrate its full force on Yber City, the Latin quarter of Tampa. Nearly 500 houses were wrecked in that section. In the Palmetto Beach section approximately four square miles of ground was inundated, women and children in this section were rescued by a band of 40 volunteers and carried to safety in the highlands of the city. All the dwellings in the Palmetto section were completely demolished and it is feared that some of the rescuers may have perished as boats brought into play were swept out from shore and wrecked later, gave mute evidence of their fate.
Students Are Sage.
The anxiety felt for the safety of some 300 students of Southern college at Clearwater Beach was relieved this afternoon when messengers reached Tampa stating that all the students were taken across the bay into Clearwater early Tuesday. Fifty automobiles from Clearwater negotiated the long bridge while the storm was breaking. The students and members of the faculty fled with only their immediate possessions. Several of them were taken to Grey Moss inn at Clearwater and it is reported some slight injuries were sustained when that building later was badly damaged. The last automobile to cross the bridge was barely ahead of the tearing away of a long span of the bridge, it is reported.
Reliable communication has not yet been established tonight with Passagrille, Manatee, Sarasota, Venice, Bradentown, Palmetto, Terra Ceia, Ellington or any of the towns on the Tampa Southern railroad, a branch line of the Seaboard, extending from Turkey Creek to Sarasota...
Tampa, Fla., Oct 26. - Five persons are known to be dead in this city and St. Petersburg across Tampa bay as the result of yesterday's storm, which caused a local property damage estimated at between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000. The storm was the worst that has struck this section since 1841.
The known dead of Tampa are:
JIMMIE JURRUNO, killed by live wire Tuesday.
Mrs. J. D. Eilder, drowned today
LOUIS VOIRE, drowned Tuesday.
F. C. WOLFE, 18, crushed when a roof caved in on him.
J. W. McLEAN, 75, died of heart failure while closing the windows of his home.
Residents of Passagrille were saved, though the island was damaged to the extent of approximately $100,000.
The city's property loss is shared half by the street car, telephone and telegraph companies. About one-forth of the damage was to roads and bridges. The remained of the estimated loss is widely scattered among buildings, principally among the residential section.
Washington, Oct. 25. - The tropical storm which swept the Florida coast with such disastrous effect yesterday was central about latitude 29 and longitude 75 degrees, the weather bureau announces, and was "moving slowly eastward.' This would put the storm about midway between the South Atlantic coast and Bermuda.
Columbia, South Carolina
October 27, 1921
Visit Tampa, Florida, USA
Discover the people who lived there, the places they visited and the stories they shared.