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1854 - August 27 - Tornado Kills 18 to 20 people in Louisville church

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This deadly storm touched down near the intersection of Jefferson and Twentieth Streets, unroofing 21 buildings at the German Protestant Orphan Asylum. The Louisville Daily Courier described the storm as "a whirlwind revolving leftwise." The tornado appears to have travelled in an east-southeasterly direction. Seventeen houses were damaged along Walnut Street from Fifteenth to Seventeenth Streets, a home was severely damaged near the corner of Madison and Thirteenth Streets, and a factory was damaged at the corner of Chestnut and Twelfth Streets. However, the most catastrophic damage occurred when the tornado destroyed the Third Presbyterian Church at Walnut and Eleventh Streets. At a quarter past noon during Sunday services the twister struck the church, causing it to collapse. A door was opened by gusts of wind just moments prior to the tornado, and this may have been one factor in the destruction of the church as powerful tornado winds battered the outside of the building and also were allowed to sweep into the interior of the building. Many women and children were killed, the youngest victim being nine years old. A mother and her three children were discovered grouped in death, and in another spot a father lay dead with the mother mortally wounded, their young child placed beneath them unhurt, protected by the forms of its parents. The toll in the church was about 18 to 20 dead, out of the 55 who were in the church at the time.

National Weather Service (www.crh.noaa.gov/ )

August 27, 1854

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Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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