Historical Details

Wind, Rain and Hail

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 08/06/1886

A Small Strip in Eastern Wyoming Visited by a Storm Almost Equal to Those of Iowa and Minnesota

Tents Torn, Buildings Displaced and Goods Badly Damaged

On Sunday evening (August 1, 1886) about nine o'clock our citizens were startled by a noise which resembled the rumbling of a train, but they were soon undeceived as to the cause, as a storm swept down upon the town with a violence which has never been equaled in the Territory since it has been occupied by civilized men.

The wind came from the northwest and was accompanied by a perfect deluge of water and considerable hail. At the old town (Silver Cliff) every tent by Mr. Andersen's was partially demolished. Some goods were washed into the creek and carried away.  At the new town (Lusk)  A.L. Smails and Mr. Andersen were fortunate. Both had their goods in tents awaiting the completion of their  buildings. Their tents withstood the storm and little damage was sustained by them. Mr. Peavey was less fortunate. His large tent fell with a crash at the first onslaught and his tent frame and goods were all mixed up in the mud, water and hail, and some of them floated away. The town was in such poor condition to withstand such a storm, as few of the buildings were completed, and many of them were badly sacked. Baker Bro's building, 24 x 80 feet, was in the most exposed position and received the worst damage. John Cross & Co. sustained a severe loss in the wetting of several thousand cigars, and a few of our business men escaped entirely uninjured.


Mr. Wulfgen, who came from Cheyenne the first of the week, reports that much damage was done further south. When he left Cheyenne Monday morning, the country to the south and west was perfectly white with hail. Ten miles of the Cheyenne and Northern grade is washed out in one place, and several miles are gone at other points.

Wherever  the storm struck the face of the country resembled a lake, the water falling more rapidly than it could run off. It is hoped that it will be as long before the storm is repeated in Wyoming as it has been since the appearance of the last, which is not in the memory of the oldest timers.


The storm did not reach to Willson's ranch on the west, and only a short distance east of town.

Baker Bros. got their goods moved into their building just in time to save them from the storm.

Baker & Johnson's iron-clad store was a haven of safety to the submerged inhabitants of the old town. 

Wm. Criswell's saloon tent was torn to pieces, and what cigars were not entirely ruined were stolen by some black guard.

The Club Chop House was entirely destroyed inn the storm, and the table and dishes broken to pieces only large enough for hash.

The cliff did good service in protecting the new town and nearly all damage reported was in the old town, which was absolutely without protection.

The storm broke up about a thousand feet of lumber for Kingman & Son, tore down their fences, and knocked out the windows on the north side of their house.

One of Smails Bros. sheet iron stoves was found on Monday, nearly a half mile from their tent, sitting right side up, on the hill south of town, whither the wind had transported it.

The O.K. store at the old town, blew away and the goods all ruined. Fred Fosdike was knocked down in the middle of the street by hail and was unable to get under shelter for some time. 

We are sorry to note that Mrs. Ketchum received several injuries from falling timbers when their tent fell. She was stuck across the forehead and face and fell senseless to the ground. Frank groped around in the darkness and hail, found her, and after being knocked down several times, succeeded in carrying her to Baker & Johnson's store. 

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Related/Linked Records

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Business Food Stores: Ketchum's Fruit Store View Record