Destructive Storm
July 2, 1859

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The Hackettstown Gazette
Friday, July 8, 1859

Destructive Storm

On Saturday night last a violent tornado passed over this town causing an amount of mischief, in an incredibly short space of time, which will be long remembered. The fine new building which was in course of erection by James Hance, Jr., and the newly erected frame and tower of St. James' Episcopal Church, were dashed to the ground. For several days previous to this occurrence, the workmen engaged on Mr. Hance's building had been getting along with surprising activity, but in a moment - in the twinkling of an eye, the skill and industry of the master builders and the labors of the workmen were prostrated at one fell swoop! The entire structure was lifted as by a whirlwind, the whole pile falling directly upon the foundations, crusing timbers and beams like pipe stems. It is estimated that there were about 35,000 feet of limber in this building, a large portion of which is, of course, rendered entirely useless. As near as can be ascertained, the loss will not fall short of $500.

The framework of the Episcopal Church was of the most solid description, and as it stood upon the commanding site which had been so fittingly selected for this temple of the Most High, it presented a grandeur of appearance exceedingly gratifying, not only to the friends of the church, but to all who were interested in the improvement and advancement of our beautiful town. It was expected that the church would be ready for consecration about the first of September; this unexpected catastrophe must, of course, seriously retard its progress. The work however, will soon be re-commenced and prosecuted with vigor until completion.

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Updated: May 27, 2009