ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Tornado/Cyclone of 1914


June 24


Destructive storm struck the northwestern section of the city, inflicting

significant property damage, especially in an area of North Second St.

Most frequently referred to as a “cyclone.”

The storm also destroyed the Fourth St Bridge.



Watertown Gazette, 06 25 1914


The Worst Storm Ever Experienced Here.

Causing Many Thousands of Dollars’ Worth of Damage.


Shortly after 2 o’clock Wednesday morning this city was visited by a cyclone, the damage caused running into the thousands of dollars.  It was the worst storm ever experienced here, and had it occurred during the daytime when people were moving about, no doubt many lives would have been lost.  The storm came up from the west and lasted only about 15 or 20 minutes, but during that short time it made a sad wreck of many homes in the northern part of the city.  The west side of the city suffered but little and that only in the loss of a few large limbs from shade trees, and small damage to the roof of the canning factory and to the roof of a home owned by John Evans in North Church Street, caused by a large tree being blown over onto it.  Several large trees were blown down in the southwestern part of the city.  The north side suffered the greatest loss.  With all the havoc tendered it seems strange that no lives were lost.


Mrs. Edward Lietzke, who occupied the upper flat of the Gruel place at Lynn and North Second streets narrowly escaped death in the storm.  She arose from her bed and while closing a window on the west side of the house a large piece of timber struck the window and the entire mass struck her in the face and breast and inflicted dangerous cuts.  She was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital as soon as medical aid could be procured and at this writing it is thought she will recover.  The William Hartig Brewing Co. and Kohlhoff Bros & Knispel, proprietors of the Badger State Bottling Co. and ice dealers are the heaviest losers.  The Hartig bottling building was demolished, their small ice house was totally destroyed and the brewery building suffered slight damage.


Kohlhoff Bros. & Knispel’s large ice house at the foot of Lynn Street was unroofed and the ends and sides torn asunder.   Just east of the ice house, the home of Henry J. Wetzel was badly damaged, a chimney on the house was blown down and broke through the roof, falling in a bed from which two children had just risen and had they been a moment longer delayed from getting out of bed, they certainly would have been killed.


The homes of Henry Kroening, Edward Else, Frank Schlieve, Jos. Fischer, H. A. Schumacher, Anton Kratschiner suffered greatly and many other homes in North Second, North Third and North Fourth streets were more or less damaged.


The west walk on North Fourth Street bridge was torn to pieces and hundreds of large shade trees were torn from the roots.


The early morning scene presented in that section of the city would lead one to believe that the city had been bombarded by a dozen or more battleships.  To the north and east of Watertown many farmers suffered considerable loss to barns, silos, etc.  Nearly the entire population of our city was attracted to the scene of destruction on Tuesday, and early on Wednesday a subscription list was started with good success to help those who could ill afford the loss sustained.



   < click to enlarge



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Cross References:

Watertown Daily Times article of 06 26 2014, cyclone or tornado?


                1873 tornado  


Lynn Haney

June 25 at 1:01am

We lived in the house on 2nd & Lynn that Mrs. Lietzke lived in!  I remember my mother telling us the story about how a woman looking out the upstairs bedroom window got hit by a piece of wood during a tornado.  Brings back many memories of that house.


Anthony Reichardt

June 25 at 12:47am

My Grandmother, Bernadette Scheiber, was 12 years old in 1914.   She lived at 512 N. Washington and said that she remembered the tornado passing between her home and the one to the north.  Her father, Frank Scheiber, ran his business as an undertaker and also sold pianos out of a small building (510 N. Washington) on the property up near the sidewalk.  (That building's address is now 508 N. Washington).  The photo shows what the property looks like today



April 10, 1965:  Twenty-two barns were damaged or destroyed in the town of Watertown on Sunday when a tornado ripped through this area. Two homes were completely ruined and seven others received partial damage. Eleven sheds and two garages were partially wrecked or torn down. The homes of Jack Wollin on the River Road and of Merlyn Bass in Rock River Paradise were a total loss. The home of John Koser in Rock River Paradise was almost completely ruined. Keith Schlitz, Coffee Road, lost part of his home and all other buildings. A barn, all sheds and 20 head of cattle were destroyed on the Edwin Schroeder farm located on the Little Coffee Road. William Boettcher, County Trunk XX, reported that one barn was completely smashed by the wind, and one barn, a shed and his home were damaged. Two silos were also severely damaged.




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History of Watertown, Wisconsin