November 28, 1879
Counties: Jefferson KY
Narrative: A tornado, which possessed a "wrenching, spiral motion" according to witnesses and was described in the newspaper as "whirling and tossing about like a monster in pain" moved northeast through the southeast part of Louisville, damaging over a hundred buildings. A warehouse containing five hundred barrels of whiskey was destroyed. The tornado touched down near the intersection of Saint James Court and Magnolia Avenue, where it tore down several fences in Central Park. The first home damaged was on Fourth Street opposite the park. Eagle Park (primarily used for baseball) was damaged between Third and Fourth streets and Ormsby and Park avenues, and a home was damaged on Third Street opposite the park. Considerable damage was done in what was then known as Brownstown, and today is Old Louisville. Many roofs were removed there, and damage was reported at the corner of First and Ormsby. The tornado then intensified and produced some of its worst damage at Preston Street and Mechanic Street (Mechanic Street was today's Saint Catherine and Mary streets). Houses were unroofed at the intersection of Preston and Mechanic, a small brick slaughterhouse on Mechanic was demolished, and a two and a half story brick house on Mechanic was badly damaged. Continuing to the northeast, a home was damaged at the corner of Kentucky and Shelby streets and brick cottages on Kentucky near Shelby were wrecked. A roof was removed on Mary Street near Swan Street, and some light damage was done along Fischer Avenue, though those damages were probably from straight-line winds. The tornado advanced to the northeast. Significant damage occurred on Broadway near Cave Hill Cemetery. The twister then moved into the cemetery and inflicted terrible damage to trees and monuments. The arch over the northern gateway was blown over. The tornado lifted in the Irish Hill neighborhood. Click here for a detailed map of the approximate path of the center of the tornado.