Looking Back – Mountain Home Square after 1904 tornado

Mountain Home Square after the March 1904 wind and rain storm, later determined to be a tornado.

Last week we featured a picture of the square at the turn of the century. When comparing these two pictures one can realize the devastation Mountain Home felt after this storm. The Methodist Church, a two story building was completely destroyed. The front of the City Livery was blown down. The build across 7th Street from the City Livery was blown down with only signs of the foundation visible in this picture. All the building awnings and overhangs on the south side of the square were blown away. Almost all the trees in front of the Court house are gone and they are grading off the area where the trees were uprooted.

The Baxter Bulletin issued their first Special Edition reporting – “A terrific wind and rain storm taking on the proportions of a cyclone, struck this town about 5 o’clock Thursday night and did thousands of dollars worth of damage, luckily no person was killed as far as we can learn, all the telephone lines being down, can get no particulars from nearby places.”

The Bulletin went on further to report: The front of the livery barn torn away. The glass front of Tracy’s store was blown out. About one-fourth of the court house roof was blown off. The picture gallery of C.A. Carr was greatly damaged. W. H. Morris’ side room was torn away from the main building. W. L. Dodd’s large barn was unroofed and his crib was destroyed. The Reed Grove church, two miles northwest of town, was demolished. W. M. Dyer’s office in the court house was badly damaged by water. Jerome Wells, living about 3 miles northwest of town, lost a barn by the storm. Wolf& Hutchison’s store front was blown out and they sustained heavy loss by water. Part of the roof of the Baker Block was torn off, considerable damage resulting to the S. J. McMahan Drug Co.. The Baptist church was damaged beyond repair and will have to be torn down and rebuilt. The side room of Wilson Hudson’s house at the jail was demolished and the main building badly damaged. The passenger train on the White River railroad failed to reach Cotter Friday on account of a washout at Buffalo. Randolph Russell’s large barn north of town was blown down. The barn was full of stock at the time. His loss was heavy. The Methodist Church was blown down, the upper story being used by the several fraternal societies. This is a heavy loss. Ward, Garver & Co., who occupy the middle store room of the Massey building, had their office fixtures and papers ruined by water. M. Tanksley, living four miles northwest of Mountain Home reports his mill and gin-stand demolished, also residence badly damaged.

As a final Notice the Baxter Bulletin March 26, 1904 issue announced: The lumber from the Methodist church and Lodge hall above is for sale. Sealed bids will be received for it as it lies till nine o’clock Monday morning. Give your bids to W. F. Eatman at the court house. The church and lodge fixtures, the bell, window weights and foundation stones all reserved, also the church seats.

Photographs and information provided in this series was provided by the Baxter County Historical and Genealogical Society (BCHGS). If you have additional photos and information you would like to have properly preserved please contact the BCHGS by phone (870-425-2551), by email bcarchives@centurytel.net, or by mail to Baxter County Historical Society, P.O. Box 2125, Mountain Home, AR 72654. Additional information may be found at www.baxtercountyhistory.org.