On this day: the Palm Sunday tornado outbreak

Picture of the double tornado that hit the Midway Trailer Park in Indiana, killing 14. 11th April 1965.

The Palm Sunday tornado outbreak occurred across the US states of Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa on the 11th and 12th of April, 1965.

Forty-seven tornadoes struck, including the “double tornado” in Indiana (above) that killed fourteen people. 271 deaths were confirmed across all states.

On this day: the collapse of the Wisconsin State Capitol

In one of history’s more successful April Fools’ jokes, in 1933 it was reported in the Madison Capital-Times that the Wisconsin State Capitol had collapsed. X

In one of history’s more successful April Fool jokes, in 1933 it was reported in the Madison Capital-Times that the Wisconsin State Capitol had collapsed. 1st April 1933.

The joke tricked plenty of people, even though the article said: “Officials Say Legislature Generated Too Much Hot Air.”

In one of history’s more successful April Fool jokes, in 1933 it was reported in the Madison Capital-Times that the Wisconsin State Capitol had collapsed.

The article finished by announcing it was an April Fools’ Day joke, but it still prompted angry letter-writers to respond.

The original article:

Extra! Explosions Blow Dome Off State Capitol! Blame Solons; Extra! Officials Say Legislature Generated Too Much Hot Air Wisconsin’s beautiful $8,000,000 capitol building was in ruins today, following a series of mysterious explosions which blasted the majestic dome from its base and sent it crashing through the roof of the east wing. At 7:30 this morning the first mighty explosion occurred, rocking the dome and shattering windows throughout the city. This was followed immediately by two lesser blasts, which sent showers of granite chips down upon the heads of pedestrians.

More Detonations Follow After an interval of about 2 minutes, three more detonations followed in rapid succession, shattering pillars and toppling the dome from its supports. Huge blocks of granite were tossed into the air like feathers. With the sixth and final blast, the huge dome caved in on the east side, and the heavy mass of stone and steel collapsed. Falling in an arc, the dome split into a dozen parts as it struck the east wing roof, which was crushed like a cardboard box. The wing was demolished into a heap of crumbled stone, into which was mingled the shattered granite blocks and pillars of the dome. Hundreds of pedestrians and motorists about the Capitol square miraculously escaped death and serious injury as the heavy missiles hurtled through the air to the streets below. Granite chips were thrown through a score of store windows, and a heavy pall of dust and smoke hung over the square after the explosions.

Quency Many Fires A major catastrophe was prevented when all six Madison fire companies arrived on the scene, putting out the dozens of small blazes which followed the explosions in various offices throughout the building. More than 1,000 lives were saved due to the fact that the explosions occurred early in the morning before state employees at the capitol had come to work. After police had ascertained that no one had been killed or seriously injured, an investigation of probable causes for the series of explosions was started immediately.

Eye Solons Authorities were considering the possibility that large quantities of gas, generated through many weeks of verbose debate in the senate and assembly chambers, had in some way been ignited, causing the first blast. It is believed the other five blasts were indirectly caused by the first, which set off excess quantities of hot air that had seeped from the assembly and senate chambers into other rooms in the building.

April Fool!

On this day: the Peshtigo Fire

The Peshtigo Fire occurred on the 8th of October, 1871 in and around Peshtigo, Wisconsin. It was the deadliest fire in US history.

The Peshtigo Fire occurred on the 8th of October, 1871 in and around Peshtigo, Wisconsin. It was the deadliest fire in US history.

Because a number of fires struck the United States on the same day that year this one is largely forgotten, overshadowed by the far more famous – but not as deadly – Great Chicago Fire.

The 1871 Peshtigo Fire in Wisconsin and Michigan

The Peshtigo fire took at least 1500 lives, but may have taken as many as 2500. It is hard to determine an exact number, as local records were destroyed in the disaster.

Peshtigo 1871 before te fire 19th century su history wisconsin

Peshtigo shortly before the fire.

As with many fires around that time – and just as it is today – the cause was a combination of drought, hot temperatures and strong winds, joining to create a firestorm. However there is little specific detail available, and what information there is available is largely from journal entries of the time.