This column ran in the June 22 edition of the Prairie Post
We had a bit of a storm last week. Some trees downed in Jamestown and buildings destroyed near Carrington.
And things were a whole lot worse in Minnesota.
There obviously have been a lot of storms in the region. The plains are known for the wicked summer weather. Take, for example, a storm on a summer afternoon in June of 1920.
According to the Jamestown Alert six people were killed and 100 injured in the storm. The deaths were scattered around eastern North Dakota and Minnesota with one killed by lightning, four killed by collapsing buildings and one killed by a falling tree.
No one was killed but 27 people were injured in one storm related incident. The Great Northern passenger train was blown off the tracks near Breckenridge. The engineer had stopped the train because dark clouds and heavy rain had reduced visibility to the point he was afraid he would drive the train into a washout.
While the train sat on the tracks a gust of wind blew the passenger cars and the mail car off the tracks and into the ditch. A kerosene lamp broke and soon the cars were ablaze even as the wind and rain continued. It had to be a terrifying time for the passengers.
And then there was the story of Mrs. A. L. Harper of Jamestown.
It was reported by the June 9, 1920 Jamestown Alert, that Harper was paralyzed after being struck by lightning in her home at 215 Pittsburg Avenue South during the storm.
The street names in Jamestown were changed in the 1930s so you’ll need to find an old timer to know where that is now.
Harper was expected to recover and it was noted that she had just got off the telephone when the lightning struck a tree near her house.
What makes this story a bit odd is that it appears this was the second time Mrs. Harper had gotten tickled by God’s Taser. In fact she had been struck just six years earlier in her home.
And for those that believe that lightning never strikes twice in the same place there is an explanation.
It seems that in the ensuing six years she had moved from a house on Milwaukee Street to her new home on Pittsburg Avenue.
You have to wonder if she ever moved again.