“Back in the Day” is an occasional feature taking a look back to the Triboro area’s past. If you have a photo and story you would like to share, email it to TriboroBanner@timesshamrock.com. This installment is from Carl Orechovsky and the Old Forge Historical Society, based on a report in the Scranton Republican on Monday, Oct. 29, 1906.
More than a $1 million in damage, one dead, total destruction of four coal breakers and injury to many, was the result of the miniature cyclone which swept through the valley. For 20 minutes the wind blew at such a fearful rate that it was thought it would develop into a hurricane.
Up and down the valley, and in some parts of the city, it blew at a rate of from 45 to 50 miles an hour. In some parts of the valley, roofs of houses were torn off, trees were torn out by their roots, chimneys were blown off, stoops were carried away, and several frame houses were destroyed.
Perhaps the section hardest hit was Old Forge and surrounding boroughs. Thunder and lighting was followed by gale which played havoc with all the homes. Residents rushed to the streets for safety.
The Jermyn Breaker in (Rendham) Old Forge was blown down and made a pile of debris. The sound of the fall was loud and heard for miles around. It was fortunate that the catastrophe occurred after those in the breaker had gone home. Engineer Thomas was the only one in the premise and he escaped with slight injuries.
The steam house several yards distant, was also totally wrecked. Ten men were at work in the building when the roof was torn off. All but two of the men escaped without injury.
A house owned by John Applenap, near the Sibley Breaker, was completely lifted off the ground, with only the foundation remaining. Fire somehow broke out at this place, but so strong was the wind that the flames could make no headway.
Of the 20 to 30 injured from the effects of the storm Mrs. John Agusinski is the only one who was hurt seriously, sustaining a dislocated hip and a fractured shoulder blade. She was struck by the wooden door of her home.
Fragments of glass falling from the windows of the breakers, residences and factories filled the air and were carried through the wind through the town. The gale was increasing steadily and many left their houses and ran into the street for safety. Many were thrown from their feet and carried a considerable distance.
In Old Forge, more than a dozen trees were either broken or torn out with their roots. One man was injured after being hit by a tree.
About an hour later, when the rain had ceased and everything had quieted down, it was found that not a window in a house in Old Forge was left unbroken. More than 20 people were injured and about a dozen horses were cut up and bruised by running away and dashing into various obstacles. The destruction of the Jermyn Breaker threw more than 1,600 people out of work.