20th Century, Architecture, Environment, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Natural Disaster, Transportation, Weather

High Bridge Blown Down

Unknown

Aug 20, 1904
A tornado traveling through Waconia, Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and Stillwater leaves fourteen people dead and causes property losses of $1.5 million. The same storm blows down the High Bridge in Saint Paul, where winds reach 110 miles per hour, the fastest recorded wind speed in the metropolitan area at the time. The storm also has the lowest measured barometric pressure (23 inches) of any tornado, according to Snowden Dwight Flora, author of Tornadoes of the United States.*

Every decision has a consequence. As the ancient prophet Hosea once said, ‘those who sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind’. But how did regular citizens of these cities ‘sow the wind’? Did they, or was this storm just a normal occurrence that is necessary to the health of the atmosphere and environment?
This I know of human nature, when tragedy strikes, many will attempt to deflect the awfulness of the event through blame. We don’t have the inner mechanisms to deal with great pain, and so we often try to externalize it. Psychologists call this process transference.

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Lord, what were the objects of transference in this event? Let me start with how we blame You, after all, this is an ‘act of God’. Will You forgive any residents of Waconia, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Stillwater who placed the blame for this event on You? Will You forgive any judgments made on Your character? Will You forgive those who viewed this storm as an offense against them in person and property, and in turn held a grudge against you?
Lord, we blame others! For example, “The High Bridge wouldn’t fall if it was designed better? The engineers and architects are to blame!” For the folks of these cities that fall into this category; will You forgive them those judgments of others?
Will You forgive our bifurcated motives? On one hand we love technology. We love what is new, innovative, and ground-breaking. Simultaneously, we cling to the familiar, and many of us have deep-rooted skepticism of new ideas. Will You forgive the judgments made of those who offer us new ideas? Will You forgive the wrath felt by those who dreamt, designed, labored, and finished this High Bridge?
Will You forgive those who blamed themselves for this hardship? We place ourselves on trial in the courts of minds and give harsh sentences for imperfections. Will You forgive those who blamed themselves for lost crops, fallen barns, loss of horses and animals, and loss of human life?
Lord, You are just. You are truly the only right judge because You know our heart, our history, our thoughts, our motives, and our actions. Yet, You are merciful to us, and often reveal the fragility of our inner life and its immaturity in the most gentle and gracious way possible.
You are a good dad. We do not criticize our toddlers when they make a bridge with blocks and it crashes. We praise them, and encourage their imaginations. Will You make us a people that loves valiant failures and Pyrrhic victories as much as you do?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

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19th Century, Catholic, Health, History, Intercession, Jesus, Medicine, Minnesota, Natural Disaster

St. Mary’s Hospital Established

unknown

Oct 1, 1889
In 1883 a tornado swept through Rochester, killing thirty-one. Mother Alfred Moes and the Sisters of St. Francis converted their school into an emergency hospital, with Dr. William Mayo supervising.*

Below, is an amplification of this history in terms of modern meteorology.

“During the late afternoon and evening of August 21, 1883, three significant tornadoes (two F3s and one F5) occurred in southeast Minnesota.  These tornadoes affected parts of Dodge, Olmsted, and Winona counties, and they accounted for 40 fatalities and over 200 injuries.
The first tornado touched down around 330 PM about 10 miles south of Rochester near Pleasant Grove (Olmsted County).  This tornado moved northeast for approximately 3 miles and it caused damage on four farms.  One of these farms was completely destroyed.  Other than this, few other details are known about this tornado.  It killed 2 people and injured another ten people.  This tornado was estimated by Thomas P. Grazulis to be a F3 tornado.  Damage was estimated to be $2,000 (in 2007 dollars this would be $42,000).
The second tornado touched down 4 miles northwest of Hayfield (Dodge County) around 6:30 PM.  At least 10 to 40 farms hit Dodge County were leveled.  The massive tornado then moved northeast through northern Rochester.  The enormous roar was said to have warned most Rochester residents.  Over 135 homes were destroyed and another 200 were damaged.  The tornado also derailed a train near Zumbrota Junction.  The mile wide tornado then began to move east again as it moved through rural eastern Olmsted County.  It leveled several farmsteads before dissipating 10 miles east of Rochester.  The tornado killed 37 people and injured 200 others.  Many of the injuries were very serious and other deaths probably occurred, but they are not listed in this total.  This tornado was on the ground for 25 miles and it was estimated by Thomas P. Grazulis to be a F5 tornado.  The total damage was estimated to be $700,000 (in 2007 dollars this would be $14.9 million)
The final tornado touched down around 8:30 PM two miles north of St. Charles (Winona County).  This tornado then moved east northeast for 12 miles before dissipating 4 miles north of Lewiston.  One man was killed in the destruction of a farm house 4 miles northeast of St. Charles.  In addition to this death, the tornado injured 19 others.  This tornado was estimated by Thomas P. Grazulis to be a F3 tornado.  It was estimated that this tornado produced $1,000 in damage (in 2007 dollars this would be $21,000).
Impact of this Event:
Prior to these tornadoes, there were only three hospitals in the state of Minnesota outside of the Twin Cities.  None of these hospitals were located near Rochester.  After the F5 tornado struck Rochester, a dance hall (Rommel Hall) was transformed into a temporary emergency room.  Doctors William Mayo and his two sons (William and Charles) took charge of caring for patients.  Mother May Alfred Moes of the Sisters of St. Francis helped care for patients as well.  After this disaster the Mayo family and the Sisters of St. Francis realized the need of a hospital in Rochester.  They banded together to form St. Mary’s Hospital, which ultimately led to the creation of the Mayo Clinic.”
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/arx/?n=aug211883

Lord, this is truly a beauty for ashes story in the history of Minnesota! This terrible tornado, which kills 31 and obliterates the land, is the impetus for the Mayo Clinic?! Will You forgive the sadness, anger, and distrust that may stem from this day of weather towards You? Will You forgive any verbal vows or commitments made towards You in the pain of this moment within the blast of an horrific storm? We are only people! We do not see as You see.
Conversely, will You bless Mother Alfred Moes, the Sisters of St. Francis, and Dr. William Mayo and their progeny? Will You bless us with vision beyond the present tense as a people? Will You cause us to remember that even tragedy can birth new life and healing?

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