The Filson Historical Society Digital Projects

The 1890 Tornado

This year marks the 130th anniversary of one of the most devastating natural disasters in Louisville's history. On March 27, 1890, a massive tornado tore across downtown Louisville, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. The storm hit at 8:30 p.m. and lasted only about five minutes, but it nonetheless leveled homes and businesses, destroying warehouses, churches, and the railroad station. One hundred people were killed and at least 55 were injured.

The tornado's path was so localized in the West End of the city that many Louisville residents were unaware of the disaster until they read the next morning's Courier-Journal headline: “Louisville visited by the storm demon.” 

This exhibit shares images of the tornado's aftermath from the Filson's photograph and print collections. Prominently, it includes W. Stuber & Brothers' "Tornado Views," a series of photos that show 28 views of Louisville immediately following the disaster.


Nettie Hance Oliver, former Filson Reference/Genealogy Specialist, Vol 5 No.2 Filson Newsmagazine