Home Life History History: Cyclone strikes Benton in 1936

History: Cyclone strikes Benton in 1936

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The recent turbulent weather in Bossier Parish is nothing new to the area.  The following article appeared in the September 1, 1938 issue of The Bossier Banner.

“Benton got a ‘taste’ of cyclonic weather last Saturday afternoon when a ‘twister’ visited the community.  Preceding the wind was a dust storm of proportions.  After a hard rain had fallen for a few minutes, the wind came in from the southeast, traveling in a northeasterly direction.”

“Several homes were damaged and perhaps 100 trees were either blown down or badly damaged.”

“A number of local homes were without electric service for several hours, as a limb from a tree caused the 11,000-volt power line near the R. E. Wallace home to burn in to [sic].  Mr. Wallace’s home, the scene of a minor blaze, was without service until Sunday.”

“The home of Mrs. Mae Greer, who was ill in bed at the time, was unroofed.  A large tree fell on the E. W. Rice home, causing considerable damage to the roof of the house.”

“Garages belonging to L. C. Smith and J. M. Whittington were wrecked, as were several outhouses, including the H. G. Neeson cow barn.”

“Beautiful trees in the yards of Tax Assessor T. J. Caldwell, Parish Engineer D. E. Burchett, Miss Rosa Smith, Miss D. W. Brownlee and others were either blown down or badly damaged.”

“The willow tree between the Banner office and the editor’s home, which ‘Uncle Ab’ had ‘nursed along’ for some years, before the present editor took over the task, was badly stripped.”

“A group in the J. H. Montgomery store during the storm had a scary time of it for a while.  Shortly after the tree in front of the store began to break up the group bolted for the street, but the storm abated about that time.”

“Roofing on the Smith and Stinson and the J. M. & V. V. Whittington stores were damaged some.  The roof on the homes of Mr. and Mrs. D. B. Simmons (and newly installed wall paper) and Mr. and Mrs. Sid Adger were also damaged.”

“Reports from plantations south of Benton state that the wind did minor damage in several places.  On one place several cabins were blown from their foundations.  The pecan crop on a number of plantations was badly depleted by the high wind.”

Unusual weather conditions were an important topic of local media in 1938, as they are today.

Ann Middleton is Director of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center. She can be reached at (318) 746-7717 or by e-mail at amiddlet@state.lib.la.us