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July 2024
1min read

Among the paintings of American cities that ran last April was one showing a cyclone reaching down over the rooftops of St. Paul, Minnesota. Thanks to the Minnesota Historical Society, we have learned that this view was not a work of imagination by the artist Julius Holm, but a literal copy—right down to the twin spires and the grain elevator—of a dramatic photograph of the Lake Gervais cyclone.

Toward the end of the sultry afternoon of Sunday, July 13, 1890, the sky clouded over and a lashing rain fell on St. Paul while, a few miles to the north, the cyclone struck Lake McCarron. It spun along for more than five miles, devastating the communities of Little Canada and Lake Gervais, and killing five people and injuring fifty more before it blew itself out.

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