(KMOV.com) -- One of the deadliest tornadoes ever to strike in the United States happened in St. Louis on May 27, 1896. The F4 tornado had winds reaching 80 miles-per-hour and tore a mile-wide path of death and destruction through the heart of the city and into East St. Louis.
When it was over 255 people were confirmed dead. That number probably was in reality much greater as the bodies of workers on riverboats or residents living in shanty structures along the Mississippi were most likely taken away by the river and never recovered. Regardless, it is on record as the third deadliest tornado. More than 1,000 residents were injured.
The tornado touched down near the old City Hospital and thundered east, devastating Lafayette Park, and damaging the Eads Bridge before leveling 25 percent of the homes in East St. Louis. Total damage, in 1896 dollars, topped $10 million.
Most of the area hit hardest in South St. Louis is long gone - and is now the home to Interstate 55. You can still see signs of the damage on some south-side buildings that were repaired, and in the brick work on the east side of the Eads Bridge.