Bridgeport’s recent tornado was not the first tornado the city ever had. A tornado tore parts of Bridgeport and Stratford apart 134 years ago. The storm had an eerie resemblance to our recent tornado, moving quickly and as suddenly as our recent storm hit and on a similar path of destruction.
Washington Park On September 14, 1876 Bridgeport in the middle of the night residents of parts of Bridgeport were awakened by a windstorm passing through town. Around midnight, buildings began to shake. The tornado, which was reported in the Bridgeport Standard the next day, had reporters tracking the storm through Highland Avenue in the City’s Hollow where three houses were unroofed, plus the timbers and tin roof coverings of two other houses tore off.
The next stop for the storm was at Housatonic and East Washington Avenue, where a huge willow tree fell down, falling on telegraph wires. Lumber scattered everywhere from the Lyon, Curtis and Company lumber yard. Lumber owned by the Wheeler and Wilson company also blew throughout the area.
The gale hit the carriage shop at the corner of Wiliam and East Washington, and turned southeast, tearing a corner away. Then the storm hit Washington Park, leaving a large tree down and a trail of broken limbs and chimneys.
It was also reported that damage also occurred in West Stratford.
The storm was a whirlwind, which seemed to be a couple of hundred feet wide at any point. The wind was quick moving, and only lasted a few minutes. It was later reported to be a tornado.