“A cyclone swept the town away,” the Houston Daily Post reported. The town was Glen Rose, the seat of Somervell County, and the tornado touched down about 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 28, 1902. Ten people including two young children were killed; 18 others were badly injured; and 25 families were made homeless.
Glen Rose is about 70 miles southwest of Fort Worth on the Paluxy River. Then it had a population of about 800. Nearby mineral springs and wells made the town a popular health resort. Numerous doctors and self-styled healers were attracted to the community as were people of means, who built fine homes in the area to take advantage of the medicinal qualities of the waters. A new Romanesque Revival county courthouse, built with locally quarried limestone, had recently replaced a court building lost in 1893 to fire.
In this photograph, the new courthouse, although damaged, was one of the few structures still standing on the devastated town square.
The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries offer a rich and diverse collection of materials on the history of Texas and the Southwest. Each week, readers get a glimpse of the past with an image from Special Collections. 817-272-3393; library.uta.edu/special-collections.