The Tornado of 1913
On the afternoon of Wednesday, July 22, a tornado whirled its way across the town, killing three people and causing a property loss estimated at over $1,000,000.
The terriffic whirlwind entered the city by way of the Notch road, skirting Garret mountain; roared and swirled over town in a northeasterly direction, leaving in its wake the debris of demolished houses, wrecked mills and uptorn trees.
In the few brief minutes which it took the tornado to travel from one side of the city to the other great damage was done in several places along the pathway of the storm. In the vicinity of St. Joseph's hospital a house belonging to Myer Bones, at 680 Main street, was wrecked and a workman engaged in making repairs to the building was instantly killed.
Jumping over the Passaic rolling mill, which was partially unroofed, the tornado sliced off the upper portion of the Stern & Pohly silk mill, on Clay street, and killed a woman and a boy on State street, where every dwelling house was smashed into kindling wood. In this section of the city the storm was especially marked for its severity and a few brief seconds sufficed to change a block of frame buildings into a confused pile of twisted lumber.
On State street a house was twisted over to one side in such a way that while the floor remained level, the walls and ceiling were bent out of right angle. Visitors to this house were made seasick and the place quickly became known as the "house of crazy angles."
The St. Joseph's and General hospitals were both in the direct path of the tornado and both suffered material damage, as did the Paterson Orphan Asylum and a large number of dwelling houses on the east side where roofs were blown off, and hundreds of chimneys and handsome shade trees were destroyed.