A cyclone, carrying death and destruction in its wake, visited Fort Smith at 11:15 p.m. on Tuesday, January 11, 1898. Out of the western skies on an unusually balmy night came first an epic show of lightning followed by heavy winds. Then with the roar of a thousand freight trains a tornado of great proportion sprang from the Indian Territory, leaping over the Arkansas River and striking first at the National Cemetery then turning its force on Garrison Avenue, cutting a mile-long, 500 yard swath of destruction through Fort Smith. Property damage was placed at half a million dollars. As a beautiful morning dawned on January 12th, 55 people were dead or dying and 113 were seriously injured.