Tornado Causes Death and Destruction

A most destructive tornado visited a section several miles to the south of Cresco on Thursday last at about five o’clock in the afternoon. The path of the storm was from a point in Chickasaw county, near Pearl Rock, a little village nearly wiped out by the storm, northeast to Calmar. Seven fatalities occurred, two at Nashua, three near New Hampton and two at Calmar. Two persons severely injured at Calmar may not survive.

The closest approach of the storm to this immediate vicinity was at Little Turkey where their fine new church is practically a wreck, and store building and school demolished.

At Calmar. the work of the storm is written up as follows in the Calmar Courier:

“Our beautiful town was visited Thursday evening at about five o’clock by a terrible wind and rain storm, causing two deaths, injuring several other people, and leaving wreckage of buildings, and trees strewn over the whole town.

Those who lost their lives are Peter Anderson, living near the round house. The house was torn to pieces and the wreckage of it was blocking the street. Mrs. Anderson was so badly hurt that she possibly will die, and their daughter, Mrs. Berguson is badly hurt, also granddaughter Mabel Bergeson.

Mrs. Peter Sandager living on a farm just east of town was killed when the barn in which she was, was blown down.

The residence portion on the north side suffered the most. There is scarcely a place of residence on that side that did not sustain more or less damage. North street was blocked from one end to the other with wreckage of buildings, lumber, and a tangle of telephone and electric poles and wire.

The railroad company sustained the heaviest single loss. The round house is a total wreck with four engines buried ih the wreckage. Three cars loaded with hogs were rolled from the yards here onto the main track and out into the country two miles where they collided with a freight train coming into town causing a smash up, the engin neer and fireman saving their lives by jumping. The bunk cars occupied by some of the railroad workers in the coal chutes and round house were wrecked and several occupants sustained injuries. ”

From the New Hampton Tribune we quote as follows:

“The worst tornado ever experienced in this section of Iowa struck Chickasaw county, Thursday, May 9th. between 4 and 6 o’clock in the afternoon, causing the death of five people and destroying property conservatively estimated at least $250,000. The awful wind accompanied by a heavy rain and hail entered the county in the southwest corner at Pearl Rock and swept northeastward leaving the county again east of Little Turkey. Its greatest damage began at Pearl Rock where the entire village was wiped out. In the Nashua section two people were killed. Mrs. A. Carpenter and Mr. Roy Husband, both probably killed by falling timbers. It again dealt terror southwest of New Hampton where it destroyed the entire homestead buildings on the Thomas Dowd place where it also killed Mrs. Thomas Dowd, Sr. The entire set of buildings on the Albert Smith place were destroyed and the home wreck fell upon Mr. and Mrs. Smith and the little girl. Mr. Smith was probably instantly killed by the falling chimney. At the Priebe home just south of New Hampton it destroyed the buildings and killed Theodore Krieger, Jr., who with his father, Theodore Krieger, Sr., had turned in for protection from the storm. Timbers from the barn struck young Theodore and some fell on his body.

The storm swept through the south edge of New Hampton destroying small buildings and tearing the shingles from several roofs. The superstructure on the city septic tank was torn away. The heavy new viaduct over the C. G. W. Railway to the Fankhauser house was destroyed and two of the steel signal poles broken off at the base. The storm swept eastward spreading destruction in its path. It missed Lawler but destroyed the store at Little Turkey and damaged the Catholic church near there."

The Tornado information was extracted from Library of Congress Micro-Film using: Chronicling America, transcribed and prepared for the Web by Bill Waters. This Report was published in the: Cresco Plain Dealer May 17, 1918, P-FP, C-3

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