Emmet County Scrapbook
Emmet County Scrapbook Saved from Loss by Linda Ziemann.
I purchased this off Ebay in July 2005. I will gladly transcribe this wonderful scrapbook that includes articles from 1950 and earlier. I have no other ties to these people mentioned or their lives in Emmet County.
Estherville Daily News
This event happened on April 30, 1936
(This includes large photos of the houses and the damage incurred.)
DAMAGED BEYOND REPAIR
The O. L. Anderson home, 1005 North Sixth Street was torn form its
foundation, twisted and shoved nearly onto the front sidewalk. It is
one of the many places which drew thousands of spectators Sunday.
BARN WRECKAGE AT CHARLES FRANK farm northeast of Estherville. The farm
was swept practically clean by the storm, which riddled buildings and
mangled the grove.
HAND'S PARK BUILDINGS NOW KINDLING
The view at the famous lake resort, just north of the Iowa-Minnesota
line, across the road north is shown above in a Minneapolis Tribune
photo relayed to the Daily News through courtesy of the Fairmont
Sentinel. Remains are shown of the John P. Brockmann home where five
members of the family were injured. Mr. and Mrs. John Porter, who were
driving past Hand's Park saved Mr. Brockman from death when they pulled
him from beneath wreckage which caught fire. He was seriously injured.
VIEWS OF STORM DAMAGE IN ESTHERVILLE AND VICINITY
Mrs. Hurbert Schrodt, wife of Grand theater manager, and two small
children miraculously escaped death when a twister tore the roof from
house, 720 E. Jefferson street, and toppled chimney into rooms they
occupied. They escaped death by inches.
Nothing was left but splintered remains on the Mrs. Roy Richards farm, 2
½ miles southwest of Dolliver after tornado passed over. Mrs. Richards
sustained painful head injuries which did not prove severe. Her son,
Gerald, said he saw cows flying overhead during the storm.
NO SALVAGE FROM THESE TORNADO REMAINS
Jesse Cox found his three story high studio leveled to the ground after
storm passed. A few bottles of ink were all that could be found of his
scenery and sign painting studio where famous sets for operas, musical
comedies, and stage plays have been produced for many countries of the
world. Philosophically, Jesse tried to be cheerful. “I guess it didn't
look very good anyway.”
The John Utz farm buildings southwest of Estherville were splintered
remains after south division of tornado passed over the farm where
Gerhardt Hildebrand was living. As Hildebrand looked on, his barn,
house, and all other buildings were crumpled. Among valued personal
possessions which Hildebrand lost were many fine leather bound volumes,
and expensive violin, and prized relics from Germany. The farm
buildings were swept clean.
[The above articles each had their own black/white newspaper photos of
the damage included.]
Cyclone Write-Ups by News writer.
Mrs. Rose Martinson, elderly woman residing on North Fourth St., was an
eye witness to the approach of the funnel-shaped cloud as it swooped
down on the Shonkwiler farm near the north outskirts of the city. Up
until yesterday Mrs. Martinson had a roof over her head. Today she had
only a trunk filled with trinkets as her sole belongings. Her entire
home was demolished and workmen this morning found the floor of her
living room in the branches of a tree fully one block away.
"I looked out the window and saw the funnel-shaped cloud approaching
from the west," said Mrs. Martinson. "The funnel was taking a zig-zag
course, going north and then south and north again. I saw it strike the
Shonkwiler farm about a half mile from my home. I watched the silo go
down and the other building fly into the air. Then the funnel started
south ripping up trees in its path and making a terrific noise. When it
seemed to me that it was about a block away, I ran next door to the J.P.
Helinsky home. Mrs. Helinsky and I opened the trap door to go into the
cellar and just as we started down the steps there was a deafening roar
and then all was quiet. I looked out the window and my entire small
home was leveled to the ground. Where the house stood I saw only my
trunk, which by some freak of nature, was not moved. Practically all
the lumber in the home had disappeared, only a few boards remaining.
Today I spent two hours looking for a large carton of dishes I had
packed away. I haven't found one dish as yet."
At the Ed. Zeimer home 939 North Fifth Street, a large tree crashed down
on an automobile parked beside the house. The top and hood of the car
were badly damaged.
The Demoney home on North Fifth was spared but the entire garage was
caved in on the car parked inside.
In the yard of the Art Sifrit home, North Fifth, eight big trees were
uprooted and branches thrown in all directions. The garage was
demolished but not a shingle on the house was scratched.
A home on North Sixth occupied by the Hattie Rowe and Jessie McDonouogh
families was artistically decorated today with the garaged which was
lifted high in the air and hung on the roof of the house.
AT the Victor Ingvall home, 608 North Third, the garage was carried high
in the air, circled around the house twice and then crashed down on its
original location. Here another freak occurred when two glass jars of
gasoline, standing in the garage, were not broken or even tipped over by
the terrific gale.
The garage at the A. Meacham home, North Fourth, was lifted over the
entire house and over the electric wires and deposited in the front
street. A large portion of the roof of the house disappeared entirely.
At the L. Williams home, North Fourth, the garage was carried away but
the car was left standing up-right.
The garage and barn at the Joe Ringham home, North Fourth, was
demolished. A few feet away a pet squirrel, playing on a tread-wheel
was unhurt and was trading merrily yet today.
On North Third, Fourth and Fifth streets with a radius of five blocks,
approximately 20 chimneys were demolished and blown around through the
neighborhood without injuring a single person. In no instance was a
chimney brick reported as having been blown through a single house
The garage at the A. Olson home on North Fourth was demolished but the
house was only slightly damaged. Sixty trees, many of them from two to
four feet in diameter, were uprooted on North Fourth and Fifth streets
with a radius of two blocks.
At the Rowe home, North Sixth, several windows were demolished in a
freak manner when every particle of glass was blown outward, and not one
single piece of glass being found in the home.
In the downtown district at the Bagan and Sons Store, a large plate
glass window size six by eight, was literally folded up like a piece of
paper and delivered in front of the Montgomery Ward store two doors
E. E. Corey, local contractor, who was working on the new Meyer home on
the west side of the river, was picked up by the wind and thrown head
first in the basement but escaped with serious injury.
The large frame building housing the Jesse Cox scenic studio located on
North 12th Street was completely demolished. Earl Cox, son of the owner
watched the frame structure, size 30 by 72 feet and 40 feet high lift
high in the air and in less than moment's time be demolished to kindling
wood. Fifteen years ago the Cox scenic studio was known in all parts of
the world. It employed three artists, two helpers, two carpenters and
two helpers. It operated winter and summer and filled orders at such
rapid pace as to be required to work almost night and day. More than
1,000 yards of muslin per week were required to fill orders for scenes.
With the dwindling of the theatrical business the call for scenes fell
off noticeably, but only last week Mr. Cox used the studio in completing
a large scene for the opera, "Aida," which was presented in Sioux Falls.
In memory of the building that was destroyed by yesterday's storm,
scenes will decorate theatres in spots as far away as Nova Scotia,
Florida, and California. The building was erected 15 years ago at a
cost of $3,000. Mr. Cox states that there was no insurance and the
building will not be rebuilt.
Near the Claude Randolf home on North 10th stands a vacant house that
has been an eyesore to the residents of that vicinity. It still stands
there today. The storm passed it up.
Parnell Twito, son of deputy sheriff Twito, drove north on Sixth Street
yesterday just as the storm broke. Twice his car was picked up by the
wind and set down safely. He reached home safely but "white as a
Mrs. Lloyd Hausner in her little cottage on 13th Street, was slightly
injured when the cottage was tipped over and everything in it piled in a
heap. Today she mourns the loss of dozens of canned preserves, jellies,
etc., but said, "it might have been worse."
The Ed. Beck home on Ninth and Washington was given a severe twisting
and plastering in the home was cracked and broken.
At the O. N. Refsell home, North 7th, a cyclone cellar built many years
ago was given its first try out yesterday. Mrs. Refsell alarmed by the
proportions of the storm, hurried her children into the cellar. Most of
the damage at the home, however, was confined to broken windows.
"Lightning," pet cat of the O. L. Anderson family, N. Sixth Street, was
the only occupant of that home when the structure was moved from its
foundation and tipped at an angle. "Lightning" came through the ordeal
One of the most miraculous escapes from serious injury was by members of
the Walter Scott family at 709 North Ninth Street. The house was lifted
from its foundations and moved fully 30 feet east and left on the
boulevard in front of where the house formerly stood. A large tree was
probably the one thing to prevent the house from landing in the middle
of the street. In the house at the time were Mrs. Scott, four children
and Miss Myrtle Schoenig. An infant daughter, seven months old, was in
a crib in the bedroom.
When the wind struck, the floors were so warped that a closed door
prevents Mrs. Scott from reaching her infant child. After the storm
subsided and entrance was gained to the bedroom, the infant was found
behind a dresser on the floor. Tangled in a mass of bed quilts and
blankets, she was unharmed. Mrs. Scott, struck by flying furniture and
debris, was reported as being ill today but not in serious condition.
The three other children and Miss Schoenig escaped injury.
Loren Book, local drayman, living at Tenth and Washington was in his
basement when the house was moved two feet off its foundation. He
suffered head injuries but after receiving hospital treatment was back
at his home again. The interior of his home was completely wrecked and
much furniture demolished.
GARAGE ON TRACKS
At the Claude Randolph home North Tenth street, the house was not badly
damaged but the garage was lifted high in the air and carried a half
block to be deposed on the M. & St. L. railroad tracks. A piece of
cement foundation fully 20 feet long and two feet wide, was dug out of
the ground, carried to the top of a tree and slid down the trunk of the
tree taking the bark with it. A croquet set was removed from the yard
and balls and mallets placed neatly along the railroad tracks. A scythe
was taken from a hook in the garage, carried a block away and deposited
on the front porch of neighbor's house.
The George Bowman home, North Tenth Street, was twisted on its
foundation. There the storm played a freak trick by blowing in the
front door and bringing with it a mass of dirty tar paper. This tar
paper was swirled into the room and beat continuously against the
ceiling of the living room until the ceiling paper was turned black.
One Estherville householder, viewing the wreckage, saw a large dead limb
hanging in a tree in front of his home. "That dratted thing has been
there all winter," he remarked. "I can't reach it with a rake and even
a cyclone wouldn't move it."
TWENTY TWO COTTAGES DESTROYED
A half million dollar damage property loss and 12 persons injured was
claimed by the tornado with swept through the area of Milford at
Terrance Park, and along the West Okoboji lake resorts. Twenty-two
cottages on the West Okoboji Lake were totally destroyed by the wind and
many farm buildings in the surrounding country were either completely
razed or seriously damaged. The twister claimed two lives near Everly
and cause injuries to a dozen others, killing Herman Rosken, 21, hired
man on the Henry Winterboer farm; and Mrs. Julius Heuer of Everly.
Roskens, together with his employer and a hired man, were in the
barnyard when the storm approached. The three rushed for the barn but
were unable to reach it before the wind threw them to the ground.
Winterboer and the hired man, both injured, looked for Roskens and found
him lying under a dead horse. The animal apparently had been literally
picked up by the wind and hurled at Roskens.
The storm tore Mrs. Heuer from her husband's arms as he was attempting
to carry her from the creaking house to the barn, the woman being
hurdled to her death near a cattle feed lot. The woman, the mother of a
week-old baby, was physically unable to care for herself in the early
stages of the storm and was being led to safety by her husband.
The lives of 19 pupils on their way home from school in Arnolds Park,
were saved when Bert O'Farrell, driver of the school bus in which they
were riding sensed the oncoming tornado and drove his bus into a deep
LIE DOWN IN THE BUS
The bus took the grade easily and at the bottom of the ditch O'Farrell
ordered his charges to lie down in the aisle of the bus. In a moment
the storm had passed.
Thirty CCC boys from the Milford camp were pressed into service just
before dark last night to guard the belongings of owners of cottages
leveled by the twister.
The boys, acting under orders from Rush C. Smith, of Spencer, camp
superintendent, to keep crowds away from the cottages after dark. Smith
made arrangements for the boys to work in shifts.
By Dorothy Story
At the Harry Vincent home occurred one of the most unusual freaks of the
storm. In a small building behind the house, used for storage purposes,
a light card table was left standing on the floor, although the walls of
the building were hurled over the top of the house into the street and
large blocks of cement were torn loose from the floor.
Mrs. Esther Floyd drove her car home on North 6th street during the hail
storm, entered the house, and then as she looked out the window saw the
garage hurled away.
The roofs suffered heavily from the hail. The red tile roof on the Sam
Bammer residence was shattered by large hail stones. Mr. Bammer rushed
home after the hail and the first that he knew his roof had been damaged
was when he found a strange piece of tile lying in his yard. They
proved to be a part of his roof. The tile roof of the Rock Island depot
also was seriously damaged.
The new residence of John E. Greig, just east of the city limits,
escaped the south wing of the twister by 40 feet. The wind razed small
buildings to the south of his new home, just completed and Mr. Greig was
among the few who had an opportunity to see the funnel-shaped twister
which wrought havoc in the community. That part of the storm which he
saw destroyed the John Utz farm buildings and lifted whole sections of
track from the M. & St. L. right-of-way.
Mayor Fred Ehlers said today that city firemen whom he deputized to
patrol the stricken area in Estherville reported no pillaging was
attempted last night.
Seven hundred feet of track on the M. & St. L. right of way on the north
end of the long trestle across the DesMoines river and continuing north
of the trestle 265 feet was torn up. Four hundred and thirty feet of
track on the trestle was whipped off the bridge. The bridge itself was
not damaged, but ties and rails were ripped away. There also was
serious damaged to telegraph wires, and right-of-way fencing.
The towns of Welcome, Ceylon, and Sherburn, Minnesota, were plunged into
darkness last night as the tornado tore out a half-mile of the Central
States high line north of Armstrong.
R.O. Rogers, manager of the Northwestern Bell Telephone company here
said that he expects to have all local phones working by tomorrow night.
Disconnected phones are being put into operation hourly. Four cable
splicers are repairing main phone circuits while other crews are at work
on individual leadins. There are tour crews, consisting of 40 men,
working on all toll lines. At 10 a.m. all but the toll line to Spirit
Lake had been put back in operation and that was reported increases by
noon. A truck load of telephone supplies were received this morning
Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Sunde's small daughter was clinging to a door jam
when the wind struck the house. She was hurled out through a window but
was uninjured when her father picked her up from the yard.
Mrs. Max Lynn and her baby son, John, had just returned home as the
storm struck. Mrs. Lynn parked the car in the garage to wait until the
worst of the storm was over and, as she and John sat in the car, the
garage was blown away. They rushed to the back door of the house only
to discover Mrs. Lynn's purse, which contained the key missing. She
returned to look for it and while she was searching a huge tree fell
across the back yard, missing the house by only a few feet. Timbers
from a neighbor's garage crashed against the front of the house. At
last she managed to find her purse and taker her son into the house.
Irwin Klema and Edward Schwatish, who were driving from Graver to
Estherville yesterday afternoon saw the storm coming and hurried to get
home. They were still far from Estherville when the wind struck,
whipping their car from all directions. Hail banged on the roof and
windows and they were blinded by rain. Suddenly the wind seemed to die
for an instant and they saw a big plank sailing through the air directly
toward their car. It flew over the top but was followed by other
boards, tin from highway signs and other debris. They could see farm
buildings flattened along the highway as they passed.
By Al Smillie
A tour of the storm-stricken farm area northeast of here this morning
presents a scene of desolation and destruction that is mindful of the
aftermath of an invading army. The countryside in tow areas between
Estherville and Doliver is devoid of buildings, and groves of trees are
stripped of their branches as if a devastating pest had passed.
The loss to farm property and livestock is inestimable but it is certain
to run into hundred of thousands of dollars.
At least a dozen families have lost their entire belongings, houses,
barns, livestock though few of them I talked to this morning appeared to
have abandoned hope. Some of them even smiled at what to me was a
heart-breaking misfortune as they called attention to some freak of the
Serious injuries in the furious tornado were surprising slight in the
country districts where they damage appears far greater than was done in
Estherville. Whole families, huddled together in the basements of their
homes, or hanging desperately to the doors to keep them closed to the
wind, escaped unscathed.
As is the frequent way of such storms, the wind leveled one set of
buildings while leaving one across the highway untouched, except for a
few broken trees.
Livestock, too, as well as humans are sufferers from the disaster. Many
have been killed and hundreds of others today face a water shortage
because on the farms where buildings were destroyed the windmills went
as well. Some families this morning had not a drop of water in the
house and little food. For liquid refreshments they were using milk or
carrying water from the farms of neighbors who were more fortunate.
In areas where the storm did the worst, highways early this morning were
impassable due to trees which have fallen across the road. Later in the
day, after the countryside had recovered from its shock, men labored
first to remove the trees to permit traffic to what once was their
Probably the greatest scene of destruction is at the farm of Mrs. Roy
Richards, five and one half miles northeast of here.
One this desolate looking farmstead there is not a stick of timber left
standing. The house was carried about 20 feet from its foundation and
flattened to the ground as though a giant steam roller had mashed it.
Household articles of every description were scattered all over the farm
yard. Twisted bedsteads, chairs, stoves, kitchen utensils are
everywhere. To an observer who has never seen the place before, it is
impossible to tell where the barn originally stood. Most of it, I was
told, is distributed over the nearby fields and across the highway.
The grove, not far from the house, is slithered of its branches as
though it had faced a heavy gun fire.
The hog house, corn crib, brooder house and other small buildings dimply
cannot be located.
Gerald Richards, the son of Mrs. Roy Richards, described the experience
"Mother was in the house alone," he said, "while Glenn Lawyer, the hired
man and myself were in the barn. We heard a terrific roar and looking
out, saw the dark cloud coming down on us."
"We both ran to the grove, through it and just got into the field where
we lay down along the fence with our heads buried in the grass and
weeds. The roaring continued and it was raining."
SEES THREE COWS IN AIR
"I looked up and, I know this is hard to believe, but I swear I saw
three cows passing over my head. Where they went I don't know. A
moment later something hit me on the back of the head. I ventured to
look an instant and saw it was a hen with about all of its feathers
stripped from it."
"What happened to mother I do not know for sure. But she said she
started for the cellar and as she felt the house shaking she started
outside where the wind took her and hurled her to the ground, rolling
her in the mud, I don't know how far."
Young Richards said they has 15 head of cattle they cannot locate and 10
head of hogs that are missing, as well as some small pigs. Chickens
have been scattered everywhere in the vicinity.
BERGE FARM DEMOLISHED
Another scene of extreme disaster is the farm of John Berge, brother of
Martin Berge of Estherville.
The barn is a mass of kindling, likewise the corn crib, chicken house
and cattle barn. The windmill lies flat and twisted.
Inside the house the scene is terrific. Dirt inches deep covers the
floor, wall papers has been stripped from the walls and in the parlor of
the home there are four inches of wind-driven straw littering the floor.
"How we escaped is a mystery," Mrs. Berge said. "As soon as we felt the
storm strike, we attempted to hold the doors, but it was useless and we
dashed for the cellar. We felt the house tremble and shake and expected
every minute to see it go over our heads. Soon the storm passed but
every one of us was shaken with freight."
The Berges and several neighbors had just started to "grade" potatoes
when they heard the first warning of the oncoming tornado. In the home
were, besides Mr. and Mrs. Berge, their two children, Nels and Nora; and
Dean Payton, Oswald Lineland, Lewis Rude, Silas Knutsen and Bert
This morning when the Berges were attempting to clean up the wreckage
they moved a rug and found an unbroken fishbowl underneath it. The fish
had been hurled from the container and were killed.
Mr. and Mrs. Clive Davis surveyed their farmstead this morning. Only
the house was standing, which had been twisted on its foundation. The
interior was filled with debris. The force of the storm even had torn
the paper from the walls, though a kerosene lamp sitting on a table in
the living room was not even upset.
Davis said he and Louis Mattes of Dolliver, a visitor, attempted to hold
the doors when the storm struck but they found it useless and the two,
with Mrs. Davis, headed for the basement.
HOUSE RISES, TIPS
Davis said he felt the house rise at least four or five inches from its
foundation and for a moment he said, it was held at an angle of about 45
All of the outbuildings were flattened, five hogs were killed and one of
his six horses lost the sight of both eyes, apparently having been
struck by flying debris.
Heavy machinery was wrecked and hurled form its shed a distance of 150
or 200 feet into a grove. Straw and other debris was blown into the
grove, almost hiding the machinery from view.
Bernie Welden reported his barn and cattle shed demolished and four
mules in the barn were killed by flying timber. The house on the place
was damaged only slightly, consisting mostly of broken windows.
The tornado ripped the entire roof off the house of Charles Frank, near
Dolliver, and completely wrecked the barn. Mrs. Frank and a daughter
had just entered the house before the storm struck. They said they
heard an awful screeching and felt the house shake and heavy thuds,
caused by pieces of the barn striking the residence.
The two, with Mr. Frank, rushed for the cellar where they escaped
The family of Arthur West consisting of his wife and two sons, came out
of the storm with an injury to Mrs. West and bruises to his two sons who
were carried from the creaking building by their mother. The wind
whipped her from her feet and clasping the two boys, she was rolled for
125 feet into a field. She received a cut on her arm.
West was struck on the back of the hand by a piece of lumber, as the
house collapsed, and was carried 200 feet over two fences.
Lillian Billings, who is employed at the West home, escaped with head
wounds along with Wilma West, a daughter, who was bruised and cut about
All of the buildings on the farm were demolished. A mattress from the
home was found 80 rods from the building.
CRAWL FROM THE BASEMENT WINDOW
At the Robert West farm, nearby, only a small part of the barn is
standing. No one was hurt here. Mrs. West and her six children crawled
from a basement window after the house had been blown from over their
heads as they huddled in the basement.
The fact that the family was saved is attributed to the fact that a
washing machine in the basement prevented the debris from falling back
upon the mother and her children.
The John Blom farm was swept clear of buildings, though none of the
family was hurt nor was any livestock killed. The house, barn, corn
crib, machine shed, cow barn and smaller buildings were flattened and
the debris scattered over a wide area.
Here, too, the basement proved a haven for the family, which took refuge
there until the storm had passed. Chickens this morning were scurrying
about the place with most of their feathers gone.
Tom Blom, a brother of John, suffered less damage at his farm a few
miles away. There the storm took part of the barn, killed one cow, and
slightly damaged the house. The family which remained in the building
The barn and the hog house at the Herman Weber farm were demolished and
the chimney of the house blown off. Plaster in some of the rooms of the
house came clattering to the floor.
ENERSON SEES STORM COMING
At the E.J. Enerson farm, Mrs. Enerson and three children, Alfred, Roy,
and Lillian, were alone in the home when the storm struck. Mrs. Enerson
was on his way home from Estherville when the storm passed over and got
a first class view of the threatening wind.
Enerson lost most of his barn, though the house sustained but little
At the Ben Gunther farm, the storm whipped the entire roof from the barn
and carried it an estimated 300 feet, dropping it flat in a field. No
one was at the Gunther home at the time. Mr. Gunther was transacting
business in Graettinger.
The tornado razed the barn at the J.J. Kissinger farm, twisted a
windmill flat to the ground and moved the hog house on its foundation.
Two chimneys were broken and several windows in the residence smashed,
part of the hen house was wrecked and the hog house flattened.
The family, which took refuge in the basement, was unhurt.
FAMILY REACHES CELLAR
The storm wreaked its fury at the Bert Johnson farm where all of the
buildings were swept away in a few seconds. The family, nearing the
roaring wind, had just time to hurry to the cellar as the house was
tossed from its foundation and deposited, a heap of debris, 20 feet
The barns and outbuildings, likewise, were turned into masses of twisted
John Kono, living nearby, reported all of his outbuildings demolished,
though the house escaped damage. Not a window, even, was broken.
Another farmer to lose all was John Vigdahl. His family huddled in the
basement and an instant after the house left its foundation a pig, two
sheep and a Chevrolet automobile came hurtling into where the family had
Hans Clausen lost all of the outbuildings on his place though the house
escaped damage except for a slight twisting which rattled dishes and
pictures and furniture. No one was hurt.
BUILDINGS SWEPT AWAY
The home of A.J. Oswald was destroyed over the heads of the family,
though no one was injured and at the James Miller home the barns and
other buildings were swept away although the house remained unscathed.
Two barns were destroyed at the Peter Brothers farm and the Ray Evans
farm lost a house but there were no injuries in either instance
The entire set of farm buildings and the house were blown to bits on the
Rufus Cummins place, and Mrs. Cummins received slight injuries. After
the storm had passed members of the family searched frantically for the
baby of the family and for an hour were unable to locate it.
Finally Cummins discovered the child under a small pile of debris. The
child was crying but apparently unhurt.
The Otis Olson home was wrecked and Mrs. Olson received an injury to his
arm. He was treated in the Coleman hospital. His farm buildings were
turned to ruins, bar, hog house, corn crib, and residence hurled to
pieces. At the Elmer Christiansen farm the farm buildings were
destroyed while the house received serious damage to the roof.
The storm ripped away the barn and brooder house on the George Swanson
farm, near here, and at the Al Krantz home the barn was razed.
FOUR MULES KILLED
The twister ripped the barn on the Bernard Welding farm, three miles
north and a mile east of Gruver, and killed four mules quartered in the
structure. The corn crib on the farm was destroyed and the dwelling
twisted on its foundation.
Harold Howard, who lives two miles north of Gruver, lost the roof on his
garage, and his barn was flattened as the wind sent his windmill
crashing to the ground. Some windows in the house were broken. One of
the freaks of the storm at the Howard home was a short board which was
driven almost entirely through the wall, going through far enough to
break the plaster on the inside of the room.
At the Ralph Hartman place, one half mile north of Gruver, several trees
and a small shed were blown down.
A new woven wire fence at the Clarence Anderson farm was torn in one
piece, several rods long, from the posts and carried to the farm across
the road to the east where the wind lined it up against another row of
posts from which fencing also had been carried away.
By William Anderson
Gerhardt Hildebrand, tenant on the John Utz farm southeast of
Estherville miraculously escaped injury when the entire set of farm
buildings was reduced to a mass of debris.
Hildebrand was in the barn when the tornado advanced on the farm
buildings from the west. The force of the storm threw him from the
building and carried to the lee side of the manure pile where he was
able to escape the full fury of the blow. Flying debris pelted him as
he crouched away from the full force of the wind but he was able to keep
from being carried away. When the tornado had passed, the entire set of
farm buildings was completely demolished, only a great mass of rubbish
and the foundations being left to indicate that a few moments before a
set of farm buildings had stood there.
Several horses in the barn on the Hildebrand farm escaped serious injury
although a veterinarian had to be summoned to care for one of the
A search of the ruins revealed only a small piece of a valuable violin
with which Hildebrand has played to numerous Emmet county audiences.
In on of the freakish moves which it made through Estherville the
tornado left several articles of bedclothing hanging high in the
branches of one of the few trees not uprooted or broken to the ground in
the path of the storm.
Mr. and Mrs. William Nielsen, their daughter Signe, and Mrs. Honsigne
Jorgensen, mother of Mrs. Nielsen, fled to the basement for shelter as
the force of the tornado hurled iron missiles through the windows of
their farm home just northwest of Estherville. A garage in which the
Nielsen car was standing was completely destroyed and the car left
standing on its wheels just a few feet north of the spot where the
garage had stood.
Several cattle which had been grazing in the Nielsen pasture were
believed by Mr. Nielsen to have been carried to the barn lots where they
were found after the storm, some of them almost completely covered by
debris. None of the cattle was seriously injured.
The tornado tore the front porch almost completely off the Nielsen home
and tore the roof from a gable of the house. Practically all of the
windows of the house were broken.
William Crim, who had been working in the barnyard, saw the storm
approaching in time to get himself and his team into the barn where they
weathered the storm. The barn was twisted and one corner and the roof
An inspection of the house following the storm revealed that pieces of
iron which had been kept in the garage had been carried through windows
of the house into the living room.
Machinery on the farm, both near the buildings and out in the fields was
Farms lying to the southwest of Estherville suffered their share of the
damage from the storm as the tornado swept across the county in a
A large barn, on the Butler Brothers' farm containing four head of
horses and 11 calves was leveled to the ground and its contents of hay
and harness were scattered to the four winds. None of the cattle or
horses was injured seriously although it is believed that the horses
were swept nearly a quarter of a mile to the east line of the farm where
two of them were found entangled in a fence.
SHED CARRIED OVER TREES
A large shed, 24x30 feet, on the Butler Brothers' farm was lifted bodily
from its foundation and carried high over the trees surrounding the farm
buildings eventually to be dropped and smashed. A hog house on the farm
was completely ruined.
Another freak of the storm was exhibited as a set of harness, the
breaching strap snapped around a tree, was found after the storm had
Glen Higgins, youthful hired hand on the George Swanson farm, underwent
a harrowing experience as he was carried off by the tornado when he
attempted to run to the Swanson house from the barn. Higgins said today
he "just didn't know how it happened" as he was lifted or shoved along
the ground for nearly 100 yards before he came to rest in a grove.
IN BROODER HOUSE
Bert Swanson weathered the storm with only the protection afforded by a
brooder house although that building was carried away and crashed into
the side of his house. He, too, could not tell how it happened that he
was left in his yard after the fury of the tornado had passed, for he
was trapped in the brooder house by the storm.
"I must have gone out through the door and the storm must have been
about over by then." Was the only explanation he could offer.
Frantically the entire set of buildings on the Swanson farm with the
exception of the house was destroyed or very seriously damaged by the
twister. Two horses, trapped in the barn when it collapsed, were in a
serious condition this afternoon. The windmill on the Swanson farm was
toppled over on the barn. Two brooder houses and a chicken house were
destroyed killing 160 baby chicks and 30 hens. The orchard was
KNOCKED DOWN BY STORM
Bert Swanson, his two sons, Robert and Wilbur, and Cliff Wykoff, a truck
driver, took refuge in flight across the fields as they saw the
funnel-shaped tornado advancing upon them across the Bert Swanson farm.
"We ran until we were knocked down," Swanson said "and then while the
tornado was passing over we could feel ourselves being almost lifted
from the ground."
The barn on his farm was badly twisted by the storm, windows were broken
out of the house and a 1,200 pound well drill was tipped over.
Only a short distance from Bert Swanson's farm the buildings tenanted by
Mart Higgins, with the exception of the house, were demolished and the
house itself was damaged. So great was the force of the wind that
boards were driven into the side of the house.
The only buildings left in even a shad of the original form on the farm
of Al Kreutzkampf were the house and the corn crib. The house, however,
was moved from its foundation. Many chickens were killed in the
destruction of a brooder house on the farm.
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