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1924-06-28 - Lorain, OH

This took place about a half hour from where I grew up & still live. I actually live in Monroeville which is a small village just outside of Norwalk. About 20min south of Sandusky.

The deadliest tornado in Ohio history struck Lorain and Sandusky on Saturday, June 28, 1924. This was not the largest or strongest tornado to occur in Ohio, but the violent storm struck an urban center where thousands of people were put at risk. There were 85 fatalities, 72 of which occurred in Lorain.

The Lorain Tornado formed over Sandusky Bay and passed eastward, striking the northern edge of Sandusky at 4:35 PM. A nine city block area was damaged, bounded by Adams, Market, Washington Park, and the waterfront. One hundred homes and 25 businesses were destroyed in Sandusky. There were eight deaths in Sandusky.

The tornado continued over Lake Erie before coming ashore at the Lorain Municipal Bath House in Lakeview Park. Buildings were damaged for 35 blocks along Broadway and at least 200 automobiles were buried in bricks and other debris. More than 1000 homes were damaged and 500 destroyed in Lorain. All downtown businesses sustained some damage. The death toll of 15 in the State Theater is the most ever killed by a tornado in one building in Ohio. Dozens of doctors and hundreds of nurses arrived in Lorain Saturday night from Cleveland to attend to the injured. A second tornado touched down west of Vickery in Sandusky County and traveled eastward toward Castalia. Another formed over Huron Township in Erie County. A fourth tornado touched down at about 6 PM near Geauga Lake and traveled 20 miles across northern Portage County. Three farmers were killed in their milking barns north of Mantua.

A few images from the story. More can be found by clicking the link.

Birds-eye view of Broadway on first day after the Lorain tornado.


Company G of the Ohio National Guard from Norwalk, Ohio, went to Sandusky to perform police duty and assist with relief efforts after a 1924 tornado.


Destruction along the waterfront in Sandusky caused by the 1924 tornado.


This photograph shows a Ford automobile blown into a boat house in Sandusky during the 1924 tornado.

Wow, it is really neat to see the images of tornado damage with such classic cars.

Thanks for writing this out!
Here is another article I recently found about this day.

SOURCE: http://www3.gendisasters.com/ohio/8213/lorain-oh-tornado-devastation-june-1924



Lorain Is Mass Of Wreckage, Says Report From Lake Front To 14th Street; Main Street Is Said To Be Mass Of Ruins; Fires Add To Horror Of Situation; Soldiers Are Rushed To Scene For Guard Duty.

Cleveland, June 28. -- From one hundred to five hundred dead, while the maimed and injured may reach high into the thousands upon the basis of fragmentary reports tonight the toll of a devastating tornado that came out of the northwest late today, taking an uncounted toll of dead, injured and property destroyed in Cleveland, Lorain, Sandusky, Cedar Point and other cities in northern Ohio.
Lorain, center of great shipbuilding and steel industries, felt the greatest shock of the twister. Hastily compiled lists of dead ranged from 80 to 200 and injured above 1,500.
In that city the State Theater filled with a Saturday throng, collapsed when another building struck by lightning fell against it. It was said that more than two thousand were caught in the crash. Some had miraculous escapes but the vast majority were injured.
The city tonight according to reporters who made their way back to telephone wires in communication with Cleveland, is a scene of stark horror.
Bodies of victims in the theater crash were lying in rows in front of the wreckage.
Broadway, the main street of the city, was a mass of twisted girders and timbers. All bridges were down.
The school buildings and fire houses were turned into improvised hospitals.
At Cedar Point, the big docks and warehouses were lifted bodily and thrown into the lake.
Near Lorain a Nickel Plate freight train of 65 cars was blown from the tracks and carried three hundred feet into an adjoining field. The tracks also were carried along with the wreckage.
The Ferry Boat RELIANCE had just left the pier at Sandusky for her mile run to Marblehead when the storm hit her. She turned turtle and latest reports placed the number of drowned at 12.
Cedar Point, famous summer resort reported 25 dead and at Sandusky it was said that the death list was at least as large.
At least seven persons were killed in Cleveland.
A report from Lorain just before eleven o'clock said that fires had broken out in several sections of the city.
At Sandusky a tidal wave, following the path of the tornado, swept away the wharves, smashed boats and crushed ferries and excursion boats against the wreckage.
Lorain's injured, overcrowding the city's one hospital were being brought to Cleveland in special trains. Rescuers were working under the greatest handship, and without lights.
Nearly two hundred doctors from Cleveland with hundreds of nurses and full equipment supplied by the Red Cross were said to have reached the scene shortly after 11 o'clock.
Promptly complying with frantic request Governor DONAHEY had ordered a number of units of the national guard mobilized for duty and those from Cleveland were rushed to Lorain in commandeered taxicabs.
At Elyria only eight miles from Lorain police estimated the dead in Lorain as between 100 and 300.
Lorain from the water front to Fourteenth Street is a mass of ruins. The swirling storm picked up houses and business blocks alike and hurled them into the streets, a mass of debris, burying scores of persons in the ruins.
A report received here at midnight said that the little town of Vickery near Sandusky had been entirely wiped out.
Another report was that the excursion steamer Chippewa, plying between Cedar Point and the Islands had been sunk with all on board. Messages stated that no trace of the vessel could be found in any port.
C. C. VANDUSEN, a prominent lawyer of Lorain and his family of four were killed.
Estimates made just before midnight placed the number of dead in Lorain at 200 but reduced the list of injured to approximately 700.
Reports said that the entire town of Vermillion half way between Sandusky and Lorain had been wiped out but this could not be confirmed.
In the collapse of the State Theater every person on the main floor was killed, late reports stated that injured were still being taken from the balcony seats.
Members of the American legion and veterans of foreign wars were sworn in as deputies. Two persons caught robbing the dead were being held in the city prison.
Captain JOYCE of the Nickel Plate railroad estimated the number of dead in East Lorain at one hundred and fifty.
Every church in Lorain was destroyed.
The storm which twisted its way through Lorain broke at 5:05. Couriers, weaving their perilous way along wreckage strewed roads were sent out to nearby towns, appealing for aid.
Elyria and Cleveland alone responded, others being too hard hit to aid.
One hundred Cleveland police in uniform were aiding the soldiers in relief work and to prevent looting.

The Mansfield News Ohio 1924-06-29





(By Associated Press)
Cleveland, June 30.
Ninety-four persons were known dead in Ohio today as a result of Saturday's severe wind, rain and electrical storm which swept the coast of Lake Erie from Sandusky to Lorain, wrecking a large portion of Lorain and parts of Sandusky.
Although the loss of life was not as great as at first believed, relief workers said today that the list of dead may grow. Several hundred persons were reported injured, several score of them seriously and the property damage was estimated at more than $3,000,000.
The greatest loss of life was at Lorain where 70 were killed.
The storm first struck Sandusky, doing most of its damage in the eastern part of the city and then jumped almost twenty five miles to Lorain, where the greatest loss of life occurred.
At Lorain where approximately 125 city blocks were destroyed, the greatest loss of life occurred in the State Theatre, a motion picture show which collapsed crushing many of the spectators.
Medical aid for the injured, burial of the dead and housing of the homeless occupied the attention of doctors, nurses and Red Cross workers today. Between 600 and 1,000 Ohio National guardsmen were on duty to preserve order and help with rescue and rehabilitation work at Lorain.
Governor DONAHEY, motoring from Columbus Sunday personally took charge of the situation at Lorain.

Loss Not So Heavy.
Several days will be required, according to best estimates to clear away the wreckage at places where the storm hit the hardest. Rescue workers said today they believed the death list probably would have been greater at Lorain but for the fact that most of the factories and shops torn down there had been emptied at the noon hour for the usual Saturday half holiday.
Related reports today indicated that damage to the rural districts in the storm area was not as great as at first believed. Several Lake boats for which fears had been entertained were reported safe.

Super Storm.
The wind reached a velocity of 85 miles an hour at Lorain.
Scientific observers were unable to agree today as to whether the storm was a genuine cyclone, a cyclonic tornado, a plain tornado, or merely a super thunderstorm. According to the best reports, the storm came from the Lake, the northwest.
The Ohio health department through DR. J. E. MONGER, director, took drastic measures to prevent the outbreak of epidemics. A branch of the department was opened at Lorain today to take charge of the city's water and milk supplies. All milk entering the city will be inspected.

Lorain Hit Hardest In Loss Of Life And Property.
Lorain, June 30. -- Sunday was a day of confusion here owing to great crowds flocking into the city, in spite of the military cordon that was thrown around the town.
After a night of utter darkness, punctured occasionally by the flashing gleam of a military automobile headlight or a flashlight in the hands of the guards, Lorain awoke today to find state militiamen in complete control in the various storm areas and military passes in effect.
The real war of rehabilatation was begun at daybreak and the first building to be attacked by the army of workmen was the State Theatre where many bodies were found after the tornado had thrown the roof of the building next to the theatre on top of the amusement place and brought down both roofs and three floors on to the heads of those attending the show.
The death list early today stood at 70, while the estimated of the property damage mounted as the inspection of the work progressed into unexplored debris. While county coroner PERRY felt certain other bodies would be found in the houses wrecked in the outlying districts yet the chief anxiety of the hunters centered on the State Theatre.
The walls of this building will be razed today and the entire inside will be gutted in an effort to make sure that no bodies will be left buried there.
Aid is coming into the city today from directionis. Cleveland particularly is sending food, doctors, nurses and men to work.

Freaks Of The Big Blow.
Thw storm left the usual number of freaks.
MISS MAY HURST, piano player at the State Theatre where many were killed, escaped from the wrecked building unscratched, although the roof and walls crumpled over her. The steel booth in which JAMES BRANDON, projectionist, was working, fell with its balcony perch to the basement but BRANDON was unhurt.
MRS. GEORGE FORRESTER was standing on top of the three story Flatiron building when it caved in. She rode the building to the ground and escaped with only a slight bruise.
Although the front of an apartment building on Broadway was shaved off clean, furniture in a front room on the second floor was undistrubed. Several persons sat in it watching wrecking operations.

New Church Wrecked.
About 1,000 feet south of the municipal bathing beach a canoe was wreapped around a telephone pole.
Mayor HOFFMAN said he saw a woman alight from her automobile in front of her home just as the storm broke. The machine was picked up, carried over the house top and set down in a back yard. The woman was blown a block down the street but escaped without injury. The house was not damaged.
Another house was almost totally demolished. Unmindful of the furniture scattered about what was once a lwan, a woman was seen placing a sapling back in place.
The Emmanuel Evangelical church, one of the city's newest brick structures, looks like a pile driver hit it on top. It was flattened out completely.

Tornado In Brief.
Lorain, Ohio, June 30. -- Casualties, damage and general results caused by the tornado as it twisted its way across Northern Ohio Saturday night are:
From the several cities affected 110 dead are reported.
Lorain -- Seventy dead, probably several hundred injured and property damage amounting to from $25,000,000 to $30,000,000 inflicted.
Sandusky -- Six dead, probably 100 injured and property damage of from $1,500,000 to $2,000,000.
Cleveland -- Seven dead, with small property damage.
Port Clinton -- Slight damage, due to heavy rainfall. No casualties.
Warren -- One dead.
Mantua -- Three reported to be dead.
Akron -- One dead, property damage estimated at from $500,000 to $1,000,000.
Waymouth -- Two children drowned, three washed off bridge in automobile, but rescued.
Youngstown -- One dead.
Bay Village -- Apartments house said to have collapsed, burying two.
Alliance -- One hundred isolated in flooded homes, rescued by police.
Elyria -- Virtually no damage.
Cedar Point -- Six cottages blown down, no casualties.
French Creek -- Three dead, 12 houses demolished or damaged.
Vermillion -- Small damage from heavy downpour of rain and high winds, but no casualties.
Military on patrol duty at Lorain and Sandusky, although martial law has not been declared.
State Health Board takes action to prevent diseases by supervision of water supply at Lorain and Sandusky.
Many close escapes reported by witnesses at Lorain and Sandusky.
Tornado jumps almost 35 miles from Sandusky to Lorain with virtually no damage in between.
Governor A. V. DONAHEY personally visits stricken area.

The Hamilton Journal Ohio 1924-06-30

Jeff Duda

site owner, PhD
Staff member
I realize the rules in this part of the forum are much less strict, but instead of just copying and pasting the entire document text and turning it red, wouldn't the link to the article have sufficed?
I realize the rules in this part of the forum are much less strict, but instead of just copying and pasting the entire document text and turning it red, wouldn't the link to the article have sufficed?

It might have but does it really matter? Its not like there are a ton of posts in here. Its just a way to save people from navigating away from the site if they dont want to.