Canton, IL Tornado, July 1975


Canton, Ill. (AP) -- A tornado which slashed through
a three-block downtown area of the city has killed three persons.
At least 55 others were injured Wednesday, including 15 who were hospitalized, authorities said.
The twister's winds were so forceful that a 15-foot wooden plank was driven through an auto engine block, splitting the front of the car in two.
The twister hit this central Illinois community of 15,000 during the early evening and decimated the business district, severed electrical power and gas lines, sheared off roofs and uprooted scores of trees. It also overturned numerous autos and blew out hundreds of windows.
Initial reports from the Illinois State Police placed the number of dead at four. But a spokesman said early confusion probably accounted for duplicated reports.
A spokesman at Canton's Graham Hospital identified two victims as MATIE SPRAGUE and DOROTHY McCANN, 69, both of the Horton Trailer Court on the city's East Side. Both were dead on arrival, the official said. He said a third victim was confirmed dead but did not know where the body had been taken.
Three of those hospitalized were in critical condition, the spokesman said.
The area hit by the tornado included city square and another block farther south, and also caused extensive damage elsewhere. Authorities said at least minor damage was sustained in nearby rural areas.
The hospital, police station, City Hall and radio station WBYS were forced to operate on emergency generator-powered electricity.
Mayor Robert Jennings said electrical workers on strike against the Central Illinois Public Service Co. refused to repair broken electric lines. Jennings said he had sought help from Illinois Lt. Gov. Neil Hartigan and hoped to persuade private contractors to help out.
The tornado was part of a wide storm system that moved across Illinois on Wednesday night. High winds and hail caused minor damage in northern Illinois, and power outages were common particularly in the suburban area west and northwest of Chicago, state police reported.

Evening Independent Massillon Ohio 1975-07-24


Canton tornado

I had just turned 15 the week before the tornado and was out riding my new 10 speed when the sirens went off. I don't think I've ever ridden a bike that fast since. We lived in a trailer park on the south side of town and I put my bike in the metal storage shed just in time for our next door neighbors to come inside with my mom & me. You could feel the wind force pull at the trailer from one side then the other as the tornado and downburst activity went through. We were very lucky to have the only damage being a neighbor's aluminum shed was ripped up and wrapped around our power pole at the rear of the trailer. After the storm, my sister's boyfriend came over and borrowed my Honda dirt bike to get to the trailer park where his mom lived (where the ladies died) She ended up being ok though. I remember riding downtown a few days later with some friends on our bikes and seeing an apartment building on the West side of main street with it's brick front torn off. The furniture in the second floor apartments was still sitting there along with pictures on the wall, making the thing look like a huge doll house. I'll never forget that day and am quite happy to live in Phoenix now where it just gets hot in the summer.

Canton TORNADO 1975

I was there- the sky turned a pea green color, and the sound was like a train approaching.... lots of damage - I still have a photo of me standing on top of the roof of a home that was laying in the middle of an intersection

I remember it to this day!

I remember the day like it was yesterday. Living in a house without a basement, we thought we'd be wise to go to my sister's place to ride out the storm. Unfortunately, we discovered on the way to the car that IT was already HERE! Riding the storm out in a car...not the smartest of things... everything appeared so surreal. Debris was flying everywhere and the roar was deafening. Every year on July 23rd, I think of that storm. I've yet to see anything surpasses what I saw that day.

My great grandma was apart

My great grandma was apart of this tornado of 1975 and she survived! She was one of the three people that were hospialized for injuries. I LOVE YOU GRANDMA WE ALL MISS YOU NOW BUT YOU WILL ALWAYS BE A PART OF THE HISTORY OF CANTON ILLINOIS!!!!!!!!