New Castle, IN Tornado, Mar 1917

Destruction on Grand Avenue, Newcastle, Indiana Tornado March 1917 South Side of A Avenue, Newcastle, Indiana Tornado March 1917 Planks Driven Through House at Right Angles, Newcastle, Indiana Tornado March 1917 Newcastle, Indiana Tornado March 1917 2

Newcastle, Indiana was hit by a devastating tornado on Sunday afternoon, March 11, 1917.  22 (or 24) people were killed, hundreds injured and hundreds more left homeless. 


At 3:02 p.m. on Sunday, March 11, 1917, many New Castle lives were changed forever. In just a few terrifying minutes, 22 people were killed, hundreds were injured, 500 homes were damaged or destroyed and many of the city's triumphant greenhouses were leveled in what would be part of $1 million suffered in property damage.

As if Mother Nature were a surgeon and had a knife in her hand, a tornado cut a deadly and precise path through town. Late historian Herbert Heller wrote that the storm hit the western part of the city and cut a swath varying from a few feet to two blocks wide easterly across New Castle.

The tragedy dominated headlines not only here, but across the state and even in St. Louis, where a newspaper headline there proclaimed "Rose City In Ruins." Many of the greenhouses were in the tornado's path of destruction. "The frail construction of the glass-covered buildings fell easy prey to the wind," one newspaper reported.

Local historian Herbert Heller wrote that because of the storm, the frames of the Heller Brothers Greenhouses which held the glass roofs were sold "and the business never again reached the peak of earlier days."  -


March 11, 1917, 2:55 p.m., 24 fatalities.  The southern side of New Castle was devastated by this tornado, suffering 21 fatalities and the destruction of 350 buildings.  The storm then continued to the east southeast parallel to IN 38 and took lives south of Millville and south of Hagerstown as farms were leveled.  The tornado dissipated near Greens Fork. - Noaa Indiana

Read articles (below) about the tornado and its aftermath.