Worcester, MA Terrible Tornado Death and Damage, June 1953

Destruction from the tornado, photo from thebostonchannel.com Assumption College after the tornado, photo from thebostonchannel.com

Then the twister roared on through Barre, Rutland, Holden, into Worcester's North End and beyond. Automobiles somersaulted off their wheels, bounding crazily and rolling in the streets like rubber balls.

Whistling through the air were roofs, pigs, cows, bricks, pianos and entire buildings, turning the region around New England's third largest city into a nightmarish Alice in Wonderland world.

A dress from a shop window was carried 45 miles away to land on a suburban Boston lawn. Another Bostonian found a bundle of shingles from a Worcester lumber yard in his driveway. Some debris landed at seaside Wollaston.

A bus overturned, killing one passenger and injuring others. Flying wood decapitated a Shrewsbury woman. A neighbor was killed when the post office collapsed.

Children huddled at their mothers' skirts were crushed beneath falling walls. Elderly persioners at the Worcester Home farm were killed as walls collapsed.

Four Religious Killed.
It was near Vespertide when the storm plunged on Assumption college, leveling a dormitory, cracking a spire and killing a priest and three nuns.

Gov. CHRISTIAN A. HERTER of Massachusetts immediately declared the county a disaster area so that town officials might draw immediately on emergency state funds. He also called in National Guardsmen to swell the growing army of relief workers poring into the county with rescue and relief equipment.

The Worcester city council met in an emergency midnight session, naming a seven-man disaster appraisal committee headed by EVERETT F. MERRILL, the governor's economic adviser. They were to report back to the council to determine whether the governor should be asked to request President EISENHOWER to proclaim the county a federal disaster area.