Southeast MN Tornado - Hollandale, Wycoff, Starbuck and other towns, May 1953

6 Killed as Tornado Rakes Hollandale

Twister Hits Migrant Family's House Late Sunday; State Toll 8

Six migrant farm workers at Hollandale were among the 11 persons killed as tornadoes struck five Midwest states and Arkansas over the weekend.

More than 100 persons were injured and property damage was expected to total several million dollars as the swirling funnels hit Southern Minnesota, Western Wisconsin, Southeastern Nebraska, North Central Iowa, West-Central Arkansas and Southeastern Kansas.

Eight of the dead were from Minnesota.

Killed at Hollandale, when their clapboard home on the McMillan Land Company was reduced to splinters and spread over a 100-yard-square area, were:
AARISETO MARTINEZ, 29; his wife, MAGDALINE, 25; and four children, JAIME, 11; RAUL, 13 months; DOMINGA, 8; and JESSE, 5. The bodies were hurled 100 feet to a road and into an adjacent ditch when the funnel hit their flimsy home at about 5:30 p. m.

2 Children In Hospital
Two other MARTINEZ children _____, 7, and MARY LOUISE, 3, are in Na____ Hospital, Albert Lea.

MARY LOUISE, who suffered a bruise on the head and a back laceration, was in “satisfactory” condition.

Only one member of the family escaped. She is ORALIA, 11, who was visiting her aunt, MRS. JESSE FERNANDEZ, next door, when the storm hit.

The FERNANDEZ home also was destroyed by the twisting wind but no one was injured seriously.

Wykoff Farmer Killed

Other Minnesota dead were OTTO JECHE, about 60, who was crushed under a beam when the barn collapsed at his farm near Wykoff, and the 2-year-old daughter of MRS. DOROTHY MACDONALD, 29, of rural Rochester.

The youngster was killed and her mother and FRANKLIN STEELE, 26, Rochester, were hurt critically when STEELE'S car was lifted from the road and tossed into a creek.
Three persons were killed in Wisconsin. PETER NOVAK was fatally injured when a barn was blown down on his farm near Amery. MISS MARY DUNBAR, 78, Stanton, was killed when a farm house blew apart and MARIE KNIPSCHILD, 16, Cumberland, was killed when a barn collapsed 10 miles east of Frederic.

It is believed the same storm which swirled through the Wykoff area also damaged seven farms and injured several persons in the Chester, Ia., area.

At Maple Island
At Hollandale, the storm damage wasn't confined to the McMILLAN Farm. The hangar at the Maple Island airport was damage and the wind ripped open metal doors like it was a giant can opener.

Most of a machine shed at the RALPH MOORE farm was left hanging in the trees and a garage and other buildings at the VERYL REED farm were damaged.

These places like north and east of the McMILLAN Farm where the storm struck first and did the greatest amount of damage.

Three of the small individual dwellings, about 8 by 12 feet in size were destroyed and several others were damaged as the small tornado cut a narrow path through the group of 15 buildings which huddled together next to the road.

The little houses stood in two rows. Three of them were demolished – the MARTINEZ and FERNANDEZ homes in the row farthest from the road, and the GILBERT LOPEZ home in the row next to the road.

The ground was clean, except for the stone and concrete footings, on the spot where the MARTINEZ and FERNANDEZ homes stood. One wall and some of the furnishings of the FERNANDEZ home were strewn about a courtyard which separated the two rows of buildings.

Sucked Into Funnel
But evidently the MARTINEZ home was sucked up into the funnel and carried for about 300 yards.

When the swirling winds released their grip, the debris flew in all directions, like water from a spinning top.

Splintered boards were littered over a field for 100 yards in all directions.