Mankato and Wells, MN Tornado, Aug 1946

Another important downtown building that is perhaps a total loss is the Oran building one block to the north. It housed several stores with apartments upstairs. In that building JEAN WILSON, daughter of MR. And MRS. HAROLD WILSON, was holding a birthday party, but neither she nor any of her eight guests was hurt. Others who miraculously escaped injury there were MRS. EFFIE WOLVERTON, MRS. ETHEL SOAVIN, MR. And MRS. LEO DUMBROSKI and their 2 year-old daughter, also MRS. ARLENE HANSON and her 2 year-old son.

The Commercial, Leland and Wells hotels all suffered extensive damage, but no occupants were hurt. Totally destroyed were the Jacobson implement shop and Shultz oil station. The front wall of the Anderson Vulcanizing shop was hurled into the street, bricks and masonry battering parked cars. The Hanson paint shop was a total wreck, as is Edna's beauty shop.

When the north wall of the K. of C. building toppled into Market street it fell on a row of five or six parked cars which were smashed under the great weight. Immediately after the storm had passed workmen began digging in this debris to determine whether anyone had been seated in the cars. “All we found was some groceries,” said ALEX LARSON, chief of the Albert Lea fire department, who with several of his men aided in the work.

The Fairmont Electric company was on the ground early with its repair equipment doing the good neighbor act, setting new poles to replace those twisted off or smashed, and stringing new wires.

The four national guard companies were supplied with cots, blankets and provisions from Camp Ripley. The supplies arrived in four trucks.

Insurance adjusters were at work early Monday morning. Among them were F. F. WENNER, who also represents the Wells Building and Loan association, D. A. TYSON, Mankato, and J. JOHN CHRISTENSON, Albert Lea.

The city of Blue Earth sent its street equipment, including trucks, a street sweeper and other pieces with men to operate them.

The large brick high school building, directly in the path of the tornado, was practically uninjured, though large trees surrounding it were twisted off or uprooted.
The Catholic church and parochial school, in the path of the storm, were seriously damaged, and lost numerous fine trees.

List of Injured
The following persons injured in Wells tornado Saturday evening, were treated at Naeve hospital.
MRS. BERT OLSON, Wells, laceration on right leg between knee and ankle. Released.
MISS CECILIA BANASHAK, 17, employed at Tax Collector's office, St. Paul, suffering from shock, possizle [sic] back injuries, broken collar bone, abrasions and contusion over entire body. Still at hospital.
ORLANDO HAWORTH, 74, Wells, injured hand. Released.
H. ROLLIE BRUNSON, 68, Wells, X-ray taken of left shoulder injured when tree fell on car in which he was seated.
ALFRED MEYER, 44, Walters truck driver. Compound fracture of both legs. Still in hospital.

At his office on Broadway, Dr. W. H. BARR, Wells physician, treated 25 to 30 persons Saturday night for minor injuries. He worked by the light of a gasoline lantern. Dr. O. R. BUTURF of Freeborn also gave first aid to many with minor injuries.

Among persons known to have received injuries, but not treated at Naeve hospital, were these:
WILLIAM HORIAN, Wells attorney, lacerations.

RAYMOND RENTZ, 22, Wells drug store clerk, overcome by fumes and revived by artificial respiration.

MRS. DONALD SCHREIBER, 22, and daughter, DIANA, 2, both of whom were badly bruised and shaken up when carried away in house lifted from foundations by tornado.

The Evening Tribune Albert Lea, Minnesota 1946-08-19


Mankato Hit By Twister

7 Are Killed, 75 Injured; Storm Preceded By Rain, Hailstorm; Farms Damaged.

MANKATO, Minn., Aug. 19 – (AP) – Roaring out of the west with the din of a speeding freight train, a tornado Saturday night wreaked death and devastation on a tourist camp area near Mankato and seven persons died and more than 75 were injured.

The fatalities all occurred in or near the Green Gables tourist camp three miles southwest of Mankato where one tornado striking at 6:45 p. m. spent most of its fury. All 22 cabins were ripped out with little left to mark the area except building foundations.

More than 50 of the injured were occupants of the cabins or were driving automobiles on highway 169 nearby.

Honeymoon Ended
GERALD NURRE of Bancroft, Iowa, one of three persons killed in the Green Gables camp, was honeymooning with his wife of but a few hours. They had been married Saturday morning. MRS. NURRE was injured.

The body of RONALD J.. WIRIG, 44, of Mankato, was found a half mile from the cabin area. He left Mankato in an automobile and it was not determined whether he was at the cabin site.

Four thousand turkeys on the MELVIN ranch were destroyed.

When reports of the devastation reached Mankato all available vehicles were dispatched to Green Gables. Hearses, taxicabs, trucks, and even a bread truck were used to carry the many injured to hospitals.

Lasted “Couple Minutes”

Witnesses said the twister, preceded by rain and large hail stones, was over in a “couple of minutes,” but the destruction was complete. The few trees left standing were reduced to mere poles. Automobiles parked in the area were swept away, several of them being piled into a 30 foot cut of the Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Paul and Omaha track, about 50 yards away.

The powerful wind lifted a 27 ton road grader and toppled it into the railway gorge, and with the wrecked automobiles blocked traffic on the line for several hours. A freight train, flagged down, came to a stop a block from the debris.

National Guard units were posted in the Green Gables area and Sunday passes were issued to cabin residents to permit them to return to the area to search for lost belongings. North of Mankato several barns and other farm buildings were wrecked as the funnel made a dip before disappearing.

The Evening Tribune Albert Lea, Minnesota 1946-08-19


On August 17, 1946, about an hour apart, tornadoes slashed through the cities of Mankato and North Mankato (5:40PM) leaving 11 dead and 60 injured, and Wells (6:50PM) where some 200 persons were injured.

Minnesota Tornado History and Statistics