Tyler, MN Tornado, Aug 1918

Tyler, MN Main Street 1908 Tyler MINN tornado  8-21-1918.jpg Tyler MINN tornado  8-21-1918 2.jpg Tyler, MN Main Street after Tornado The Town after the Tornado Congregational Church after Tornado Residence Section after Tornado Residence Section after Tornado


Tyler, Minnesota, Torn to Pieces; Property Loss a Million

Brave Nurse Loses Her Life Attempting to Save Patient

TYLER, Minn., Aug. 22.----Between thirty and thirty-five persons were killed and more than 100 were injured by the tornado which struck Tyler about 10 o'clock last night and tore the town to pieces in a twinkling. Twenty-seven bodies have been identified.

The tornado tore through the heart of the town, sparing only one building, a motion picture theatre, in which 200 persons were sheltered. The greatest loss of life was in a restaurant. Eighteen persons' were in the place when the brick walls collapsed. Sixteen were killed, and the other two were seriously injured.

Persons engaged in rescue work said that 125 injured victims was a conservative estimate. In addition to the business places, forty residences, the hospital, electric light plant and other buildings were destroyed. The storm raged until 11:25 P.M. and dozens of victims were pinned under debris for two or three hours, before rescued.

The tornado roared into the city from the east. Roofs were ripped from stores and houses, crashing glass whistled through the streets and falling walls re-echoed to thunder crashes before many residents realized what happened.

Destruction of the electric plant with the first shock of the storm plunged the city into darkness. It was not until early this morning that citizens were able to notify adjoining towns of the devastation.

Three of five patients in the Tyler hospital were killed when the building was destroyed. Miss Rose Nelson, head nurse, made an effort to save one of the patients and lost her life. There were eight persons in the building; only two escaped injury.

Home guardsmen from Pipestone arrived here this morning and assisted in the rescue work. Many of the injured were removed to hospitals in neighboring cities. Physicians said they feared a number of the victims would not survive.

Reports that the tornado destroyed the Northwestern Station and a passenger train later proved untrue. The storm, however, wrecked the roundhouse nearby.

It was estimated the property loss would be one million dollars at least.

Tyler is a town of 1100 inhabitants in the southwestern part of Minnesota.

Governor Sends Aid

ST. PAUL, Minn., Aug. 22.---An appeal for help, sent out from storm-stricken Tyler by the Chamber of Commerce, was relayed today to Governor Barnquist's office. The State Adjutant General immediately arranged to sent to Tyler from Pipestone this morning.

The tornado which struck Tyler was one of several severe storms which swept parts of Minnesota last night. Considerable damage was wrought at Verdie, in Southwestern Minnesota, and one death was reported.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA 23 Aug 1918

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This was the only tornado in

This was the only tornado in the area. The theater was, in fact, one of the very few buildings that survived. Thankfully, as my grandmother lived next door. My grandfather ran a business next to the theater as well, but I'm afraid that any more details have been lost to history.

Paul P Have & wife Caroline (Nielsen) Have

Thanks for your offer...but I´ve been to Tyler, MN, and Danebod Cemetery back in 1987 - and made some photos of the graves by then! Thank you anyway!

Greetings from Denmark

1918 Tyler tornado

I was interested to find this article while doing some web surfing. Rose Nelson, the brave nurse mentioned in the article, was my father's sister. I remember the story being told in my childhood about how she had died trying to save patients. My father, Harold Nelson, was born in Tyler and grew up there with his mother Mary Nielsen (how the name got changed from Nielsen to Nelson has never been clear to me, but my grandmother went to her grave a Nielsen even though her children were both Nelsons). His father had died when he was a child, and his mother supported him by doing laundry, cleaning, sewing, etc. Harold graduated from Tyler High and went on to South Dakota State University in Brookings and became a pharmacist. He purchased a drug store in Fulda, Minnesota where he met a beautiful young Danish girl named Ethel Petersen. They fill in love, married, and lived happily together for more than 50 years, bearing three sons still living (including me), and two other children who did not survive past childhood. My father (born in 1900) passed away in 1980. My mother passed away in 2005 at the age of 98.
I remember that every Memorial Day during my childhood, we would load up the car with plants and head to the Tyler Cemetery to decorate the family graves. We would also visit my father's cousin Martina who would always give me wonderful homemade cookies, and Julia and Aage Fredericksen who owned a small grocery on Highway 14 in Tyler. One of them was Martina's child, but I don't remember which.

Paul P and Karolina Have

My science class is doing a graphing project and when looking up information I came across the above query. I have a digital photo of the tombstone of Paul P. and Karolina Have who were killed in the tornado in Tyler, MN in 1918. If it would be helpful, I could send it by email to you...

Tyler Tornado, 1918.

A sister of my grandfathers and her husband (Mr. Paul P. Have and wife Caroline) were killed in that tornado. I haven´t much exact information about, what happened to them. But it´s told (by some older members of the family!), that not much was found, at spot where their house once was located. Except from a knife that was known to have belonged to Caroline.
Specified reports must have been reported somewhere, I guess!

1918 Tyler Tornado

I remember my maternal grandfather, John A. Lorenzen, telling a story about a tornado that went through town (I assumed he meant Lake Benton, MN) one night. He and my grandmother (Elaine E. Jackson) were not yet married, but they were on a "date" at, I believe, the Lake Benton ballroom that night. He remembers hearing what he thought was a freight train, and telling my grandmother this so that she wouldn't be afraid. He said that he helped with cleanup afterward. He said that the movie theatre was the only building that wasn't hit and that everyone in there survived. Was this the same tornado? Or were there several in the area?