Fargo, ND Tornado, Jun 1957

The Fargo Tornado

It then cut a path between 7th and 10th Avenues to about 24th Street, suddenly veering north and east to smash the territory between 12th and 15th Avenues, to 13th Street and then lifted to blow itself out across the Red River in northeast Moorhead.

The other dead were three adults - two men and a woman. At least three persons, two of them children, were listed as missing.

Two of the adult dead were identified as DON TITGEN, 26, and MRS. MAX KANKELWITZ, about 56. The other man was tentatively identified as MRS. KANKELWITZ' husband, also about 56. Mutilation made identification difficult.

National Guard troops ordered into Fargo by Gov. JOHN DAVIS, police and volunteers searched the devastated area at daylight for other possible victims. More than 200 homes were leveled or heavily damaged by the deadly blow. Many others bore scars of the huge twister.

The tornado did not come without warning. Hundreds of residents saw the twister approaching over the prairie and fled the city. Radio stations had broadcast tornado warnings.

Eye witnesses said they watched the huge funnel for up to 20 minutes before it struck the northwest corner of town about 7:40 p. m.

Mayor HERSHEL LASHKOWITZ said early today that damage would be “many millions of dollars.- In addition to the homes destroyed many cars and trucks were smashed, tossed into the air and slammed to the ground by the powerful funnel.

Gov. DAVIS ordered 200 North Dakota National Guard troops to Fargo at the request of Mayor LASHKOWITZ. They hurried to the scene from summer camp at Devils Lake, N. D., under highway patrol escort.

Fargo, with 40,000 residents, is the largest city in North Dakota.

The twister wrecked immense Shanley High School and the nearby American Lutheran Church.

RICHARD RASMUSSON, Associated Press staffer who lives near where the twister struck, said he and neighbors watched the black cloud forming an estimated 10 miles west of Fargo.

"It looked like an elongated triangle lying on its side," Rasmusson said. "As it came closer, we could see the funnel begin to form. From a mile away it looked like a huge, flexible tube waving in the air."

Thus forewarned, Rasmusson, his neighbors and many others in the area got into their cars and drove away from the storm. MRS. MUNSON, at work away from home when she heard radio warnings of the approaching storm, called her house in time to hear the eldest daughter say "It's hitting." Then the phone went dead.

Searchers recovered the bodies of the five children. Their father was absent on an out of town job. MRS. MUNSON was hospitalized for shock along with LOIS ANN, 2, their sole surviving child, who suffered as yet undetermined injuries.

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