Saturday, March 11, 2017

Hyde Park Tornado

"You've never seen it miss this house, and miss that house, and come after you."
--Dr Jo Harding (Twister)

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Hyde Park Tornado. On the evening of March 11, 1917, a quarter mile wide tornado with 75 mph winds touched down south of Observatory Ave and east of Michigan Ave. Moving east, it destroyed or damaged over 100 homes and took three lives before leaving Hyde Park just east of Herschel Ave near today's Kilgour School.


The March 13, 1917 Cincinnati Enquirer lists the following homes as among those damaged or destroyed (tracking from west to east):

Michigan: 1268, 1285, 1288, 1289, 1382
Morten: 1268, 1270, 1311
Linwood: 2837, 2878, 2890
Duncan: 1306, 1310, 1317, 1318, 1319, 1330
Meier: 1306
Observatory: 2983, 2991, 2995, 3001, 3003, 3025, 3047, 3229 (all south side of street addresses)
Grace: 1279, 1301, 1302, 1305, 1308, 1309, 1312, 1317, 1320, 1325, 1329, 1339, 1352
Griest: 2940, 2944, 3048, 3050
Delta: 1211, 1213, 1240, 1302, 1311, 1312, 1323, 1324, 1331, 1342, 1351, 1357
Herschel: 1332, 1334, 1340, 1342, 1345, 1354, 1360

The street address pattern clearly defines the tornado's glide path thru streets south of Observatory.

Strangely, no damage reported on my street, Paxton. One reason could be that tornadoes are known to jump around. After wrecking the street directly to the west, Duncan, perhaps it jumped over Paxton and nicked Meier directly to the east (note only one address reported with damage on Meier) before tearing into Grace and Griest.


Another reason could be that most current houses on my block of Paxton were built after 1917. My house was built in 1925. Of course, that could mean that previous structures on the plats were blown down by the twister. Too bad the Victorian house adjacent to mine built in 1890 can't recount events for us.

Given my street address, however, it is evident from the damage pattern implied by the above data that my homestead, if it were standing at the time, would have been squarely positioned in harm's way of the Hyde Park Tornado one hundred years ago today.

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