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Personal Accounts and Comments on the Fargo Tornado

56) Some of this is after the fact recollections from my mother. Our family home was located at 417 N. 15th Ave. Fargo. Our family was dad Christ Wimpfheimer age 60, mom Hulda age 39, my step brother Robert (Deke)Diegel age 15,  my brother Sam age 5, myself Roger age 3. Mom said she had the radio on & it was raining outside. Static radio signal so she turned the radio off. So she was unaware of the tornado. Dad worked for the Great Northern Railroad & so he was out of town. Deke was out with friends playing Baseball. Sam & I were playing outside till started to Rain then came inside the house.  Our house lost some shingles is all I recall hearing mom & Dad had said. I recall walking through damaged neighborhood & seeing the destruction. So as a 3 year old I donot where it was but I recall it was such destruction. -- Roger Wimpfheimer, Power, Idaho

55) In 1957, when I was 7 years old, I lived in Fargo, North Dakota, with my parents, Bud and Helen (Bohlman) Quiggle and my little sister, Marilyn. We lived on the top floor of an apartment house that had three floors and three apartments. I remember my Dad was home, which didn?t happen very often as he was a long distance truck driver. My Mom had prepared dinner and we had just finished eating, she had made a cherry pie and had just served it to us. All of a sudden the lady from downstairs, ran up the back stairway and yelled for us to get to the basement FAST that there was a tornado coming. I remember all of us running down the stairs as fast as we could, we didn?t take anything with us, just ran. We got to the basement, there were about 6-8 children, including my sister and me. There must have been at least that many adults too. We were all squished into a very little room, there was a bed and a crib in the room. All the kids hid under the crib. There was a man there that was really drunk and kept trying to get out. I remember everyone trying to control him, finally my Dad knocked him out and he fell to the floor, where he remained. The wind was howling so loud it sounded like a freight train was coming through the wall. Since it was a basement, there were small windows up high. My Mom and Dad grabbed the mattress of the bed and held it up to the window, I remember them struggle to hold it in place, all the while the kids were crying. I remember holding my little sister, she was so scared. It seemed like it went on for a long time. Seemed like forever. I remember after a time it got very still for a while, then started up full force again.

I remember how still it was after it was all over. When we went outside, the house across the street, I remember they had just finished remodeling it, was completely gone, only the front steps remained. All the power lines were down the only vehicle on the street that didn?t have a scratch on it was my Dad?s pickup. His toolboxes were sitting on the sidewalk next to his truck. When we looked up on the side of the building, we saw a 2X6 plank embedded straight into the wall of our apartment, which was on the third floor.

When we went up to our apparent, everything was wet, my sister?s favorite teddy bear was soaked. There was water and glass all over the dining room table, including the cherry pie. All the windows had blown out. When we went into the bathroom the plank was sticking through the wall. There wasn?t even a splinter around the edge where it was wedged in the wall.

You know it?s funny, I don?t remember a thing after that, the clean up etc. It?s funny that when you are young you remember only the significant things in your life I feel that that tornado was truly significant. I still talk about it and think about it when I hear of tornado?s on the news. There was one this week that wiped out an entire town in Kansas, I feel so sorry for those people. I pray for them and wish them well. -- Diane Miller, Highland, CA

54) We lived at #1 South Terrace and I was 8 years old. We had just moved to fargo from minot . I remember that day pretty good. Our whole family was sitting out in the front yard as it was muggy but did not seem to hot. I know our family did not know there was a tornado was coming. I was in the street in front of the house and then I heard a rumbling sound an then looked towards the northwest and I could see fast moving dark cloud with lots of debris floating around. It looked as it was coming straight at us. I remember asking my dad what it was. That got things going as he rushed us down the basement. I kept asking mom were he was as I guess he went up to watch. We were lucky though as it turned east. We went an toured the damaged area after it was over with and the thing odd I remember was one with its side peeled of and seeing the bath tub still there. That house was near NDSU just across from 13th street. Our house is not very far from the train trestle, so when ever we had rain storms after that and a train would go over the trestle it sounded just like the tornado and it scared us kids for weeks after the storm. 

That was my first experience of tornado, I had two others. I outside of Moorhead as I watched from the red river dam my the main avenue bridge. That one just dropped out of the sky just once then went back up.  

The third was when I lived in Langdon. There I saw a small twister just south of Langdon heading east. I got in my car and tried to follow it to get some pictures, but I changed my mind as I thought I was getting to close. I remember that one tearing the new asphalt that was just laid down on Highway 66 east of Nekoma ND . Some one did get pictures of it and it made National Geographic years later. -- Douglas Hadland- Lompoc, Ca

53) June 20,1957 dawned as a usual summer day but as the time passed the air seemed to be more dense and muggy and the sky took on an unusual yellowish cast. Around suppertime it began to grow dark in the west. I was living in North Moorhead with my husband and 6 year old daughter. We were expecting my sister, Rennay to arrive later that evening from Mpls. We were listening to the radio and heard the alerts. We only had a crawl space under our house so we ran across the street to a neighbor who had a basement. Alter the storm passed, we went back home with a steady rain falling. There were shredded papers, pieces of pictures, twigs, leaves all over the yards. We heard North Fargo had been demolished. My parents lived on 10 st and 12 Ave so we were very concerned. We quickly started driving to Fargo and were only able to get to the Great Northern train depot. We left the car there and began walking north on 4 street. It was dark and wires were arcing and trees and branches and debris laying all over. We got to the corner of 9 st and 12 ave and by bending down we could see by the skyline that the roof of my parents house was gone. We made it up to the house. Dad's car was tuned on its side in the driveway wrapped with live wires. The front and back porches were ripped from the stucco house. The roof was gone and wires were all over. We couldn't get inside but we yelled and yelled and received no answer. Maybe they were gone, we did not know.. We made it back home and later picked up my sister at the bus station. We tried calling my parents phone, calling the Red Cross, police. Lines were jammed and confusion seemed to be everywhere. The next day the Red Cross called and asked me to go to the hospital because they had some unidentified people there and may be my Dad. It was not and later that day the police called and had found my parents alive and well. They had hunkered down in the basement while the storm blew fragments of all sizes around them. They had dragged mattress into the kitchen which still had a ceiling and had slept there. They had not heard us yelling because the roaring sound of the tornado had deafened them along with the sirens screaming throughout the night. We spent the next few days salvaging what we could. We brought tons of clothing, bedding etc to my house and I washed sand, gravel and glass which had been ground into the material. Traffic was horrific--it was stop and go from the 10 st underpass many people wanting to see the devastation and , of course, looters came filling their vehicles with whatever they could find. The streets were patrolled by the police which really helped.. People would come back each day and begin the cleaning.. My Dad went every day trying to gather what belongings were left. He had a 2 wheel trailer which went with the wind. My Mother bemoaned the fact that the upright piano was destroyed and the loss of her S&H green stamp books Life goes on and they moved into an apt. -- Jean and Dom Rolczynski

52) On June 20, 1957, I was seven years old and my family lived at 1124 10 and ½ street North. This was about 1 and ½ blocks south of Matson Field, the northern end of Moorhead at that time.  My brother, Dick, who was six years old, and I had been playing in the back yard on the east side of the house. The weather was hot and sultry, the kind of weather that tended to make one feel lazy.  It was near dinnertime, a little after six o’clock, when my mother told us to come to the front of the house and see the clouds. She questioned my brother and I to see if we were seeing the cloud and what was different about it.  She asked what it looked like.  The storm was about five or six miles to the west of our house.  The base may have been ten miles wide and not quite a mile off the ground; it was rotating slowly with striations spiraling around it to the wall cloud.  Below the base of the cloud and attached to the center of it was the wall cloud that dropped to about 800 feet off the ground.  It was about 1 and ½ miles to 2 miles in diameter. Because of its size, it appeared to be turning slowly. In reality, it was rotating quite rapidly with scud moving upward on its side.  It appeared to be like a giant upside down birthday cake with greenish black frosting melting upward on the sides.  Along the entire base of the wall cloud, scud appeared to be coming out of nonexistent chimneys and flowing up into the cloud.  Attached to the north end of the wall cloud, pointing to the north was a serpentine like horizontal tail cloud.  The tail cloud rotated slowly about a horizontal axis, sliding and slithering into the wall cloud.  It reminded us of a snake’s tail or a pipe stem.  To my brother and I the wall cloud and the tail cloud looked like St. Nick’s pipe.  The scenes of the “Mother ships” in the movie Independence Day and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, as they slowly and majestically move over the masses below, remind me of the emotion and the scene as the parent storm slowly moved toward us.  People slowly and silently came out of their homes, interrupting their dinners, and gathered in stunned silence on the sidewalk and the street to see what we now call a supercell thunderstorm.  The awesome spectacle attracted the attention of all the people with a clear view of the storm and people took many photos and movies to capture the unique event.  I didn’t feel threatened by the storm. It was like a monstrous and strange creature from another dimension that was completely oblivious to our existence.  

         We had viewed the storm for what seemed like fifteen minutes, when my mother said the tornado had dropped out of the storm from the base of the wall cloud.  My mother herded my baby sister, brother and I into the house and into the basement.  My father phoned that he would be home in a few minutes.  My mother brought a radio downstairs. I remember the static nearly wiping out the reception.  Occasionally, we could make out fragments of information about where the tornado was and the destruction it was doing to the northern part of Fargo.   My father stayed upstairs and watched the tornado through the front window.  Finally, he came downstairs and said we had to get in the car.  He thought the tornado was going to hit our house.  We gathered up the dog and my baby sister and closed the windows of the house.  As we went out side, I remember the winds feeling warm and then getting colder as an occasional raindrop hit me.  The trees were bending to the ground in one direction and then bending over to the ground in another direction. It was as though wind was coming straight down from above.  The sky, instead of being greenish-black, was now a white-gray madly racing to the east.  Bluish-yellow lightning flickered horizontally back and forth in the low clouds accompanied by a continuous jet engine like rumbling back and forth overhead, punctuated by an occasional boom of thunder.  I remember small flocks of birds circling one way then another as if they couldn’t figure out which way to go, screen doors slamming open and shut, window shades slamming repeatedly against windows as people struggled to close them, the buzzing of air vents on the sides of attics, garbage cans blowing over, and the lids coming off, rolling and tumbling along the ground.   


       We all got into the car and drove to the north on old U. S. highway 75 passing the sugar beet plant.  As we did, my mother told my brother and I not to look back at the tornado.   I felt if I did look back, I would turn into a pillar of salt like Lott’s wife.  The storm was taking on biblical proportions.  It turns out we were crossing the path of the tornado.  As we drove further, the traffic jammed ahead of us.  Cars pulled over to the side of the road in both directions.  People were leaving their vehicles and going to the ditches and into culverts.  Somehow we eventually got passed the traffic jam and drove about another mile north to an intersection.  My father pointed the vehicle to the west and told my brother and I to get down on the floor, on our hands and knees, in front of the back seats and cover our heads.  The car rocked in the wind and golf ball size hail pummeled the vehicle.  In two minutes it was over and we drove back into town.  The tornado had roped out a half mile to the southeast of the intersection where we had stopped.  Ten miles further to the east the next tornado would drop.  As we passed east of the sugar beet plant, we saw the tornado had torn up fences on both sides of the road, and downed power lines and power poles on the highway.  We drove around them and back to our house.  It was about 7:30 pm.  None of the houses in Moorhead were damaged.   It was like returning to a reality of being in a still life painting: the sky was a deep yellow and the atmosphere was silent and completely still.  -- Doug Dokken, St. Paul, MN


51) Thursday, June 20, 1957 started our like any other hot, humid day in Fargo, North Dakota .  I was working for Jackson Construction Company (cement crew) who was building houses in several locations in Fargo .  Our work for the day was over and I returned to my sister Gladys Hendrickson’s home at 2106 10th St North shortly before the weather became increasingly threatening.   My wife Mickey, our daughter Georgia (6 mo), and I were staying temporarily with the Hendrickson’s (I had accepted a teaching position in Hawley) until we could find housing in that western Minnesota town. An important factor was that my sister Gladys was the wife of meteorologist and weatherman E. Vernon Hendrickson who was at his job at the Weather Bureau at Hector Airport . Their two children Dawn (10) and Loel (9) were home with us at the time of this historic storm.  Fargo certainly was not built up to the extent it is today. 

As the afternoon progressed, the sky became darker and grotesque in its character. I remember a color in the sky preceding the actual descending of the tornado which I had never seen before or since and it is difficult for me to describe.  It was a yellowish, greenish, blackish grey in long rolling bands which predicted high winds. There were also cloud pockets of different shapes that certainly indicated heavy rain and/or hail.

It was obvious as we approached the 6pm hour that a major storm was about to hit which had potential for severe damage. WDAY in Fargo , which was a mainstay radio station for us, was issuing tornado warnings. I believe all the stations in the Fargo-Moorhead area did a good job in warning the people. They were in contact with the Weather Bureau and probably saved a lot of lives that evening.  Gladys received two telephone calls from Vernon. The first advised us to get into the basement.  The second call, about 6:30pm, as the tornado had dropped to the ground and was headed toward the airport, must have been the shortest conversation between Gladys and Vernon in their entire lives. It probably lasted less than 5 seconds. He told her we were in direct line of the tornado and   should evacuate immediately.

Gladys, Dawn, Loel, Mickey with our baby Georgia, and I dashed to my car within seconds. Without hesitation, we drove north which was our quickest way to evacuate.  We were not alone on the streets which posed a real danger as some people were driving recklessly and to my amazement were heading in all directions.  The approaching tornado now looked like a menacing black tower.   I don’t remember in the excitement of evacuation what streets we drove or what highway/county/country roads we traveled once north of the tornado’s path.  What I do remember is that it didn’t take us long to get to an agricultural area northwest of the airport where we could watch, at a safe distance, the tornado as it slammed into northwest Fargo.  Because of the blackness of the clouds, the debris, and dust, it was hard to determine the exact location where the tornado was striking.  The massive funnel appeared to miss the airport tower (which it did), then destroy a drive-in theatre (which it also did), but we were unable to follow the swerve to the south which destroyed the Golden Ridge section of Fargo .  The tornado itself was followed by torrential rains, but in our location, we did not encounter any hail.  There were several other vehicles with families who stopped along this country road to fearfully watch, like us, the progress of the storm.  The fast and furious driving we observed in the city was not evident here as everyone’s attention was riveted to the progress of the roaring twister. It truly was an awesome display of nature’s power. Here we also had the opportunity to observe the turbulent clouds and were amazed to see other rope tornadoes in the sky. I believe Dawn counted three rope tornadoes from our vantage point.  I didn’t think of it at the time, but later regretted not having a camera to record nature’s display of fury.  With some trepidation, we drove back to the Hendrickson residence after an absence of about an hour.  We were thankful the home had been spared but we also realized that major damage had been inflicted to nearby parts of   Fargo .  In truth, we soon learned the city was in turmoil with lost lives, major property damage, downed trees, and mangled electrical lines.  We did not realize on the particular day that we had been part of the worst storm in Fargo ’s history.


Next morning, Friday, it was back to work with Jackson Construction Co. where I was dispatched to a work crew to assess damage to homes and suggest a possible work repair schedule. We did poorly at both.  People had been contacting the main office non-stop to request repair estimates to their property.  Much of the Golden Ridge area was wisely cordoned off by Fargo officials because of the extreme damage to buildings and the safety issues caused by downed trees and power lines.   I do remember one extreme dichotomy of emotion in aftermath to the tornado. We drove to one address where the owner was excessively impatient for the immediate repair to his roof with only a few shingles missing. At another, a calm call directed us to a residence which no longer existed; only a concrete slab marked where yesterday there had been a home and a family.  -- William Curt Granlund, March 24, 2007 Battlement Mesa, Colorado

50) I was playing a softball game in South Fargo during the evening, and the pitcher said he was done and the game was over because of a big black cloud near Casselton.  When to the north to near 10th St and 12th and 13th Ave N., and there was a lot of wind, and I had to make a decision.  Headed north and went right into tornado.  We pulled over to a house and went into a strangers porch and tried to get in the house, but it was locked.  The tornado struck and picked the porch up that we were in and dropped it across the street.  I was on the top of the pile, but my mom was on the bottom of the pile. She broke her pelvis and I had some bruises, but we both ended up ok after a trip to the hospital.  After this, I looked for our car days later and it had been impounded from the damage done to it.  -- Dick Leverson-Fargo

49)  I was 9 at that time and lived at 1447 12 street North.  However our family was at our lake cottage at Lake Pelican. Nothing special about the evening of the tornado but the next morning I was walking to the Pelican Lake Resort and saw much debris in the trees and along the road. I remember finding 2 twenty dollar bills sticking out under some dirt on the road. To a kid I thought I was rich. My parents told me what happened in Fargo and said I could not spent it but had to wait a day to see if someone claimed it.
We drove back to Fargo a couple of days later wondering what damage our house would sustain. Praying as we went, we passed Shanley High School (destroyed). Coming up from the south I remember seeing houses with one wall sheered off exposing the 2 story house. It was weird seeing bathtubs, chairs, pictures, etc as if a buzzsaw just cut off one wall.  Getting to our house all we had was a few broken windows and some debris in our yard. I was relieved my house was safe but sad I had someone's $40. I gave it to the Red Cross because I knew someone else needed it more than me.   ---Richard Line, Lubbock, Texas 





48)  Our address was 1213-10th St N and was across the street from American Lutheran Church (now Peace Lutheran Curch).  It was Thursday evening and my partents, Art and Clara Schafte, had arrived home after grocery shopping.  They spoke about how black the sky was in the west, how threatening it appeared, how it was such a stillness everywehre.  The air looked green.  My mother began putting the groceries away and my dad was watching the storm.  Suddenly, he told my mother to "get down the basement right now -- the storm is right across the street!"  She said she had only a few items left to put away.  He shouted "No--get downstairs right now!"  They no more reached the basement in the southeast corner and the tornado hit the home.

Gravel poured down from the foundation in the corner by them.  The sound above them was like a giant freight train.  They could hear glass being
smashed everywhere and crashes above them from the furniture being destroyed and most of the roof being torn away.  After the tornado passed, they could hear noises as other homes were being destroyed and the storm moved on.  They said it was a most frightening experience.  Then the rain began and it rained a steady miserable drizzle all night.

They went upstairs and pulled a dry mattress from a bed and layed down under a small portion of the roof that was still intact.  They spend the night there and it was so dark, nothing could be seen.  In the middle of the night a policeman came with a flashlight and found them.  He asked if they were okay, and told them not to leave the house until daylight and only after they had been told it was okay since the power lines were down.

I had been living in Minnepolis with my sister Marleen and was about to celebrate my 18th birthday (June 21st) by taking the day off to go home and surprise my parents.  Traveling by Greyhound the evening of the 20th, the bus encountered very strong threatening winds by Alexandria, MN and pulled over by a station.  The driver was told that Moorhead had been hit by a huge tornado and the whole city was gone, but it was safe to continue since the storm had moved away.  The news about Moorhead had me worried since my sister Jean and her family lived there.  A couple of hours later (close to midnight), the bus arrived at the depot.

I was prepared to take a taxi home since no one knew I was coming except my sister Marleen.  When I walked into the depot, my sister Jean's husband, Ira, and his neighbor, Cecil Hanson were there and I knew immediately that something was wrong.  He said they came to bring me to their house in Moorhead.  I asked if Moorhead was hit and told them what the driver was told.  They said Fargo had been hit really hard and they
couldn't reach my parents.  When we arrived at the house, we called the hospitals but no one knew anything and we were told to wait until morning.  We learned later in the morning that my parents were safe.

The most wonderful thing was that they were safe and were indeed fortunate to have lived through this deadly tornado.  If you pass by on 10th street by Roosevelt Park, the trees are still standing there today, along with the driveway, but no house -- a silent reminder of the 1957 tornado. ----- Submitted by Terry Krile on behalf of Rennay (Schafte) Brown 

47) I was only 4 ½ years old, but I distinctly remember the sights, sounds, and smells of the tornado that rolled through Fargo on June 20, 1957. My family and I rode out the storm in our basement located at the corner of 11th Ave. and 27th St. N. It?s edge passed about 750 feet to our south. Before the tornado hit, the air was damp and the temperature was moderate, about 80 degrees. It started out as a normal summer day. We knew it was coming because of the warnings on the television just after suppertime. The weatherman said it was tracking from Casselton (20 miles straight west), then Mapleton (10 miles straight west), and to seek shelter immediately because it would probably hit Fargo. A hypnotizing green infiltrated the calm air. Everything fluoresced green for about 15 minutes before it hit. The tornado came from the ominous black cloud from the west.

My uncle was the lookout person who told us where the tornado was located while we sang ?Jesus Loves Me? to keep us calm. I heard it when it jumped south of 12th Avenue North. It sounded like a million bumble bees buzzing. My Grandma had us stop singing and start praying since it was coming right towards us. I prayed to Jesus to move it away from us and He did. There were bangs and pops. There was a rustling sound, like sand, against the basement window. Eventually, the window became dark, like night, with occasional and then constant flashes of light. The winds made deep guttural sounds as though they were speaking a foreign language. Then the sounds from outside that window became deafening. The concrete wall had cracked, leaving a 2? gap. Suddenly, it was as though we were sitting under a big, black, diesel locomotive and the buzzing sounds were overcome by the roar of the passing train. My cousin , whose face was about 10 inches from mine, started to scream. I looked into her eyes, I couldn?t hear her screams, so I screamed and I couldn?t even here myself! After the tornado rumbled away, it became really cold outside. It rained turning all the dirt the tornado brought in to mud. The sirens blared outside. My Aunt, who?d been working downtown, came running in. She said she?d broken away from a cop and had run down 27th Street. She?d seen dead people and nothing but piles of wood. We spent the night at my cousin?s house near downtown. We came back the next morning. Soldiers with guns were on patrol. At suppertime, a Red Cross wagon stationed itself in front of our house. I still felt freezing cold, but their warm food and smiles warmed me inside and out. My Mom made all our meals after that, but the ladies gave us hot cocoa and doughnuts. That was nice.  

My Mom read us the newspaper accounts. The pictures seared into my mind. But for the grace of God, it could have been any or all of the 14 children and 4 adults who were in our basement that day. I sat on the front steps for days and waved to the stream of onlookers in cars. We were alive and I was grateful. Our neighbors to the south were not so fortunate. Plumes of smoke billowed in the air when they burned what remained of their homes. The stench permeated our neighborhood. My Mom had one of my brothers take me closer to one of the burns because I thought the smoke was another tornado coming. To this day, when plumes of smoke billow, it still reminds me of a tornado. Normally we were not allowed in the damaged area because of glass and nails. But stories of the damage abound. The tornado took a few lives, many homes, a dump truck, a backhoe, and trees. Yet it was so fickle. It left some houses, many lives, and even unbroken eggs! Lots of the neighbor?s possessions were dumped in the field west of the railroad roundhouse (about 12th Ave. and 23rd St. N.) Some things were never found. Some lives were changed forever. 

Birds returned the next summer and my Mom was always after me for climbing the trees because there were so many broken branches. Many neighbors decided not to rebuild so there were many empty lots. All that remained on some were concrete slabs or a ring of foundation blocks where homes once stood.

The news inaccurately reported our whole neighborhood (drain 10 to 25th St. and 12th to 7th Ave.) as the Golden Ridge Addition. Actually, there were 2 Additions: Golden Ridge (annexed in 1954) and College 2nd (annexed in1921). College 2nd Addition (29th to 25th Streets) is where most of the houses were destroyed and the tragic deaths occurred. Golden Ridge (drain 10 to 29th Street) was where the County grade school (which also housed the American Lutheran Church) was. It was still mostly cropland with a few houses on 7th Avenue which were not destroyed. The name College 2nd got lost. 

After the tornado, grade school students became refugees and were bussed to schools around the city for up to 2 years. This caused a strain. We became known as ?Ridgies? from the ?Ridge?. There seemed to be an attitude that we were all a poor and undereducated lot. These attitudes led to bullying from all sides. The ?Ridgies? became known as ?tough? since they wouldn?t take the bullying and bullied back. Our whole neighborhood was renamed Madison in 1959 when the James Madison grade school was finished and opened. But, because of the tornado of 1957 and subsequent news reports, we will always be called the Golden Ridge neighborhood or area by many. The reputation of being poor, undereducated, and tough remains today--50 years later-- even though it is inaccurate for the most part. I?ve lived in the Madison Neighborhood almost my whole life. I love its boundaries and seclusion. We are bounded by commercial and industrial development. Homes have been built where lives were shattered by destruction. Hard-working, friendly people have moved in, just like it was before the tornado. I feel safe again.

I?ve never felt comfortable cloaking myself with nicknames or with those stigmas because I know that?s not who I am or who we are or were. I find it demeaning. The tornado disrupted many lives throughout the city and countryside. It was really more a matter of degree than kind.  

The tornado that rolled passed our house in 1957 taught me to be respectful of all weather extremes. It also taught me to be mindful of prejudice and intolerance. And I will always be grateful for the people at the weather bureau who warned us that day. In fact, I consider them to be my heroes. And I thank you all for allowing me to share my experiences and reflections. -- Karen E. Brown 

48)  My daughter were at a grocery store on Main Ave in Mhd and the manager came and told me I had better get home. We live on 15th ave in north Mhd so we left. We got to the corner of 11th st and 13 ave n in Mhd and we looked west at the most unbelievable sight ever as the tornado was in El Zagel at the time and looked a  an enormous egg beater with debris flying around in this big beater.  If it had not turned at the river, my daughter and I would never have made it home in time. We ended up with some debris etc in our yards.  Also, we drove out north on Hwy 75, stopped and there was a white tornado coming from the east.  We watched it as it went up over Hwy 75 in front of our vehicle and continued west.  I did not cause any damage. Never had such a feeling of shock, disbelief ever as my daughter and I watched that tornado.  So sad for the loss of lives and destruction that it caused.  Hope never to see another one. Not sure if this will help but you may use any or all of the information.  Thanks for letting me tell my story. -- Edith Bergh 


46) I saw the tornado as I was visiting brother in Hawley near Highway 10.  When I got to Fargo , people were running all over trying to figure out what was going on.  There were no plans in place for a disaster of this magnitude, so many of the recovery efforts were done on the fly. I was Co-Disaster Chairmain for the Red Cross for 25-28 years. Started the feeding center by 1130 pm at Plymouth Congregational Church and worked for 6 weeks straight, near 20 hours per day for the first week.  Set up 15-18 feeding centers throughout Fargo , with many donations.  The recovery was challenging but very rewarding.  Menonites came down about 5-6 days after the tornado with chainsaws and helped cut up trees.  It was a mammoth cleanup operation.  People volunteered from all over Fargo and the surrounding communities, the support was amazing and everyone wanted to help and came up to me asking “what can I do to help”.  The support from everyone was unreal.  -- Jon Welton

45) At the time of the Fargo-Moorhead tornado I was 12 years old. Living in Moorhead at the time I happened to be caddying at the Moorhead country club  the day of the tornado. On that day the temperature was moderate but I remember it being very muggy. That evening a gentleman and myself were trying to complete the ninth hole and it became very dark and calm. We noticed most of the golfers and caddies heading for the clubhouse. The man I was caddying for kept on playing and didn’t seem to be very concerned. We anticipated something about to happen and headed for the clubhouse. The dark clouds were whirling around  and the wind was blowing very strongly as we were the last to reach the clubhouse. At the entrance to the clubhouse basement I was grabbed by several people and lifted over their heads towards the back. While in the clubhouse basement we could hear the tornado pass over the clubhouse. It sounded like a freight train or the loudest wind one could ever experience. After the tornado passed we left the clubhouse basement. Outside I observed horses running loose, fences blown down, debris scattered everywhere, straw and small limbs blown into large trees that were still standing, and it seemed like millions of pieces of paper floating in the sky. After observing quantities damage I begin to search for my new bicycle. After searching for about 20 to 30 minutes I found my bicycle nearby up in a tree about 20 feet.

I can’t remember who, but some men helped me get my bicycle down. I remember getting on my bike but wasn’t sure I should try to ride home.  Some men said if I waited around awhile my dad would probably show up.  Sure enough shortly before long he showed up. We were sure glad to see each other.  An experience I will never forget!  -- Dan Jensen

44) The day was extremely heavy.  I remember looking at the sky before the tornado hit.  It was greenish black.  The sky looked sick, almost like it was ready to throw up. Our parents had just moved to a side-by-side duplex about 6 to 8 weeks ago.  We lived on 11½ street about 3 or 4 houses north of 12th Avenue north. I had just gone to the post office with my dad.  I remember that sirens were blowing as we were driving home.  Traffic was heavy on 13th Street N. in the direction of the airport as people were trying to get out of town. The tornado destroyed our home and almost everything we owned.  On the radio we heard that there was a tornado on the ground between West Fargo and Fargo .  Dad & I were outside watching the huge cloud approach.  On the corner of 13th Street(now University Drive) and 12th Avenue North, there was a 2 or 3 story building called the Y Dug Out.  As we were watching, the building exploded. Too late to leave, we went into the house.  We had no basement.  Large hail broke windows and the storm sounded like a freight train.  My mother, father, grandmother, sister (Carol) and myself retreated into an interior bedroom on the main floor of the house.  We knew that the tornado was coming because of the radio as stated before. Even though it only took seconds to do the damage, it seemed like a long time.  The scariest moment was when the roof blew off.  Just magnify a thousand times the sound of a crowbar prying off a rusty nail.  Our home was destroyed as a result of the tornado.  The only room left standing was the bedroom where the five of us were in.  My mother and father were under one twin bed.  I grabbed my little sister Carol and hid under the other twin bed.  When the foundation of the house came up off the ground, we kept sliding under the bed as it rolled across the floor.   My grandmother, who was in Fargo visiting us, just knelt and prayed the rosary.  She never had a scratch on her.  We survived the tornado unhurt.  There was a crucifix hanging on our living room wall with a splitter through it. I looked to the east when we went outside. It seemed that the tornado, after hitting Shanley High School , made a big S.  That was my high school.  My father had just bought a 1957 Chevy about six weeks prior to the tornado.  It was completely totaled.  There was piece of plywood in the vehicle that my dad and I could not even budge.  The rear view mirrors were twisted like screws.  Another neighbor had just bought a 1957 Plymouth Fury and was outside looking for his vehicle after the tornado.  Another neighbor said that it was in his basement.  I was amazed to see the downed power lines in the street.  They were giving off sparks and looked like snakes.  It was raining.  Everyone was checking with neighbors to see if anyone needed medical help.  I remember an older neighbor lady who had a cut to her ear.  Someone stayed with her until help arrived.  Sightseers were beginning to sift through the neighborhood and I noticed kids from school. It was amazing how the tornado skipped in its path of destruction.  One side of a city block would be flat and the other side just damaged.  We ended up walking to an aunt and uncle’s home on 10th Street north, about a mile away, as we had no place to go.  Our view of the storm was obstructed by trees and houses.  The storm hit our home only a matter of seconds after the Y Dug Out was hit.  The two pictures I have are not that good.  Everyone had to get identity tags to go across 12th Avenue.  There were looters and the National Guard was called in.  In those days there was no government help for people in disasters.  I stayed with the family of a high school friend for 5 to 6 weeks.  My brother, Don, who was at work at Gamble Robinson, that night, also stayed with a family of a friend of his.  My parents and sister stayed with my aunt and uncle.  Car insurance helped us to obtain a new vehicle.  Because we had renter’s insurance, we were able to put a down payment on a home on 9th Street north. Yes, you may place our comments on your web page.  Carol just wants to mention that I remember going under the bed with my brother David and the windows breaking. I was only three years old.   My older brother, Don, was at work that night.  Many families went through much anguish until they found out that their missing family members were safe.  My family was  lucky.  For many years, I was deathly afraid of storms and weather warnings on television. 


 43)  I was born in Fargo -at the time of the June tornado I was 16 years old. My recollections of that day are very similar to most accounts- a hot, muggy day with the sky turning a greenish gray color. News reports sent my mother and I to the basement of our home [located on 18th street North and 11th avenue just a few blocks east of the Golden Ridge area] my father watched at the back door [facing west] then joined us as we lost our radio signal and said "We're going to lose the house" the sound was just like a locomotive coming down on top of you [you NEVER forget it]. It rained briefly afterwards and my Mother and I went for a walk. There was debris covering everything- all yards and the street. Our home was spared as were the homes immediately around us. Within a block we saw a garage missing- an entire home gone with just the front steps sitting in the yard. The "round house" a switching area for trains was about two blocks from us and there were huge rail cars scattered everywhere along with buildings nearby flattened. Damage to trees was unbelievable- the streets near North Dakota Agricultural College[as it was known then]were lined with beautiful huge Elm trees that met as a canopy over the streets- ALL totally destroyed- not a single tree was standing. This event changed my life -my Father was going to retire in 1958 after I graduated from high school.Instead he retired the summer of 1957 selling our home to a couple who had lost their home in the tornado. We moved to a home on a small lake in Minnesota and I graduated from Frazee High School in a class of 28 -none of whom I knew . I never was able to keep in touch with any of my classmates from Fargo and as an only child felt very close to many of them. My family was fortunate but the tornado surely did affect our future in a very lasting way. If anyone form the class of 1958 reads this -I live in a log home on Leech Lake near Walker -my husband and I are retired.




42)  I was at the Legion Baseball game and it was very warm and humid.  We were at 8th Street North and 7th avenue. It took down large trees in the area and I believe we were just south of the eye.   We stood outside listening to the roar and when the large rain drops started to fall we went into the basement of the two story house and in a matter of minutes the tv antenna was ripped off the house next door and the small basement windows blew open. We held them shut which was difficult even though the houses were very close together. They announced it at the ball game and told everyone to get to a safe place, preferably a basement. I believe the game was being played at Jack Williams Stadium.   I was renting a room at 1023 13th Street North. The roof and north side of the house were blown away. A 2 X 4 went thru the wall and moved my pillow to the other side of the room. Good thing I wasn't taking a nap. Everything I owned was soaked but stayed in the room. It even took the cupboard doors off and left the cups and dishes on the shelves. Wierd. I will try to find the pictures.  We could only see the clouds above us due to the large trees around all of the houses. They were light to dark clouds and swirling with sporadic heavy rain.  Yes, I have a number of pictures and will get them to you.  I am thankful for the warning so we could get to a safe place. Property can be replaced.  - N. Ft. Meyers, FL

39) On the 20th of June, 1957, I had just celebrated my 6th birthday at 1909 7th Street north in Fargo.  That house, still standing, was three houses north of Barnett Field.   The neighbor boys and I used to catch home run balls over the left field fence.  On that afternoon, my mother, told my two younger sisters and I to go down to the basement.  My father was out of town, I think.  I assume she had heard about the tornado from Dewey Bergquist or neighbors.  Our picture window faced west and the sky was very dark.  I remember being disappointed on not being able to see the funnel.

Our neighbor family of four joined the four of us in the vegetable cellar, a tiny extension of the basement under the steps at the southwest corner of the house.  We felt very safe until the wind hit.  I do remember the sound of the hail hitting the picture window above us.  It was so loud that we were all convinced that the window was gone and that the hail was striking the wood floor over our heads.  I also remember that we had a small radio that announced a request for all police personnel to report to duty.  Even as a six-year-old kid I thought it funny that my neighbor said, "I didn't hear that."  He was a policeman.  I believe that he still lives there 50+ years later. 


We were able to take a short tour of the area afterward.  I only remember a two-story house without a wall.  Exposed to view was the bathtub and a picture hanging on the wall above it.  Yellow flowers on the wallpaper.

Our house was apparently well north of the worst of the storm as I don't think we had any serious damage.  No broken windows, but the siding was really dented.  That same neighbor ironically managed to build a garage largely out of the storm debris.  I have a photo of that garage, with my playing baseball with the garage as a backstop.  We put our own dents into the siding over the next several years. 

40)  It was humid and warm until the sky turned black.  I lived 1136 7th St. North and this is where I saw the tornado coming. I was in the path and it blew down the garage next door toward the avenue.  Our garage was damaged and our porch had a limb through it.  Until we headed for the basement when the wind got very strong, we observed the tornado for  about 4 or 5 minutes.  My mother heard warnings on the radio and gathered us and the dog up ready to head for the basement.  When we went outside it was like a different world.  It was totally calm with bright sun and damp air.  Very beautiful.  I saw power lines down, trees across the streets and tree branches all over.  Everything looked so green.  We had a piece of metal sliced into our tree out front.  We had leaves all over inside our house but all the screens were intact and the fireplace had a board over it.  Leaves were even in drawers.  Very strange. To my memory it was beautiful until this big black cloud stormed in.  It rotated clockwise as I remember.  Before the National Guard came in my friends and I had walked downtown Fargo to look around and see if there was any damage.  About 10:00 PM we headed home and found National Guard check points and we as kids had no ID.  They wouldn't let us go home.  Phones are out and we have no way to contact our parents.  Finally, I thought of my neighbor who was a Fargo policemen.  We went to the Police Dept. and he gave us his card and a note telling the National Guard who we were and where we lived.  We finally got home about midnight to worried parents.

41) I was between my Freshman and Sophomore years of school on that day.  I was laid up in my house that complete summer, due to a very severe Kidney infection, and will never forget that day.

It started out as a typical North Dakota summer day.  Clear skies, and it was going to be warm and muggy, which it was.  There was also no breeze at all that day.  I was in our kitchen at 1806 5TH Street north, and looked out the window, (this was approximately 1:00PM).  I saw a strange, but small cloud that looked like it was about by Hector airport.  We didn't pay much attention to it, until we looked out again about 2 hours later, and noticed the cloud had grown a bit is size, but seemed to be in the same spot.  It had turned a darker color also.  We sat in the kitchen and were able to watch it grow in size. and it appeared to have an anti clockwise movement to it.  My father came home and told us to head for the basement.  He had heard that a tornado was headed straight for Fargo.  We watched it from the Southwest window of the basement and saw the air fill with what looked like a lot of dust.  Then the hail started, which lasted about 10 minutes.  We were very lucky, because we sustained a minor amount of hail damage, and that was all.  We had no idea how bad Fargo had been hit.  My uncle who lived in Barnesville, had heard a call on the radio that anyone who could hear the broadcast that had a station wagon, please come to Fargo and act as an ambulance.  He was there in less than 1./2 hour, and took several people to the hospital.
After the tornado passed, we went and looked out our front window, and saw the funnel that had touched down going up to a cloud.  Then we noticed another funnel going from that cloud to a nearby cloud.  Almost like the funnels were holding the clouds together.  

38)  THE EVENING OF THE DEVASTATING TORNADO,hundreds of high school boys throughout North Dakota were at the annual State FFA Convention at NDAC (NDSU). At 7:oo p.m.,June 20, we were at Festival Hall for the beginning of the evening program. The air was very humid and hot. All doors to the Hall were open tp help with the stuffiness. About 7:30 p.m. the Vo-Ag Instructor and FFA Advisor from Bismarck,Cliff Nygard, rushed in and told everyone to leave the Hall as a tornado was heading our way.Some of us ran over to the old Library, went downstairs and watched the impending storm. We had no more than 5 or 10 minutes to find shelter. Luckily, no one of our group was seriously hurt or killed. I recall seeing Vo-Ag Professor Shubel Owen running towards our location when a large Garbage lid flew by just missing him. After the tornado passed through, we left the library and saw that the YMCA building located at University and 12th Ave. was severely damaged while trees were downed everywhere.Many of us spent the evening helping others calm down. One man told us he lived in a second floor apartment,looked out and saw a car fly by his window. There were no phone connections to call parents about their sons until much later. As we looked east of the college we saw many houses with their roofs blown away but otherwise intact.    ----Fargo, ND 




33) The following is paraphrased from interview with warning meteorologist the night of the Fargo F5:

I was working along on a swing shift in my 1st year in the Weather Bureau.  There were plenty of thunderstorms over the previous weeks, which likely added to moisture through the area.  The evening had the feel of thunderstorms, and I was “almost sure” there would be thunderstorms that evening.  I wrote up a severe thunderstorms statement templates once getting on shift around 4-5pm anticipating severe weather (this is great considering limited data at best for the era). We had teletype circuits connected to radio and TV stations, so they could pick up a receiver and talk directly to them.  Also had direct line to Kansas City to transmit severe weather warnings.  Air defense radar near Finley, they were not cooperative.  They would contact Fargo Wx. Bureau w/ radar reports at times, none that night.  Had some difax maps, plot 850,700,500 twice daily, BIS and STC RAOBS. Did sfc map generally every 3 hours (at least every 6 hours).

There was a line of storms approaching from west, eventually noticed what he thought was a TOR, called tower and confirmed it was a TOR near Wheatland/Mapleton and it did not last very long.  This was about 45 min before Fargo tornado. It was a small CB attached to the SW of the line. He prepared/sent the statement for the tornado, “we only had our eyeballs” and that was about all, no radar, satellite etc. “They really in a sense didn’t need anymore warning”, as you could see it coming in from the west. Called his wife in S. Moorhead and told her to get in basement.

As line approached, storm was blue/green with mesocyclone rotating rapidly and very evident above collar cloud after initial touchdown from separate storm?  Telephone began ringing off the hook.  PA showed up, Vern Hendrickson to assist with Conelrad (Civil Defense Warning System/ WDAY was primary). RAWARK to KC telling them about tornado.

Talking to Radio/TV stations live at this point about approaching tornado, cloud moving into W. Fargo , with cloud base between 2500-3000ft “low for a tornado” (low LCL heights!) Tornado dropped out of cloud, beautiful cone shaped with sharp point on ground. Point became less sharp and larger as it went through Golden Ridge area and widened to about ¾ mi wide.  Lost all communications and went outside to observe tornado. Sides of houses were seen flung around the tornado, was about 3/4mi from tornado, east of Moorhead roped out.  Tornado was initially due west of airport, then dropped south and turned east, then northeast into MN. (this lines up well w/ Fujita track) 

Many people were seen evacuating the city, and it could have been much worse had tornado tracked along crowded roads from people evacuating.

Tail cloud was observed extending 1 mile from parent wall cloud, precip occurred after tornado passed, none before and not much to south of fargo, even south fargo .  Back edge of squall line, extended quite a ways north of Fargo.  




34)  I was 5 years old and lived with my family at 714 Fifth Ave S. in Moorhead at the time of the tornado.  I had played outdoors most of the day that day and I remember it was very sticky and hot, by evening it was very still and the sky was heavy with clouds.  My pregnant mother, my two teen age sisters, my 15 month old baby brother and I were watching WDAY TV, after supper, when the entire screen went white and a loud announcer's voice stated sharply "There is a tornado. Please get into your basements!".  This was repeated several times.  My mother grabbed up my brother and shooed the rest of us through the dining room towards the basements steps.  We all stopped in front of the picture window in the dining room , which faced northwest, and stared at the sky, which appeared to be boiling black and angry bottle green.  I remember seeing birds literally thrown acroos the sky, and some hitting the ground so hard they bounced. There was a deep, loud roaring sound, which to this day I can hear in nightmares. When we were all in the basement, we heard thumpings and crashings, but the house seemed quite steady.  It seemed to happen very quickly and very slowly at the same time.  When it got quiet, our mother let us go upstairs and eventually out of the house, but not out of the yard.  I remember that the air felt damp, but much cooler.  There were leaves and branches and hailstones lying on the yards and in the streets.  Our mother talked nervously with several neighbors, waiting for my father to contact her. My father was at work.  He was the owner-operator of the Texaco service station at Eighth and Main in Moorhead.  My mother finally got into her car and drive to the station, eventually coming home with our father. He said that he had stood in the repair bay and looked southwest, watching the oncoming funnel.  He said it filled the sky and looked as if it were coming directly into downtown from the southwest behind the F-M Hotel.  He said that when the wind began to push him down, he ran inside and used a large metal table as shelter, but the storm never reached as far as Moorhead.  Later that evening, I remember hearing my eldest sister talking quietly to her boyfriend in our kitchen.  He was in the ND National Guard (I believe) and had been helping with clean up in Golden Ridge.  He was very upset and crying about seeing the bodies of children killed by the storm.  The next day our mother drove us around the edges of the damaged neighborhoods and out to the Fargo Country Club to see just how violent such a storm could be.  I remember seeing empty slabs with no homes left on them and plumbing pipes just hanging in the air with all the structural parts of the houses gone. Insulation was strewn about   everywhere and wood pieces and broken trees, along with broken furniture, clothing, toys and household items.  It looked like a war zone picture from a movie.  The barn doors were torn off out at the Country Club, a building had been moved several inches off of its foundation and a brick chimney had been toppled into the
yard.  There were many broken trees there as well.

I had nightmares for years afterwards and had a deathly fear of tornados for many years.  --- Saint Paul, MN

35)  The evening of June 20, 1957 started as a typical summer evening.  I was in the kitchen doing the supper dishes and the rest of the family was away.  From the living room came an announcer’s voice over the television set giving warnings of a tornado.  Having heard such warnings before, I gave no thought to them. A knock at the back door was heard.  It was our next door neighbor with a boquet of peonies which she wanted us to have as she thought the rain would ruin them.  I mentioned the possibility of a tornado, but she tossed it off lightly. Having finished with the dishes, I went out to the front porch and noticed how dark it had become.  Cars were going faster than usual with their lights on.  People were running down the street to reach their homes. I went out into the backyard and gazed at the sky.  Funny, yellow clouds were racing every which way.  My dad drove up and said he had seen a long black funnel in the western sky.  The neighbor moved his garbage can closer to his garage and thought, “how silly, we might get a little wind and rain, and he moves his garbage can for fear it might blow over.” By this time a slight wind had come up.  Then the leaves and dirt started to make little whirlpools of dust.  My dad and I went into the house.  “You go close the upstairs windows, and I’ll close the ones down here”, my dad said. “No, you close the ones upstairs, and I’ll close windows down here”, I replied. I got them all closed except for one which stayed open an inch.  As I started for the living room the tv and all the lights suddenly went off.  I went to close the door on the front porch and heard a mighty, deafening roar from the west.  The sky was entirely gray.  It seemed to be coming nearer and nearer.  With some effort, I managed to force the door shut.“Let’s head for the basement”, said my dad.  We reached the basement and crouched down in the southwest corner as the television announcer had advised over and over. Soon the roar was all around us.  Dirt was flying all around and my ears were popping constantly.  Now and then the tinkle of breaking glass was heard as our windows were forced in.  A sickening, yellow dust penetrated the air as I prayed that this would soon be over and we would still be safe.  I saw a yellow flash as a transformer went up in flames.  In about 5 minutes the roar subsided, and looking out of a window, I saw a pink rooftop in our backyard which I thought must surely be our neighbors house roof.  I turned out to be their garage roof. Going upstairs I was hoping that everything would be perfectly all right.  The blinds were flapping slightly in the breeze where the windows had been broken.  A lamp was tipped over on the table where the bent blind had pushed it.  Then I noticed the outside.  The trees were as bleak and barren as if it were winter.  Most had been left standing and had almost no branches remaining. My next thought was of the upstairs floor.  My dad had tried to get the door open but failing to do so, pushed hard and broke a piece off of it. We both gazed up into a clear, blue sky.  The upstairs had been entirely swept away.   A few odd items.  A clock, ironically, was heard ticking away slowly, slowly. Going out into the yard we found to say the least a terrible mess.  Hardly an inch of ground was not covered by the debris.  Wires, trees, clothes, boards, furniture, stucco, glass, nails, and toys constituted part of the destruction.  People were coming out of their houses to survey the damage caused by the fierce wind, which in a few minutes could so utterly destroy so may years’ work. The rest of the family came home from the next block where only a few garages and trees were blown over.  They couldn’t believe their eyes at the sight all around them. As if all this were not bad enough, it began to rain.  With no upstairs to protect the rest of the house, the rain cam right on through soaking everything.  We were all helpless, having nothing to cover the our furniture.  Two boys offered to run for canvas covering, which they did.  Not everything could be covered, so some things were totally soaked.  Even after the rain did stop, drops continued to fall, each one making a desolate sound. Some friends offered their homes for the night, but I was unable to sleep at all!  I lay in bed imagining what our house would look like when it was completely rebuilt.  Most of the time I worried about what our family was going to do with no place to live. Things always have a way of working out it seems.  We found a place to live where we stayed until a week before Thanksgiving.  Our home is now all new, with some lovely changes.  Just the same, I would never care to relive that! Frisco, CO 

36)  After finding your website on the Fargo tornado, I wanted to inform you that I was born about an hour before it struck.   Right after I was born, I was told that my sisters were telling everyone in the neighborhood that I was born.  After dad looked to the west, he immediately told my sisters to come back in the house and go to the basement.  We were living at 1642 9th St. N., about a mile southeast of Hector Airport .  We only suffered miner roof damage, but Shanley High School , which was just 4 blocks south of us, was totally destroyed.   Bowling Green, Ohio 

37)  My story was that I was with our mom and another sister visiting one block away on that humid night.  My dad had asked me to go to the Twins baseball game, but it was too hot for me.  Well, he still went to the game, but upon  his approach to the ballbark, he was able to visually see what was coming from the west, and chose to drive home instead.  That was where my sister picked up in her story.  As for me, I had been sent down to a small grocery store another block away from home and was fighting the heavy winds that came prior to the tornado in my ride back to where my mom was.  After many attempts to get my bicycle to stand on its kickstand with the wind blowing it over, I was yelled at at the front door to run in.  The power went out almost immediately upon my entry, and they told us to all run to the basement.  There was an apartment there and no one was home, so we had to go to the north-east corner.  We stood and watched as the winds blew and stripped trees of their leaves.  Our previous home was only three doors down, so we were watching what was happening there.  Luckily, the storm had passed to the north, so no windows or damage was done to the house we were in.  When we went out front to 13th St. (now Univ Dr) it was apparent that up towards our home the street was blocked with debris.  Moments later, my dad and sister came to tell us of the destruction to our home and neighborhood.  What a shock to go home climbing over all the debris of people's belongings and tree limbs and wires and see our home.  As we were standing the in complete shock, crying, and wondering what to do next, the rains came, dropping inches of water, ruining everything that had been left behind by the tornado.
As a paperboy for the Fargo Forum, I was more shocked as I delivered only days later on a route that was just north and east of where we lived.  Homes were completely gone.  Where I threw their newspaper to the front steps days before were now stairways that dropped to the open basements.  I saw my sisters prom dresses that they had worn just weeks prior hanging in a tree two blocks east of our house.  A lady recognized our family photo that had been transported to Hawley, 15-20 miles East of Fargo by the winds.  The photo was twelve years old, but she recognized our father as a worker she had seen at the postal window of the Fargo Post Office.  She delivered it to him.  We lost most of our family photo albums so this photo was indeed precious and remains such.  Of the four siblings, my baby album was the only one that survived, and it was found in the walls behind the wall plaster when the house was repaired.  It is dirty, torn, and water-stained, minus the cover.  A grim reminder of the storm that hit back in '57 that I still take out and look at every so often.


1) "I was 16 years old and observed the tornado from my car on hiway 52 near Sabin, MN. I heard the warning from KFGO radio from Fargo.  My main recollection was listening to the radio announcer ( I do not recall who it was ).  He stated in a very shaky voice that "a large tornado is heading directly for Fargo and is expected to do considerable damage."   He knew he was directly in harm's way, yet he stayed at the microphone as the storm blew through.  I later did observe the devastation with groups of houses in north Fargo that were completely leveled."     ---Excelsior, MN 



2)  "I was 6 almost 7 years old and living in Fargo at the time. My family lived at 1505 9th St. N. I remember the day very well. I recall the heavy, hot, still air. My mother told my sister and I to stay in the yard because there were reports of bad weather on the way. I don't recall the term tornado being used by her but I do remember she was seemed very concerned.  We were called in the house to take a bath early that evening. I can still feel my mom grabbing my wet, slippery arm and swooping me up and literally throwing us down the basment steps! The freight train sound scenerio is very true. I can still hear that sound. There was a smell that I can recall that I seem to remember as sulphur-like. My mom made us root beer floats in the basement in the dark to try and keep us calm! We were taking care of a neighbors dog and I recall that she would not come out from under the bed in the basement. Then there was an incredible stillness. Total silence. Very dark.  The next thing that I recall is the torrential rain and going from neighbor to neighbor to check on their safety. I remember a house near the old Shanley High School that was gone but for the basement and a beautiful baby grand piano floating in it. People were walking around as if in shock. The National Guard eventually came. They stopped everyone from entering our neighborhood unless they had proper I.D. We had no electricity for days. We removed debris from trees for weeks. Our home lost windows and had some roof damage but really no substantial damage.We were not physically hurt. We were very lucky. Many homes around us were badly damaged.  At that time they would broadcast names of those missing or injured. Ours was a name on the "not accounted for" list. My Dad and my grandparents both heard that report. Of course there was no phone service so a simple call stating that we were fine was impossible.  My dad traveled for a living and was in Minot, ND at the time. My grandparents lived in Climax, MN. Sometime during that night they all arrived at our home.  I am 54 years old now and summer storms still remind me of that night. Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts about that very frightening time."    ---Leech Lake near Walker, Minnesota 



3)  "I was a young child of 5 at the time.  We lived at 205 22nd Ave. N. Fgo. I remember being across the street playing with a friend and my parents and several other parents gathered and we looked at the sky to the west.  I had never witnessed a tornado, and remember being very impressed with the cloudand the dark sky.  It seemed that the tornado was heading for our part of Fgo. so my father decided that we would drive away from the area.  There were 4 children in my family at the time, and my pregnant mother and dad in the car.  We ended up driving right into the path of the storm as it changed it's course, and my father was attempting to outrun and get behind the tornado.  We were driving along 12th Ave. N. to the west of NDSU, and as it was entering the Golden Ridge area my father drove along a gravel road at a high rate of speed.  As we drove along my mother was laying down on the seat covering one of my brothers and crying.  The rest of us kids were on the floor boards of the car in the back seat covering our heads as the hail broke out all our car windows and the car was hit with flying debris.  We all had glass in our hair, but other than that noone was hurt.  I'll never forget my father saying over and over "I'm sorry - I'm sorry". As we continued to drive the sky turned green and we witnessed flying debris in the distance.  I remember seeing how different the funnel cloud looked at that point, and was amazed to see a chair in the air. We travelled along gravel roads to get to south Fargo where we stayed overnight with family friends as our part of town was without electricity. My father took the car and needed to get to my grandmother's house on 2nd St. N. just to the south of the Elzagel (spelling?) golf course.  Our grandfather was out of town on business, and she was home alone.  He drove part of the way and walked several miles avoiding downed power lines and debris.  Grandma had been on the back porch shelling peas, which faced east, and was unaware of the storm.  She managed to get into the basement and was not injured.  The entire top of the two story house was gone, and the glass sunporch right by where grandma had been sitting was smashed in the neighbor's yard. It was dark by this time, and they decided that it was safer to stay right where they were in the house overnight.  There was no way for him to call us, and we did not see him until the next morning when it got light.  He walked back to the car and returned to south Fargo where we were staying. Later in the day we returned home. His brother lived on the other side of the same golf course on the avenue and his family of 3 children and my aunt went to their basement.  Their house sustained some damage. When they went back upstairs my uncle ventured outside and found the body of a young child.  I am not sure if this was by his house, or on his way across the golf course area to get to my grandmother's house. I do not have any pictures to submit, but even though I was a young child I had a "very upclose and personal" view of this F5 tornado.  Most people took santuary in basements and did not get to witness the fury.  To this day when there is a tornado warning I go to my basement - I don't care to witness anything like this again in my lifetime."    ---Devils Lake, ND  



4)  These are my personal memories and at 91 years of age, they might not be too accurate! I was Station Supervisor at the Thief River Falls Minnesota State Highway Patrol Radio station.  For some reason that I don't remember, except that we were short handed, I was handling the 4:p.m. to 2:a.m. dispatching shift.  The M.H.P.  repeater station at Hawley, MN went off the air.  After the “dispatching shift” ended, I drove to the repeater station and repaired it, putting it back on the air. After a “short night” of rest, I reported back to the M.H.P. radio dispatch room and learned that Fargo had an emergency and the Hawley repeater was one of its few contacts with the outside world.  I located two emergency power generators, got my #2 man, Raymond Bergquist, and we drrove down to Fargo to see how we could help.  The Fargo Police Dept. decided that we could help by running the Police Dispatch portion of the communications. which we did, both of us at times and one while the other rested.  We were not familiar with their protocol so most of our “dispatches” were put out blind.  The Officers were VERY cooperative and answered the blind call if they were in the vicinity of the problem.  It was a pleasure to work with them! We did not get a chance to view the damage until Sunday afternoon when I believe it was the Chief of Police who asked Ray & I if we'd seen the damage and offered us a ride with him through the area.  IT WAS UNIMAGINEABLE!!.  The City of Fargo treated us well.  We slept in the fire station and they fed us well.  WE WERE GLAD TO HELP AND GLAD IT WASN'T US!  --- Mesa, Arizona 




5)   I read the article in "The Forum" this AM [02 July 2006] and am sending my recollections of that tornado. I was nine at the time. We were living on 12th Street near 8th Avenue North. It had been very hot and oppressively humid all day and I couldn't settle down. [I still don't take the heat and humidity very well.] I had helped paint our backyard picket fence white that day and the paint wasn't drying. The fence was suppose to keep the dog in - it didn't. That evening, we watched the sky to the west get blacker and blacker. We kept going to the corner and looking west. I was too antsy to stay in the house with my mother who doesn't like heat and humidity either. Just before the tornado hit, my father was at the corner. He yelled, "Here it comes!" and ran back. A huge cloud of dust blew down 8th Avenue toward the Fargo Clinic. I never saw it cross the intersection, but cause I turned and ran. We sat in the southwest corner of the basement by a pair of wall-hung, zinc sinks. I was crying because I didn't want our house to blow away. My mother lightened the situation by saying we were renters and it wasn't our house! Our labrador puppy insisted on going up the basement stairs and my father had to pull her back and hold on to her. I stopped crying at some point and just watched out the south-facing basement window. Our car was bouncing up and down in place. Two yards over our neighbors had young trees about 2" in diameter in their backyard. They were kept flat to the ground by the wind. The sound was like a steam locomotive. That is a very accurate description of the chuffing noise. We though the tornado was going right down 8th Avenue. However, it didn't come our way, but turned north several block to our west. A short time after we left the basement, you could see the tail of the twister going back up into the clouds to the northeast. It was a medium gray and not black at all like the cloud was. When we left the basement, water was dripping off of everything. No birds were singing. Neighbors were talking and walking around their yards looking for damage. No traffic yet. Streets and yards were covered with leaves, stick and limbs. Our TV antenna had blown down and we lost some shingles. I think one porch window had broken on the north side, but we had no structural damage. Later, I found a dove on the front step, it was soaked and didn't fly away very well when I tried to pick it up sometime later. Amazingly, our picket fence, though covered with dirt, twigs and leaves was brushed off and looked better than you would think. My mother was a nurse at St. Luke's so Dad and I drove her the six blocks over there shortly after we left the basement. I don't think anyone called because lines were down, she just knew she had to go in. It took a while because of the debris. We got to drive on the wrong side of the road alot. No one stopped us driving over, but the police stopped several times on the way home. They were trying to keep the sightseers away. It was a very short time before the first cars came up to see the damage. I remember a steady stream of cars going up and down 13th Street which is now one-way University Drive. The cars were there the next day as well. I knew I had to walk around our block so I could remember what happened. One thing I remember is the smell. It was very, very sweet from all of the broken tree branches. I was careful to watch for downed power lines and dangling branches. I had to detour into yards and out into the street because of those. [Looking back, that wasn't the smartest thing to do.] It took me a long time to go around our small block. We didn't have a portable radio so while Dad started to cleaned up the yard, I sat on the neighbor's porch listening to theirs. They had some leftover birthday cake from a party earlier in the day and they gave me some. I don't remember what kind of cake it was [probably not chocolate, I would have remembered], but it was frosted. One interesting incident happened on the next block north. A car parked facing north was somehow pulled forward and backed into a driveway facing west. It blocked the sidewalk, but was, otherwise, not a bad job of parking by the tornado.  ---Fargo,ND

6) I read the article about the 1957 Fargo tornado in the July 3, 2006 Grand Forks Herald. The article stated you were interested in stories and recollections from the evening of June 20, 1957.  I was 18 years of age living on a farm located 1 1/2 miles North of Bonanzaville located near West Fargo ND.  The farmstead is next to old highway 10.  June 20, 1957 was a hot and sultry day.  During the early evening a storm began brewing.  We were watching the weather outside and saw a very large storm cloud rolling along the ground across the alfalfa field just North of the farm buildings.  The wind came up and took a few leaves off the trees.  I went to the basement of our home for cover.  The dark cloud, which was huge, kept rolling along the ground.  The wind had subsided so we watched the cloud outside and as it traveled towards Fargo the cloud lifted up into the air and then took a nose dive down and destroyed everything in its path.  The farmstead is 9 miles West of Fargo.  It was later in the evening when we heard about the damage.  It is an experience I have never forgotten and when the siren blows in our city I head for the basement.  If we have a hot muggy day I'm on the lookout for a storm.   ---Grand Forks, ND

7)  Dave, it is fascinating to read the other accounts of that momentous day.  As I said, I do recall it as a hot, humid, but clear day.  I was 10 at the time and lived at 1130 13th St North, (now called University Drive.) At about 4 or so it started getting cloudy and by 5PM I believe WDAY television was giving storm warnings.  The sky continued to darken, and the air was oppressive, but still there was a hint of a breeze.  Mom sent me out to get the clothes off of the line, and as I looked at the sky, it was a sick greenish almost yellowish black color, and I recall the clouds roiling or sort of boiling.  That's the best description I can come up with.  Also, the air became dead still.  I took the clothes basket into the house.  We had eaten dinner, so we just watched out the west facing windows in our dining room.  My mother was quite anxious, but dad kept us all calm.  The TV stayed on until  it blanked out.  My dad and brother discussed the train sound, but my mom and I did not hear it.  We always thought that the air pressure sucked out our ability to hear.  My dad and brother did hear it, and we headed for the basement. We knelt against the west wall.  I had my little sister in my arms, my dad was holding my baby sister, as we prayed!  I remember him taking peeks out the window and he saw the garage lifted right off the car, and slammed down in front of the window.  We heard wind, banging, glass breaking, a cacaphony of noise for what seemed like 3-5 minutes.  Then it went silent and after a period of time deemed safe by dad, we ventured upstairs.  The house was in complete dissarray.  Windows broken, the clothes that I had taken off the line (and other people's clothes according to mom,) were strewn everywhere. then we looked across the street 2 large houses were totally leveled.  Trees were down, electrical wires were sparking, it was dead still.  Nick, my brother, and I went upstairs to the 2nd floor.  We saw the sky above us as the roof was gone.  Everything was topsy turvy.  Then the rains came. My parents owned a large house just south of us down the block which had apartments rented to married NDSU students and their families.  It was 75 years old at the time, so dad and mom were really concerned about the tenants.  I will never forget the sight of dad jumping over  downed trees and live power lines to run down to see what he thought would be complete chaos.  Fortunately everyone in the apartment house was fine, and the old monster was knocked off it's foundation, but wasn't nearly as damaged as our home.  In fact we lived in one of the hot little apartments for a time while our house was getting rebuilt. I know that the national guard was immediately called in.  Until they were on the scene a couple of days after, my dad and brothers stayed on to guard the house, because there were stories of looting going on.  The torrential downpour that came on the tail of the tornado ruined everything that would have been remotely salvageable. I remember the Red Cross being on the scene, in fact I think we were furnished with meals from them more than once.  Needless to say, us kids had to stay away from the damage.  But, stupid me, had to go pick my way through some debris and ended up with a tetanous shot for stepping on a rusty nail - the major childhood malady at the time.  Stepping on a rusty nail was every kid's claim to fame that summer. To this day, when I see warnings on Television I take them seriously as I recall that day in 1957.  But in all the years since then, I have never seen a sky or the cloud phenomena that I saw that night in the back yard.

8)  The Summer of 1957 was a very busy one for our family. We spent all spring and the beginning of summer making improvements on our house and yard. However, we had not bothered to increase our insurance coverage by June 10 of 1957. After that tragic day, we spent the rest of the summer doing the same work and making the same improvements all over again. We were trying to repair the damage done by the tornado that struck Fargo, North Dakota. During the period of confusion and hardship following the tornado, many organizations and individuals came to our aid with food, money, shelter and clothing. I shall always be deeply grateful to the many people who helped us to struggle through those first trying days after the storm.  June 20 began as a typical summer day. However, by late afternoon the weather had become very still and oppressive; and the sky was filled with ominous, milky-green clouds. Tornado warnings were broadcast on the radio, but no one was alarmed. We had the mistaken idea that tornadoes occurred only in the southern states. Suddenly, the local radio announcer informed us that the funnel had touched ground less than a mile away from our home. It was not until then that we began thinking seriously of the possibility of a tornado occurring. We rushed to the basement and watched the approach of the storm. Bringing winds later estimated at six hundred miles per hour, the tornado snapped off trees as if they were match sticks. We could see all of our yard trees thumping to the ground, but we could near nothing except the roar of the wind. The storm increased in intensity, and we sought more protection from the wind. Finally, we crowded into an empty coal bin and stayed there during the remainder of the storm. As the tornado reached its peak of strength, we fell down on our knees and prayed to God for mercy, for we were convinced that the entire house was about to collapse. Sections of the basement wall popped out and struck us. Finally, the wind subsided. The funnel had taken only seven minutes to pass over our house, although that time seemed like an eternity to us. We hurried outside to check on the outcome of our neighbors. The man next door, whose wife was away on that day saved his two children by placing the baby inside his shorts, and protecting the older child in his arms during the storm. The lady across the street was caught outside when the tornado struck and she spent three years in the hospital. She is now home; she was paralyzed for life. Of course, the most tragic circumstance was at the home in which all of the children in a large family, except one, were killed. Most of the people in the city who were affected by the tornado began the task of removing tornado debris from their homes immediately. However, everyone's efforts were hampered by a fierce thunderstorm which followed the tornado and poured three inches of rain on our city. We used shovels and rakes to clear the debris from our floors, including the new front-room carpet. We shook the pieces of metal and broken glass from our beds, but it was nevertheless impossible to sleep at night. Our skin had been cut by flying pieces of glass and these cuts were further irritated by the presence of chemical fertilizer on everything, including ourselves. The fertilizer had been carried by the storm from a warehouse about three blocks away from our home. We were without electricity and running water for three weeks and we could not even leave the neighborhood for several days. Our car was badly damaged and the streets were blocked by fallen trees. We could not even walk around because live power lines were lying all over on the ground. Every night we were disturbed by search lights, policemen, looters and the sounds of bulldozers, sirens and chain saws. Armed servicemen were stationed at every street corner to protect our property from intruders.   ---Vernon, Arizona

9) Our house was located at 1333 - 10th Avenue North, Fargo, N.D. The sky was pea-soup green and it was very humid.  Mom ordered us to the basement and we said “Mom, a tornado can’t hit in the middle of town”.   We saw the roof of the neighbors house lift off and their big TV was in the air above the house.  We lived off 13th St north of NDSU. We were exactly in the eye of the storm.  The side of the house would lift off the foundation (by then we were all crowded into the coal bin) and huge balls of fire would bounce along the ground as the power lines came down.  It sounded like we were under a freight train.  When it quieted down we started to go upstairs and that’s when it really hit—the other side of the eye of the storm.  All the big elm trees were broken off about roof high and the bark fell off.  We hauled 46 big farm truck loads of trash out of our yard.  Some quiet, bearded Mennonite men from Canada appeared with their 2-man saws and cleaned up the downed trees.  We were the only people on our block who stayed in their house.  That little old house was strong as it had been added onto several times.  People would just walk in  and observe us like we were in a zoo.  The only thing that still worked was the telephone and the phone company took it out (and later charged us to re-connect) to “save it from being looted”. Our boyfriends helped us to clean up.  Roy Jacobson had a 49 Studebaker convertible and the police stopped us one day for joyriding and my sister and I both stood up in the car and started telling them we lived here and how hard we’d all been working.  Mickey Kramer had lost his license and the police picked him up for driving and Mom went to Court and told the judge that she was the Mother of 6 girls and Mickey had been helping us.  That appeared in the Fargo Forum and the judge just dismissed any charges.  Mickey kept in touch with Mom and Dad until the end of their lives.  His 49 Ford had been badly damaged in front of our house, too. We cleaned up our beds as best we could (it rained a huge amount immediately after the storm).  We were too poor to go to a motel and we all continued to go to our jobs the entire period after the storm.  We walked over to our friends near Shanley and there was a car up in a tree and it was on fire and the fireman were trying to put out the fire.  We thought that was odd since it appeared the entire town  was destroyed.  The saddest picture was of the Martin family funeral—7 of their 8 children had been killed.  They lived a few blocks from us and the Mom worked nights and the Dad drove truck in the daytime—the kids were only alone for 30 min. but that is when the tornado hit.  The caskets were lined up all down the center aisle at St. Mary’s.  That fall we started school at Shanely and there was no roof—just gorgeous sky above our classrooms.   ---Hastings, NB

10) #1.)  Regarding the temp. and humidity that day – I do recall horrific humidity, but I have no specific recall of how warm it was. #2.)   We were at our home at 1333 10th Avenue North before and during it. #3.)   As far as I know, our address puts us right in its direct path – I believe our neighborhood was as severely damaged as any in the city. #4.)   We never saw the tornado at all, we were listening to the radio, and were advised the tornado had touched down very close by, and our family went to the basement where we all huddled together in the empty coal bin.  A tree fell right beside the house and broke a small hole in the window of the coal bin (which was made of glass with chicken wire in it).  The wind kept shattering the window and bits of glass flew at us the entire time.  I can remember my dad standing there with his hands up on the rafters over his head feeling the house sway, saying to us “its going to go.”  The tremendous howling of that freight train sounding wind will never be forgotten. #5.)  We knew the tornado was coming, because of the warnings being issued by our local radio station – but in those days no one really thought a tornado would or could hit North Dakota.  We believed they only hit in Kansas or Oklahoma. #6.)  Damage!  I will never forget what we saw!  Our cement step, which must have weighed several ton was moved several feet.  We had a concrete culvert laying in our living room!  All of our trees had been snapped off.  Our boat which had been hanging up in the rafters above the car was hanging on one of the snapped off trees with a hole all the way through it, our garage was laying on its side – collapsed.  The houses in our neighborhood all remained standing, but the ones on both sides of ours were considered to be damaged 100%, and ours was considered to be 75% damaged.  Because we stored the winter storm windows in the basement, we were able to put them on, as nearly all of our windows had blown out.  There were “live” downed power lines everywhere, so walking anywhere outside was treacherous.   The amount of debris everywhere was absolutely unbelievable – I think all of us were truly in shock for the next several days as we began our clean-up. #7.)  Since we never actually saw the tornado, I can only describe the boiling pea green clouds that we saw, and to this day, I know when I need to be concerned about that particular ominous sky color. ---Denver, Colorado


 11)  I lived in Fargo, our house was entirely destroyed by the tornado.  I was 4 1/2 years old, but vividly remember the storm.  My father, Laurence Melanson, drove us out of town at the last minute.  He was also a freind of the TV weatheman, and has stories from him.  My father was an engineering professor at NDAC, and did some work for local radio stations.  I will have him send you more details.  My family has pictures, and my brother in law will send you some.  Our house was at 1257 9th Street North.  Near Shanley high school.  We watched from our garage for maybe an hour before it struck.  I think we listened to the warnings on radio.  It became very cold when hail hit.  We needed coats to watch.  My father loaded us into the car, a drove faster than I thought was possible in the rain.  I think the tornado was within a few minutes of striking use.  We made a short loop, and returned to  complete destruction.  The house was turned on the foundation. The pictures will show the damage.  Things I remember are the china unharmed, my father pulling off a piece of wallboard and every stud split in half at the same height.  There were spliteres of wood throught walls. There was at least some issue of looters.  My father stayed at the site with his gun to protect our possesions. My mother, until the day she died, was deadly afraid of any wind. There was no information on the radio that he remembers.  He had turned on the TV, doesn't remember any specific warning.  He saw the cloud to the west for about an hour.  He remembers a lot of hail right before.  We left just before it hit, drove to the airport (north), turned around, and returned.  We had a basement, but it would not have been survivable.  My father says there was a debate about whether or not houses need basements, quite a few of the dead were from part of town that didn't have basements.  He's a believer in basements, but ours wouldn't have survived. "It looked to be going north of us, then turned, and looked to be going south of us.  Then the north side was going north of us, and the south side south, so I decided to run." The streets were still passable, "and the old Plymouth made a pretty good plow." We were able to drive back to 9th street. my father's friend was Dewey Berquist, who was the weatherman at a TV station.  WDAY?  He was just south of the path of the tornado, and taking pictures with a 4X5 (probably a speed graphic). The aerial picture in the forum had our house in the center.  ---Austin, TX, and Estes Park, Colorado


12) My wife attending a baseball game that day in Fargo.  The announcer at the game warned all to seek shelter immediately.  If they could make it to their destination, otherwise go to the dugout. She got home just as the tornado hit. Her father was with the Konan cab company and was stranded at Hector field.  Took many hours to get home to their place on the corner of 4th avenue and 12th street because of tornado damage and security.  Their home sustained some damage, but she, her mother and a girl friend survived in the basement.  ---

13) I saw the tornado as it happened on June 20 1957.  I lived at 438 15th Ave S in south Fargo.  I was there while the tornado ripped through north Fargo.  Here are the things I remember. I was 10 at the time but remember it very vividly. We heard the weather alerts on TV and headed for the basement.  There was myself, my brother, mother and an aunt and two cousins there for supper. The aunt and two cousins lived on the north side of town. When nothing immediate happened to us, we all came upstairs and stood outside our back door and watched the weather.  Even though we were several miles away on the south side of town, we could see the tornado cloud and funnel.  It was a huge dark cloud tapering down as it approached the ground.  We could only see what was above the tree line but we could tell it had to be huge. The sky was the weird yellow green color.  the temperature was hot. It was humid.  It was dead calm.  The clouds above us were the pillow type which we all associate with tornadoes. There were also black rotating clouds.  I saw at least 6 small rope funnels come out of the clouds above us.  They would descend a little ways and then go back up.  None of them came even close to the ground. The aunt that was with us lived in an apartment on 10th St and 12th Ave North (approximate address). She was concerned about her house (it was a house converted to apartments.  My grandfather came and took her home leaving the two cousins with us.  According to their account, the house roof was undamaged but one outside wall facing the oncoming track of the tornado was pushed in 4 feet.  My grandfather pushed the wall back to nearly vertical.  When I went over to see the damage, their house looked ok.  the house next door had a 2x4 sticking out of it on the second story.  I remember reading later that the tornado had lifted up off the ground by the time it got to 13th street which is what spared the houses from serious damage in that area. 15 years later, I lived in an apartment house at 13th St (University Ave by that time)and 12th Ave. The houses on either side of mine had lost their roofs in the tornado. One had rebuilt, the other had just made the house a single story. We went and saw the damage in the Golden Ridge area the next day.  It was incredible.  There was not a house standing.  The thing I remember most was a house with only the foundation remaining.  There was no debris in the yard. There was no debris in the basement.  It was like a vacumn cleaner had sucked everything away.            ---Eagan, Mn

14) I was 5 years old when the tornado hit. We lived on the block of what is now the Mexican Village parking lot.  I remember the cops driving down the  street using their cars to warn people.  I remember hearing them say over thier speakers, there is a tornado get in your basements.  The air was very heavy that day, very muggy, and I remember the sky turned that ishy pea green.  We only had some shingles gone from our house, but I can remember that was the night tv stayed on all night long. My dad worked at the Forum, he was a pressman.  He had a morning paper route and there was not a house left on it. My aunt and uncle lived in Golden Ridge and their house didn't have a basement.  My dad and I got to go with my uncle into the area. It was secured off by national guard troops. You could see where all the rooms in the house were by the different kinds of flooring. All they ever found of their belongings was a ringer to her washing machine and a purse with nothing in it. I could not read, but I remember all the pictures in the paper. I remember the 6 children who died and their caskets all lined up in a row. They were white.  They went from larger to smaller all in a row.  I remember seeing the picture that won a prize of the man carrying out one of the children.  I remember seeing a piece of straw sticking out of a board. There used to be a store in Fargo called the Shoppers Corner, it was located on the southwest corner of 7th ave and university north. They opened this building up so people could bring donations of any thing, I remember mostly clothing.  Here victims of the tornado could come and find clothes.  I was to little to know if they had to pay any thing for this. I remember seeing the west wall of Shanley High with this big hole in it.  I heard the bricks came down near Detroit Lakes, MN. About where the Bison Turf is was a resturant that I heard the story the roof came off and a washer and dryer were set down without a scratch. It was devastating to be so young and to drive around town and see all the damages.  The church on the corner of 10th street and 12 ave north.  It had damage and homes in that area too. My mom had saved some of those papers from that day and I had gotten to read them when I was older.  My aunt lived on the same block as the 6 children who died.  My uncle was not in town, being a salesman. He had the car so my aunt and her kids got in a car with some neighbors and tried to get the children to come with.  She told us they said their mom always told them to stay in the house when there was bad weather, and that is where they were.  If I remember correctly  they were talking to thier mom on the phone when the house went up.  She worked downtown Fargo. I can remember how the people of Fargo lived in fear of bad weather for a while after that.  When the skies got dark we all stuck pretty close to home. Hardly any of the homes in that area had basements.  My aunt and uncle did rebuild on the same spot and this house had a basement. I know there are people in the area who have far more interesting stories.  Some were published here not to long ago, but this is what I remember.  I know we were not so close but I do remember the noise from the storm was horrible too, even in our basement so far away.   

15) An article in the Star Tribune dated July 3, 2006 provided information on the Fargo 1957 F5 tornado.  This article asked for memories of this storm. I will provide you with my memory of that event.  My sixteenth birthday was  June 20, 1957.   To celebrate this special occasion of having my  16th birthday ,  my parents had promised me that I could take some friends in our family car to Pebble Beach in Fergus Falls, MN .  Since we had only one car and since I had a new drivers license, this was a big thrill.  I was about to pick up my friends when my parents told me I must  wait as there were  looming clouds that appeared ominous.   I was not only disappointed.  I was also peeved at my parents for being so adamant.  My parents took me outside to show me  the storm a brewing.  We saw a huge black cloud rolling and rolling in the western sky as we looked toward the west of  Rothsay, which is located about 35 miles south of Fargo . Even I could see that this was no ordinary black cloud.  I can still envision  this enormous black rolling cloud as it  extended horizontally from one end of the horizon to the  other end of the horizon ( at least as far as the eye could see),  northwesterly to southeasterly.  As the storm developed my parents told me that the swimming party was off for certain.     I watched this cloud with anxiety, not that I was afraid of the cloud but that I wanted the cloud  to be gone so I could convince my parents that the party could proceed.  This black cloud rolled and rolled for several hours.  It seemed to go on and on.  We watched from our alley and from a nearby street so we  had a clear view of it.  Eventually, I  began to recognize the frightful nature of this pending storm and gave up on my endeavors to go swimming.  Eventually, my parents and I went to our dirt cellar for protection as it seemed likely  that we could be in the path of the storm as little tails began to appear and descend from the cloud. After we ascended from the cellar and when the static allowed, we listened to the radio and heard about the devastation the storm brought to Fargo and West Fargo .  In the next day or two we saw pictures in the newspaper of the devastation and when it was allowed  we drove through the destroyed area and saw many aspects of the destruction including a house ripped  in half, allowing us to see into the bathroom and the kitchen of one house, with bathroom fixtures still in place. Finally, I  had gratitude that my parents deprived me of the privilege of taking the car on my 16th birthday for a swimming party.

16) I was a NDSU college student (sophomore) at the time of the Fargo 1957 Tornado.  My younger sister, a cousin and I had summer jobs in Fargo that summer. We were quite religious in those days. My sister, cousin and I had walked over to St. Mary's for a Feast Day mass so we were in the church when the storm struck.  It was pretty scary, but we felt safe.  Someone came out and asked the priest to pray for those injured and killed in the storm.  We were in shock. We hurried back to our rented room to find our girls friends who lived in the same house all shook up.  There was no serious damage to our house, but many trees down and damage to roof's.  We walked around a little, but did not venture very far that evening. My parents, lived on a farm near Wyndmere and my cousins, Dad were very anxious about us and since they could not reach us by phone drove up to Fargo that night to check on us.  I could not sleep so I had baked a pie so we enjoyed fresh pie and coffee before they drove back..   I'm sure they were very relieved that we were safe. I worked at the airport in an office so I wasn't able to go back to work for a number of days.  I'm not sure when we walked up to the college and took pictures, but I'm sure it was a couple of days after it happened.  I remember walking over to Shanley and seeing the damage at that high school.            ---Paynesville, MN

17)  49 years ago I was a surgery resident at St Lukes Hospital in Fargo. I was working in the emergency room when the very first tornado victims arrived. In no time chaos prevailed. The main power source was out and  the emergency generated power was very limited. Patients had to be carried up stairs to the OR or to patient floors. A call was made via radio for all medical personnel to get to the hospital stat. This was difficult because many streets were blocked. One of the first cases I took care of in the ER was a stretcher shared by two boys. One had a tree  branch impaled in his chest and the other was having a seizure. I understand the second boy survived after having an emergency craniotomy that nite. Many operations were performed that nite and the following two days. Being a surgery resident most of my time was spent in surgery. The cafeteria was used as a triage center. Mattresses from the nursing students were placed on the tables and wounds were sutured. fractures set etc. All the time I was working I was concerned for my wife and children. They were at my in laws' cabin at Detroit Lakes. Some time during the nite I received word that they were OK. I recall that 150 patients were admitted to the hospital that nite. Recent surgicals and OB patients and any others not very sick were discharged to make room. For many days patients would wander into the ER with minor injuries. One man came in with a fractured pelvis. He said he did not want to interfere with the seriously injured patients. June 30 was the last day of my surgical residency. I was scheduled to go into the US Navy the middle of July.   ---Park Rapids,MN

18)  I was in the tornado that day.  I was 3 years old and can remember watching tv when it was interrupted.   My grandmother, Ceil Marquart, my mother, Ceil Ann Resvick, my brother Mike, and I were at home.  My grandmother was watching the weather outside seeing through the back door and she watched the tornado come toward the house.  She even lifted me up so I could see the tornado!   Very calmly she took us downstairs in the basement and we hid under a bed.  My mother stated my brother tried to get out, but she held him tight.  I don't recall any sounds but afterwards part of the stairs were gone and the house a mess.  The neighbors house looked like it wasn't hit a bit! We lived at 906 14th St North  and the backyard was overlooking a slough.  It certainly was a big tornado to me.   ---Mounds View, Mn

19) I was employed by Northwestern Bell Telephone Co.  On the day of the tornado, I was assigned to do routine maintenance work on the telephone switching system (PABX) for a meat packing plant which was located to the north of West Fargo.  This work was to be done during the evening hours to avoid disruption of service. Shortly after I started work, an office cleaning lady called my attention to the dark cloud in the sky.  As I stepped out of the East side of the building, I observed a black cloud wall passing over the building.  The edge wall of the cloud was extremely well defined, as though it had been sliced by a knife. As I recall, the tornado first touched down just east of the packing plant building in the vicinity of some hay shelter structures and smashed things up pretty well. Following that, it was too dark to see the funnel itself, but the blue flashes erupting from the downed power lines outlined the path as being almost directly toward the East. My memories of the moments after the storm passed are hazy, but they involve trying to reach my wife and family in north Moorhead.  Finding them well and safe, I returned to the downtown office of the telephone company and worked straight through for many hours along with many others trying to restore service.   ---Vancouver, WA 

 20) On June 20, 1957, I was eight years old.  My family lived at 1522 7th Street North.  It had been a warm and humid day very much the same as the day before, however, it ended very differently.  My dad was out of town at a convention.  My mother had not let me go to the pool again that day because she was aware of the possibility of a storm.  She had had the radio on during the day but I did not listen to what they were saying about the weather.   We had played in the yard all day and dinner had been a little earlier than usual.  My younger brother and sisters had taken their baths.  I would say it was about 6:30 when I was told to come in from the porch to take mine.  I remember the sky was a gray green color and it just felt different outside.  Shortly after I got in the tub, my mother came into the bathroom and said to get to the basement quickly.  She threw a towel over my back as I trying to pull my pajama bottoms on.  I was hoping throw the dining room on one foot because I could not get one leg into my pajamas.  I reached the basement stairs as I got my top on.  I went down the first three stairs, turned to continue down the rest of the way as I became aware of a loud, roaring sound.  It sounded like a freight train was coming into the house.  The next thing I knew I was standing in the basement looking up at my mother and baby sister.  I had not touched any of the stairs, yet I was standing in the basement.  I’m still not sure what happened.  My mother came down the stairs very fast and we went over to sit down on a blanket with my brother and sister.  We just kind of huddled together and my mother very calmly kept reassuring her four frightened children.  Whether the tornado went right over our house is not clear to me but it had to be very close.  It was very noisy and black outside.  You could hear things hit the house.  The whole thing did not last long, than it was still and quiet.  Once upstairs, we looked out the windows to see what had happened.  Our yard was covered in debris and we could see the neighbors were starting to check their homes for damage.  Our house had one window broken and some shingles were bent up.  We were lucky.  Since the phones did not work we had no way of knowing if my aunt and cousin were alright.  Since my uncle was also out of town my mother decided we needed to check on them. My mother pushed the three younger children in the buggy and I walked along side toward NDSU.  There were a lot of damaged and destroyed homes as we made our way toward my aunt’s house.  Lots of trees and power lines were down and other debris that we had to go around so what was normally a short walk took a while.  They were both fine and grateful to see us.  The next day I rode my bike all over looking at the damage.  I remember the only thing left of a classmate’s house was her bed with a stuffed animal on it.  My school which I had always called Big Ben was also damaged.  Today, I believe it is Ben Franklin Middle School .  The aftermath of the tornado remains very vivid:  trees with the leaves blown off or that had been knocked down on the ground, car turned over, homes that were completely gone, and all the other debris scattered around.   My dad and uncle both had to show ID’s to get back into Fargo . To this day, I pay close attention to the weather and go to the basement when there are tornado warnings issued.  --- Lacrosse, WI 




 21) In regards to your story in Fargo Forum on Sunday about tornado of June 20, 1957. I am the mother of the 6 children who lost their life in 1957.  That night was my 36 birthday and they were planning a little surprise party. The fellow to relieve me was 1/2hr late as the first night I asked off from my job. I was speaking with my 16 year old daughter when the phone went dead.  We did not have a basement in our house, and it was totally destroyed in the golden ridge area. You see, every birthday and each and every Christmas are hard on me.  I am now 85 years old. My son that survived was baby sitting down the street for 4 little children and was saved.  Thank god for that.  I had one left. Every Memorial Day we come home to take care of the children’s graves in Moorhead .  In 1965, Leroy my surviving son married Connie Mae.  They have 2 sons and 3 grand children. I live in an apt. by myself. God takes the prettiest flowers first.    --- Audubon, MN

22) Observed tornado on news as it was coming towards us.  Black cloud came down, then drove N on 75 to get away from tornado. We were in Pierce trailor court in Moorhead, MN . Tornado hit American Crystal, saw white rope in field beside them before it weakened.  Sister in law and husband, lived north of Shanley. Saw the Golden Ridge area and it was devastated.  --- Moorhead, MN

23) We lived at 2105 9 ½ St. N. I was in my backyard in my small garden, and it got very eerie and still.  We turned on the radio, and heard Dewey Bergquist announcing that the tornado was coming, and we went to the basement. The electricity went out for several days, and we had to heat up our babies formula with candles while we had no power. We did not see the tornado as we were in the basement.  There was no damage to our house. We saw a guy carrying a cash register out of a small grocery store, as there were looters.  My husband was with the Air National Guard and was called to duty shortly after the tornado blew through.  My husband saw the tornado when it was going through fairgrounds south of us.  --- Fargo, ND

24)  I am the father of the miracle baby.  I came home from work and we went to Oak Grove Park for a picnic around 6pm.  We got there and got ready to eat, then the cops came and said a large tornado is hitting west Fargo and that we had to evacuate.  We then started to head home.  The tornado was coming right towards us, as we saw roofs getting blown off and trees falling. We could not outrun the tornado in the car, so my wife and I got out of the car to seek shelter in a ditch, as that is what we were told to do in such an emergency.  I got into the ditch on the drivers side of the car, holding my young daughter, and I laid on top of her in the ditch.  My wife was holding our 7 month old son, and she placed him under her dress in the ditch on the other side of the car. When the tornado passed over us, it was total chaos and debris was flying into us and the wind was very strong. The wind then calmed down in the eye of the tornado, before increasing again rapidly as the other side passed through. This lasted for about 1-2minutes, although it seemed like an eternity. When we climbed from the ditch, our car was carried 2 blocks and dropped in a clump of trees. Our daughter was ok, but our son was missing and we searched frantically from him. We went to a house nearby. My wife had lost her glasses as well and could not see anything.  My wife and I were taken to separate hospitals and someone found our son in a ditch 2-3hours later and then he was brought to another hospital separate from me and my wife. I knew someone who worked at WDAY, and they told me around midnight that they thought they had found my son and he was ok.  They performed many surgeries on him that night, and he survived and is doing well to this day. He walks with a slight limp on his left leg to this day, but he is a small guy at 6 foot 3 and 240 pounds!  About 3 days later I went back to our picnic site 1 mile south of where we were hit, and found all of our food and other items in tact and not touched in the park. The tornado had spared the park after all.  --- Cass Lake , Mn and Phoenix, AZ (during winter)    

25) I was almost 20 years old in June of 1957, earning money for college, working at the café in the Greyhound Bus depot.  I was rooming on 3rd Ave and 11 St. S.  I remember the regular coffee customers stating for a day or so before the tornado that the nights weren’t cooling off as they normally did in ND.  It was still about 80 degrees when we were done work after the last bus of the evening which was midnight or 1 am.  I was working a split shift which meant that I was to return to work about 930 pm.  I was at home when my Aunt came by saying that she and who she was with were going to look at a tornado that was supposed to be at Casselton.  My other aunt, uncle and their youngest son decided we would go too.  My uncle drove to 13th St (now University Drive) and as we got there, that big black and gray cloud, that the picture of in the Forum last week was coming.  It was churning and boiling and it was starting to get the noise of a train.  My uncle took one look and said, “we are going home to the basement” and drove very quickly back to the house. My cousin and I spent the few minutes that it took to pass in the vegetable bin which had cement on three sides.  With my aunt and uncle sitting in the doorway. The air was very still, and the cloud had a greenish color to it.  My aunt had a plant on the dining room table that was dead when we returned from the basement.  After the tornado passed, we took a drive down tenth street north.  The house that they had been looking at to purchase was gone.  Not even a stick was left.  Later touring the Golden Ridge area what impressed me was that the wall to a kitchen in one home was gone.  The cupboard door was gone, but the cups were hanging on cup hangers and dishes were just as they had been put away into it.   --- Oakes, ND

26)  On June 20, 1957, my husband, 10 month old son and I were living in a home we had built the previous year at 1742 6th St. S. in Fargo . My husband was an engineer with NW Bell in the area office in Fargo .  He came home for dinner that evening and all of us were aware of “storm warnings”.  We had our meal, the sky became ominous, and we tuned the radio to the local station for current news.  As the winds increased, so did the warnings.  We were advised to go to the basement to the northwest corner.  I took the baby, a supply of diapers and milk for him and went downstairs.  My husband was with us, using the transmitter radio to keep in touch – we had lost power by that time.  However, he couldn’t resist running upstairs and reported hearing the screaming winds.  I didn’t want to be left out, so I took a quick turn to poke my head out of the back door.  And, yes, it does sound like you are beside the railroad tracks as a freight train passes in front of you.  Because railroad tracks bi-sect the city, we occasionally heard trains even as far south as we lived, but nothing like this.  Our concern, as I remember, was as to how long is this going to last?  Our neighbors had little damage, as our trees and shrubs were all young and small.  The inconvenience of being without electricity was the worst, but I cannot recall for how long.  Phone service for us was quickly restored.  It was only later when we were allowed to enter the “storm zone” in the northern part of the city did we realize how fortunate we had been.   --- New Ulm, MN .

27)  My wife and I lived on the corner of 11th Ave N and Oak, and I was a student at NDSU.  Standing in the middle of 11th Ave N and looking directly west, we could see the tornado (presumably in the Buffalo area).  The sun was shining and one could see the distinct core (more than just a funnel) looking at it from the east, it appeared black.  Our neighbors on the other corner of 11th and Oak invited us into their basements (we had none).  After a bit, the neighbor’s wife became closterphobic and was determined not to get trapped and we should get in the car and drive south.  This we did and ended up south on US 81.  The sky had become overcast by that time, and looking up we could see multiple little funnels spawning and that there was one great disturbance north of us over Fargo .  It started to rain and we inched our way home.  Heavy rain followed.  Arriving at our homes, we had a bucket near the rear door that was up ended.  That was the total for us.  One and one half blocks north of us, the devastation looked like a war zone as that black twister had cut a swath across north Fargo and on into Minn.  --- Locust Grove, GA

28)  We are writing in reference to an article in the Mpls. Tribune about the 6/20/57 tornado.  At that time we lived at 1032 12th St. North in a basement apartment.  I was a student at NDAC, my wife a nurse at St. Lukes.  Before the storm we were outside with the landlord commenting on how nice the area looked and how beautiful the evening was.  Things changed.  Warnings were issued that tornado activity was cited at Casselton.  Dewey Bergquist saved a lot of lives by broadcasting the path.  The landlord and I watched the progress until we could see transformers blowing up and then went down to the basement bathroom which was under the stairs.  When it was over he had lost his two car garage which was blown west unto the neighbors house, the roof on his house lifted but was not torn off, his car in the garage did not move, our car was driveable but declared a total loss, his front steps were thrown westward too.  The house to the south received surface damage, the house to the north needed major repairs, the house to the north of that was torn down, and the house to the north of that was totally gone except for a 3 cornered china closet which stood, but the carpet under it was gone.  I wish we had taken pictures.  --- Alexandria, MN

29)  On that date I was a farmer in Sheridan county, ten miles southwest of Mcclusky,ND . I happened to be farming on a fairly large hill in that area.  What was intriguing to me was that as I looked to the east I could see the large white cloud protruding above the horizon.  Anyway, I was interested enough to drive to Fargo to observe the damage.  The distance of course is something like 200 miles!  I hope this is some help to your research. --- Bismarck, ND

30)  After reading the article about the June 20, 1957 tornado, many memories came back to me about that night and I would like to share some of them with you.  I was 17 years old and my parents had gone to Fargo ( 1146 11th St. N) to celebrate an anniversary with relatives at home.  The were cooking and having a good time, not paying too much attention to the weather until it became apparent that it had to be taken seriously.  They watched the black clouds roll in the north and heard the roar. Yes, it did sound like a freight train.  My dad wanted to photograph the clouds but my mom pulled him downstairs while it passed over them.  They heard the crashing and then silence.  When they ventured upstairs, people were screaming and crying.  The only damage to their house was broken windows so they went outside to help.  People were wandering around bleeding, hurt, crying—one woman was carrying a baby asking for something with which to feel the baby but then not waiting—she just kept going.  I was alone in Pelican Rapids and had been listening to the radio which told me that the tornado had passed over their area.  My parents knew how frightened I would be and wanted to assure me that they were alive.  Their car had been moved 50 feet from it’s parking spot.  The phone lines were down and Dad walked to the car which miraculously started and drove to Moorhead where he was able to call me.  He didn’t think of the danger of driving across downed live power lines. He returned just before the area was closed to traffic.  The houses around them were severely damaged.  Many had been destroyed but there were no deaths that I know about.  One house had the outside walls completely removed—all items in the cupboard were untouched and in perfect order.  Debris was everywhere and people were searching through it for their possessions.  One men kept sweeping his front steps—somewhere he had found a broom but it was all that was left of his house.  My parent’s didn’t want to leave Fargo ---they had some kind of a need to stay there which they couldn’t explain.  Finally after four days, they came home to Pelican.  The memory of that horrible night stayed with them for a long time as it did with me.  I hope these thoughts will help you with the record you are compiling.  --- Pelican Rapids, MN

31) I was 17 when the big tornado hit Fargo .  My family was living at 1229 Second Street N. Fargo .  It was a hot summer day and the black clouds built up rapidly, turning the light a strange yellow-green color.  As the sky darkened, the radio warned us to take cover and we hid in the southwest corner of the basement.  My sister was 15 and my parents in their 50s.  I remember being fascinated by the awe that the warnings created and the sound of the approaching storm.  It was very loud and deep like a roar, there was a quiet portion in the middle time.  I watched through a basement window and saw the white birch tree that was in the front yard lay branches across the window well.  The branches were still quivering as they lay there.  The birch tree was not very damaged although and old garage two houses to the south was demolished and huge parts hit our roof and walls as they disintegrated.  An apple tree was broken and garden flower and vegetable plants were demolished.  My sister and I after surveying the damage decided to clean up the yard and did so although neighbors said we were not allowing the insurance investor to survey the damage properly.  The damaged roof and walls were still plainly visible.  There were power lines on the front yard and a young civil defense neighbor warned us to stay away from them.  The photos in the Fargo Forum and reports from neighbors who had not gone below ground sensitized us to the severe damage that had been done to other parts of the town.  --  Moorhead, MN

32)  It was the 20th of June 1957.  The day was hot and humid.  I was in Fargo for the ND State FFA convention which was being held at NDSU.  I was the Vo-Ag Instructor and FFA adviser at Lakota High School, Lakota ND. We were assembling at Fesival Hall at NDSU at about 6:30 for our 7:00 pm evening session.  Someone made an announcement that a reported tornado was approaching from the southwest.  He urged us all to move to the basement of the new library which was across the street.  I helped usher all the FFA members into the library.  I watched as the storm approached.  There was a large funnel cloud with varying colors.  Debris began flying so I  headed for the basement.  As the tornado passed over, we had extreme pressure on our ears.  It was pitch dark as the electricity was off. I don't recall how long we stayed in the basement. After we determined  that it was safe to leave, we found the aftereffects of the tornado.  The glass in the entry way of the library was broken, Festival Hall had much damage.  My car was pelted and needed repainting.  The car parked in front of mine was crushed by a fallen tree. After the tornado passed, there was an eerie calm.  Our group from Lakota walked around the area.  We observed much damage.  The College YMCA was severely damaged.  There was water spewing from pipes where trailer homes had stood.  We saw many homes that were badly damaged. Several homes had entire walls missing and we could see directly into the house.  I remember seeing a bath tub exposed since the wall was gone. That evening we stayed in our rooms at Ceres Hall which had no electricity.  The next morning we headed for the Health Center as one of our FFA members had his insulin there.  As we approached we met the nurse and she asked if we knew who had insulin in the health center. She said the health center was badly damaged and needed to be closed. The convention was cancelled and  we returned to Lakota.