Edit 4/26/2011: In 1967, Mindy’s family lived just up the street from us in the subdivision known as The Woodlands. Her brother Chris has his recollections of the tornado, along with an account written by his father in 1967, posted HERE. It is well worth your time to click on over there and give it a read. Note: The “Boy Scout Trail” Chris refers to was a path along a portion of the abandoned Palatine, Lake Zurich, and Wauconda Railroad. For a short time, the local Boy Scouts held campouts near the abandoned Lake Zurich station house, hence the name. The path was a shortcut from the Manor and the Woodlands subdivision to downtown Lake Zurich, which many of us used to circumvent the curfew and the requisite access-passes during the aftermath of the tornado. As kids, we experienced many good times along that trail; many of us used to hunt and camp in those woods and fish in the slough and Echo Lake. Alas, we were a brokenhearted group of kids when they extended Lions Drive the entire length of the trail and subdivided the area for houses.
Edit 4/25/2011: The following photos of the 1967 Lake Zurich, Illinois tornado damage were generously contributed by Mindy Sherwood. Many thanks for sharing, Mindy!
Depending on your browser, you may be able to click on the photos for a larger view.
The view in the above photo looks like it is facing west down Miller Road, as seen from standing approximately halfway between Vista Road and Crescent Road (shown just to the left). I believe the blob of debris on the right is the rubble from the corner of the gymnasium / lunchroom portion of the
. The storm tore a gap in the row of houses on the left, sparing a few here and there. Seth Paine Elementary school
The view in the above photo looks like it is facing northwest from Miller Road as seen from standing approximately halfway between Vista Road and Crescent Road, looking toward the remains of the
. The school entrance would be at the far left of the photo, with the gymnasium / lunchroom portion not shown beyond that. What you see in the photo from left to right is the classroom portion of the school. If I remember correctly, the school was brand new in 1959 when I was in the second grade. It was a stout building, constructed from brick, block, and steel. Providentially, school was out for the day when the storm struck. Seth Paine Elementary School
ORIGINAL BLOG-ENTRY TEXT:
I was a high school student back then. A scant few minutes after 5 PM forty-four years ago today, the small town I grew up in was hit by one of the many tornadoes that raked northern Illinois that same day. This tornado was not the stereotypical funnel that we have all seen in many photos and videos… it was a low, surprisingly fast moving, non-uniform, swirling black cloud looking much like dense smoke. As it mowed through our subdivision, I witnessed it ripping the Eisenhower era houses to shreds. Our house was among those spared by the storm, which demolished 75 and extensively damaged another 200 or so. It also destroyed the Seth Paine Grade School that was down the street from our house. A couple of days later, with the entire area still without electricity, natural gas, or water, the temperature dropped below freezing and we had about 3-inches of snow. For a good while, we all lived a primitive existence.
Click HERE and then click HERE to read some historic information in pdf files.
For many weeks now, I have tried to put my thoughts and recollections down about that day and the following recovery period but I keep freezing up when I sit down at the keyboard. I organize my thoughts each day but when I sit down to type, something akin to a melancholy sets in. Even after so many years, my memories are still vivid; perhaps I want the portraits in my mind to obey the inevitability of senescence and just fade away. For now, this entry will serve as a bookmark; I’ll fill in the blanks below when my moods allow.