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Thursday, April 21, 2011

An F4 tornado hits Lake Zurich Illinois April 21, 1967

Just for nostalgia, here is a circa 1970 winter shot of the intersection of Old Rand Road and Rt.22
Dunno where I originally got it from.
Photo added 4/15/2018

Path of the 1967 Lake Zurich Tornado
Photo added 4/24/2017 from HERE

All members of the Lake Zurich Volunteer Fire Department were heroic during the search and rescue following the 1967 tornado devastation.
Fire Chief at the time was Alvin Knigge; he served as Fire Chief from 1966 - 1973.
Photo added 4/21/2017 and is from the Ela Township Historical Society

Three photos above added 4/12/2017 and are from the Chicago Tribune 

Photo added 4/12/2017
This era photo looks like it could be a bit pre or post Christmas sometime in the mid to late 1960s.  That one car looks to be a 1963 Chevy and the other looks like maybe a 1964 or newer Pontiac.  I dunno where I got this copy from ... it has been knocking around my computer files for a while.  If someone recognizes this photo, I would like to give credit.

UPDATE 4/12/2017
50-years-ago, an unfathomable half century ago, on April 21, 1967 a devastating tornado hit the town of Lake Zurich, Illinois.  This online site is for all of us.

Recollections and photos are always very welcome here.  Children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are welcome to share family lore.  Tell us your family story.

This photo is from THIS COLLECTION; that site is worth a visit if you enjoy photos of Lake Zurich and Ela Township during the old days (many photos are from before our time).  

As kids, we were told that the Lake Zurich Fire Siren (also used for tornado warnings; noon whistle, in case of air raid,  etc.) was high up somewhere on this tower. 

UPDATE 4/20/2016
Tomorrow, at roughly 5:05 PM, is the 49th anniversary of Lake Zurich's devastating tornado.  This blog entry started off as an inconsequential, brief, cathartic, personal recollection (that I have yet to finish writing).  Thanks to all of you, over the past 5-years this entry has morphed into a major online reference source regarding that tornado and its aftermath.  I am humbled; the personal recollections that you contributed via the comments section, along with your photos that were added to the original post, have become an invaluable part of the history of Lake Zurich, Illinois.  

Additional recollections are always welcome; nothing is too small; nothing about that day was insignificant.  If you are uncomfortable using your real name, there is nothing wrong with leaving an anonymous comment or using a pseudonym.  Additional photos are also welcome.

You people are awesome.  Again, I extend many thanks to you all.

The above photo was added to our collection here on 4/5/2015. The squiggling line through the vacant property at the top of the photo is Flint Creek.  How many of you remember Scott's Barn on the North side of Miller Road?  The barn's very substantial foundation is just to the left of that circular driveway.

We get a lot of traffic here every year, especially around the month of April.  Many of you have been very kind in sharing your memories about that event.  Thank you, one and all.

Edit 12/7/2014:  Scroll down to the comments section.  Just before Thanksgiving, Bob Johnson sent us a narrative via EMAIL and gave permission for me to copy and paste it into the ever-growing comments area. It is a very valuable addition; it is an excellent narrative of what the 1967 tornado did to portions of Lake Zurich on the West side of Highway 12. Many thanks, Bob!

Edit 3/14/2014:  Awesome news!  Many momentous 1967 Lake Zurich tornado aftermath photos (complete with annotations) and news-clippings have been generously submitted by Jim Herron and his father, Larry Herron.  Many thanks to both of them for sharing, and for the narrative that Jim left in the comments section.  Please pass the word about these valuable additions!

282 Pine Tree Row & Rugby (this garage still stands today)

282 Pine Tree Row (Floor Decking only)

282 Pine Tree Row (Front Door)

282 Pine Tree Row (what was left after tornado struck)

282 Pine Tree Row Yard Debris (Manor Park at Rugby & Pine Tree Row in Background)

Aerial view of 282 Pine tree row - my house center(Corner of Pine Tree Row and Rugby Rd)

Back door of 282 Pine Tree Row Snow storm before tornado

I think this is Fenners House on Pine Tree Row

I think this is Seth Paine

Inside front door of 282 Pine Tree Row (room we laid in under couch during tornado)

Lake Zurich Tornado 1967 (1)

Lake Zurich Tornado 1967 (2)

Lake Zurich Tornado 1967 (3)

Lake Zurich Tornado 1967 (4)

Larry Herron owner of 282 Pine Tree Row (Cleaning up after tornado - Same Day)

National Guardsmen Carrying Torsion Spring for Garage Door

Newspaper Article

Page 3 Aerial view (That is the St. Pius Shrine in upper left corner, which sits on north side of Miller Road, a bit east of where Rugby meets Miller; the long curved road from bottom left of photo to the top left is Rugby)

Pic of truck and carpenter (I think)

Pine Tree Row near Rugby

State Truck

Tom Skilling Article

Unidentified Car

View just west of Manor Park off Rugby

(End items from the Jim Herron LZ tornado files.)

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 at 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 Seth Paine Elementary school.  The storm tore a gap in the row of houses on the left, sparing a few here and there.

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 Seth Paine Elementary School. 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.


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.



Crustyrusty said...

I was little, but I remember it well. We lived near Midway, just north of Oak Lawn.

Mindy Sherwood said...

I was only six years old and lived in Lake Zurich when this tornado hit. I was the first to see it, out our large picture window. I called my Dad over and told him there was a fire in the woods, as it looked like smoke. Being from Kansas City, MO originally, he immediately recognized it as a tornado. My mother and father took us down to the bottom floor of our house. My brothers (ages 11 and 12) went into the crawl space while my father and mother lay on top of my sister (age 8) and I. Luckily, our house was spared, but I remember touring the neighborhood with my father, checking to see if our neighbors were okay. I cried when I saw that my school, Seth Paine, had been demolished. I vaguely remember spending the night in a hotel and our father having to get a pass from the authorities to return to our house. I have photos from that day. If I can figure out how to post them, I'll do that at a later time.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Hi Mindy,

Let me know if you post the photos online; I'd like to link this post to them. As an alternative, you could email them to me (my address is in my profile in the left sidebar of this site) and I can post them here with full credit to you. If there are any photos of the aftermath online, I have yet to find them.

We were all surprised at how much damage the tornado did to Seth Paine. It devastated the areas where we used to practice the "duck and cover" drills.

Thanks for stopping by,


Oscar Gonzalez said...

Wow incredible pics. I was only 5 when it hit Lake Zurich, but I have only vague recollections of it. I lived off Pamela Rd a stone's throw from the lake. I do remember people hauling wood and debris around and then hearing that Seth Paine was hit. I never knew or saw the horrific effects of the tornado.
Awesome blog Zack. I was class of 79 in LZ high.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Hey there Oscar. It's nice to hear another voice from the old town. It was not a bad place to grow up.

Thanks for stopping by.

Gina Merritt said...

Thanks for sharing the information and pictures. My parents had just sold their house in Acorn Acres, and our family had moved to Mundelein. Because my dad was the builder, and the house was half destroyed, we were able to go over there so the new owner could consult with him. I'll never forget the destruction. You're right, it wasn't a bad place to grow up--in fact, it was a wonderful place to grow up. We've got great memories--boy, Lake Zurich sure has changed!

Stephen Holvay said...

My name is Steve Holvay, I lived on Vista road from 1955 to 1966. We were in Mrs.Ullrich's class at Seth Paine 1960-61. I was gone by the time the Tornado hit but I know that my old house had minor damage & survives today remodeled. Hope everything in the Zacary family is o.k. including Jeff & Wayne.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Hey there Stephen! I drove by your old house just yesterday and was wondering how you were. Gosh it sure has been a long time. My brothers are all fine; thanks for asking. I'll let them know that you checked in at the blog. Hope all is well with you.

Stephen Holvay said...

I neglected to mention that the old May Whitney school is now being razed. The late Mrs.Browne, our junior high social studies teacher said the cafeteria in that building was the safest place in all Lake Zurich in case of a tornado or worse an atomic bomb attack. I didn't think they would ever give up that fallout shelter. Isn't it costing 1/2 a million dollars to tear it down? To cange the subject I remember your mom used to call you by your middle name Allan. Or is it spelled with just one l ?

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Heh! "Allen"

I still have relatives who know me by no other name.

Below is a url to a post I did regarding my Mom's habit of calling us by our middle names. It needs to be copied and pasted to the browser window since I don't know how to create a link in the comment section.

Jean Walston Thoennes said...

I had lived at Lake entereance to the Manor on PineTree Row - across from the Steinke's. We had moved to town just a few months before - the tornados were so bad that they made the news almost immediately - my grandparents lived in Indiana and they couldn't remember if we had just moved in or out...grandpa kept trying to call us but the operator wouldn't let his call in...they were so desperate for news that the operator finaly said she would let the call in but just for a quick mom answered and my grandpa asked if we were all ok and AS SOON as mom said yes, the operator disconnected the call...but my grandparents at least knew we were safe...bless her heart!! My dad was in the National Guard as well as several other men in LZ..Chief Prehm asked my dad to get the guys together and in uniform and they did security at all the enterances into the manor to keep people out..from that, my dad became a part-time policeman and the Ela Township Civil Defense Director. I remember when I finally got to see the damage, all that was left standing at many homes, was the plumbing pipes sticking up in the air...from that, I always tell people if you don't have a basement to stay in the bathroom and hug the toilet! It was a horrifying day and yet LZ was blessed that there were no deaths!!! I also remember that the next day we had 3 inches of snow!

Dorene Roderick Farris said...

My name is Dorene Roderick Farris. I remember the tornado well. I was at Seth Paine just about a half hour before it hit. We left because it started to rain! I barely got home and it hit. When we looked outside I couldn't believe what we saw. We had a car in our back yard that wasn't ours. Houses that were completely gone. People were walking around in shock as to what had just happened. My dad worked at Bell and Howell and did not know what had happened. I remembering using someones phone to call him and up until that time I hadn't cried. When I heard my dads voice, I started to cry and couldn't stop. I know they called our manor, the miracle manor because no one had died. Jean, I also remember houses where only the pipes sticking out and I, too tell people to get to their bathrooms. James (Allen), do you remember me? My mom and dad were best friends with yours. I think one of your brothers was named after my dad, Ray. I remember your parents well. I was in the same class as Jeff. Where is he now? Steven, you were my next door neighbor!! We moved in 1971 to Arkansas.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

If I may borrow an oft used exclamation from my Mother’s lexicon, “Goodness sakes alive!” HELLO DOREEN! It is so great to hear from you! I remember you and your parents like it was yesterday. We moved from Chicago in 1956 and the first people I remember stopping over were your folks. If I recall correctly, Chico and Cokie were the names of the two Chihuahuas your mom owned. You have no idea how much all of us boys looked forward to your Mom bringing us bags of used comic books! Mom and Dad loved all of you so very much.

Just a couple of days ago I heard from Lee Hughes, one of your neighbors from down on Miller Road. His brother Don lives in Arizona and works for the governor’s office.

Our youngest brother, Ray (AKA “Brad”), still lives in the old house at Golf View and Vista. The rest of the brothers live in nearby towns. They will be thrilled to hear that you checked in.

Dad passed away on November 13, 2006, in his sleep at home. He had been fighting a bad heart for over 20-years. Following a series of strokes, Mom passed away less than a year later, under hospice care, at home, on September 30, 2007.

The manor is still pretty much the same (as is your former house), but you would not recognize much of the downtown Lake Zurich; they are making a mess of it trying to make it look modern. It has lost most of the landmarks and all of the small town charm.

Thanks for your recollections of the tornado, but most of all I want to thank you for checking in. Please keep in touch.



Dorene Roderick Farris said...

First of all, I can't believe you remembered the names of our dogs!!!Dad passed away in 1973 and mom in 1985, both of them had cancer.I remember mom saving those comic books for you boys. They loved you guys too. I've been married for almost 38 yrs. Have two boys and two grandsons and awaiting the arrival of a new baby girl at the end of May.
I've heard that I wouldn't recognize Lake Zurich. I guess where there was an open field in front of our house,there is now a row of houses. We were in Illinois about 2 yrs. ago but my family lives in Chicago and we didn't get a chance to go to LZ. My husband is into Sporting Clays and he is going to a tournament at the gun club near Grays Lake. Have you heard of it? I won't be able to go with him because I'm a school secretary and that will be our first week of school. I don't think they would let me off. Tell those brothers of yours I said "hi". I think about LZ quite often and all the friends I had there. Still keep in touch with some. Yes, I'd like to keep in touch!!


Anonymous said...

Dave Jones here. I lived on Pine Tree row just down the street from Oscar, hi Oscar!

I remember we were in the grocery store in Wauconda when this thing hit. The power went out and they brought us flashlights so we could finish our shopping. On the drive home I remember the scared feeling as we passed the distruction.

Luckily our house which was a couple of blocks away was spared any damage.

We finished our kindergarten and first grade in trailers at May Whitney.

It took me years to get over the distruction, still all these years later I go outside and watch when a severe storm passes through.

Anonymous said...

Hi, My name is Mary Hall Smith, I was 7 yrs old when the tornado hit. I lived on the corner of Miller and Summit, 61 Miller Rd., I stumbled across your blog the other day as my co-workers and I were talking about tornados and of course I shared my story and thus found your website. I have a few but vivid memories of that day, my mom, brother Jim and myself were returning from Barrington from shopping at the Jewel, as we got into town we stopped at the IGA and some woman came out of the store and asked my mom if she was Mrs. Hall, she said yes and the woman said your house is gone. WOW! So immediately we went home and as we came down Vista rd past Elliots house, looked across the field on the right and indeed saw our house with no roof! I can still see that image in my mind as if it was yesterday. My oldest brother Greg was the only one home as the tornado hit. Him and Rhonda, our collie dog, had gone into the lower level of the house, no time to get into the crawlspace, but made it with only a few cuts and bruises. One of the amazing things was we still had phone service so my mom called her mom and dad that lived in Skokie to tell them what had happened and all were ok. Then we realized our shetland pony Toby was gone and his barn was no where to be found. I think someone found him in one of the fields around finally!I remember going into my house and everything was a mess. Glass all over, furniture broken and thrown around. I remember going up to my bedroom and seeing the sky as I looked up, the roof was really gone. Everything was wet and a mess. The only thing I remember I wanted to find was my rosary I got for my confirmation, (we went to St.Francis De Sales school)I found it and then realize our cat Black Jackie was no where to be found. She always like to sleep in the bathroom in the linen closet so I remember trying to open the bathroom door but was stuck, finally someone got the door open and there was the cat meowing very strangely. I must tell you that cat was never the same after that, she got real weird. Like so many residents we stayed at the hotel cottages in town. That was an experience in itself! Finally we got a trailer and lived in that in our back yard until our house was fixed. I know I will always remember this time in my life as every April 21st at 5:03 comes around. I don't remember you Zach but I am sure you probable knew my brothers Jim and Greg. I read the comments from the others that posted and was happy to read Doreen Rodricks post. I remember her very well. I think my brother Jim and her maybe liked each other anyway it was fun to read what she is doing now. Thank you for allowing us to share our experience of that day on your website, I currently live in Ozark Missouri. Married for 21 yrs with 3 children, just about to be empty nesters! Mom and dad have passed, Greg lives in Algonquin, Jim in Plainfield IL and my sister Jeri Ann lives in Lake of The Ozarks MO. The last time I was in LZ was about 7 yrs ago, my niece was married in Crystle Lake so I wanted my kids to see where I lived and was able to show them. I was disappointed to see homes built in Berlin's field and also the field between Summit and Vista. And of course there was no Boy Scout Trail any more! I keep in touch with my best friend Barb Stouffer, they lived next to us if you remember, she lives in Florida now. I better sign off now I could go on and on with my memories! Again thanks for your blog!

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Hi Mary, I am very pleased that you stopped by to share your family's story. Yes, I do remember your brothers (and the pony!) and I do remember you running around outside, playing in the yard.

Could you ask Barb Stouffer if she has access to any of her father's old photos? He was an avid and talented photographer and if his photos of Lake Zurich still exist, they would be a historical treasure. Surprisingly how few old photos of Lake Zurich's 1950's and 1960's exist online.

Many thanks again!



Anonymous said...

Hi James and Mary,
This is Pat Elliott.
I was thinking about the storm today after there a mention on the local radio station.
I was over at Carol Kush's house watching TV when the strom came thru.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Hello Pat! Great to hear from ya. Wayne will be tickled that you popped in.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jim!

This is Joie Parks (your old neighbor).

I was just telling my granddaughter about the tornado that hit Lake Zurich in 1967. She said google it and see what comes up and here we are. Great pictures by the way. We were lucky up the hill on Vista Road, not like Northcrest, Miller, Rugby, etc. I remember Bill and Kevin in the golf course hiding in a ditch, my mom standing by the window doing dishes seeing a garage roof fly by before taking cover in a closet, and me trying to get home (it took 2 hours before they would let me in the manor)from work in Barrington. I will never forget that dark purple sky. Hope all is well with you and your family. Saw Wayne a few years back - was happy to see him. Thanks again for the great pictures so I could show my granddaughter. Take care.


James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Hi Joie! Goodness, it has been such a long time. Thanks for checking in! This blog entry has turned into a suprising reunion of neighbors.

Mindy Sherwood was kind enough to supply the photos. Most of us have misplaced those few photos that we took.

I'll tell everyone that you said "Hi."

LFTS said...

This is Lisa Kerkera Hightower; I was 6 when the tornado hit. I didn't live in the Manor, but down the road from it, across from Breezewald Park on Old Rand Road. You could see the lake from my bedroom; and I remember seeing bad weather moving across the lake that day. I didn't know I was seeing a tornado.

I attended Seth Paine, too, and remember spending the rest of the year attending class at a church down the road from the house. I can't remember the name of the church for the life of me, now, but I always used to cut through the parking lot on the way to school when I ended up at May Whitney... and beyond.

Thanks for the reminder about the Boy Scout Trail. I *loved* adventuring down there before it was developed; there was some little lake I used to visit back there. (Don't tell me it was the slough, because I know it wasn't!)

My brothers (Greg, Derek Kerkera) still live in the area. I'm now in the tornado-riddled south (Arkansas), but whenever we have scares around here, I remember that tornado in '67.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Hi Lisa, thanks for stopping by.

I believe Echo Lake is what you visited from the old Boy Scout trail, and (I think) St. Peters was the name of the church you referred to. They demolished May Whitney school a year or more ago; kinda sad to see it go.

Best wishes,


Anonymous said...

It’s all pretty foggy after all these years, but a few memories, like that tornado, are crystal clear. I guess I would have been 8. My family lived in the house across from the barn on Lagoon Dr. in Hawthorn Woods. We moved to Florida, way back in 73. That day was such a normal afternoon… Just home from school… Lying on the living room floor watching TV… Then all of the sudden, Mom screamed, scooped up my little brothers, one in each arm, and shoved me towards the basement stairs. The last thing I could see as we flew down the steps was the view out the sliding glass door and out across the open fields. I didn’t see a funnel, but the sky was as black as midnight! As we huddled in the basement, shivering with fear, we could hear the village cop, Doug, driving around the neighborhood, repeating, “WARNING! - TORNADO! - WARNING!”, over and over again through his loud speaker. Before that day, everyone thought Doug took his job way too seriously... The man had guts. I gotta give him that! Mom drove us through Acorn Acres the next day. I have pictures somewhere. I was in grade school at St Francis, at the time. I remember the stories the following Monday. Several kids in my class had broken windows, and some lost everything.
I transferred to LZ Jr. High for 7th grade, then on to the newly built, LZ Sr. High. I went there until the November of my sophomore year when we moved. Oh, and I went to Seth Payne for kindergarten. I’ve never returned to Lake Zurich, but I do remember it as it was back then… And y’all are right. It was a great place to grow up!
When we first came to Florida, I remember an old timer telling me, “You can always tell a Midwesterner... They watch the sky.” After 40 years and a couple hurricanes… I’ll take the hurricanes. Thank you very much.

Douglas Berggren said...

Amazing pics.
Hi all, Doug Berggren here. I recall walking home from seth paine that day - my brother and i were in second grade. We lived about 5 blocks north of seth paine and watched the tornado go through the neighborhood from our back porch.

Douglas Berggren said...

Wow, great pix. I recall walking home from seth paine that day. My brother and i were in second grade. We lived about 5 blocks south of the school and we watched the tornado tear through the neighborhood from our back porch.

Mary Jo (Striedl) Cline said...

Hello, James. What a blast from the past your blog has been. Mary Jo (Striedl) Cline here. I too, spent part of my wonder years on Vista Road (265, right in the middle of the block, between the Quinlan and Feltault families). You may have known my older brothers, Mike and Mark. We lost Mark in ’64 when he was struck and killed by a car – he and Mike were riding their bikes down Miller Rd. early in the morning, going to caddie at Biltmore Country Club. Mike has been in Rockford for a number of years. My younger sister Kathy has been in Phoenix since the late ‘70s. I have been in Wood Dale (about 4 miles west of O’Hare Airport) for about 20 years now. I’m the Library Media Center Director at Wood Dale Junior High. Our 8th graders will be doing a little research on natural disasters, which made me think of the ’67 LZ tornado, which led me to your blog.
I remember Mary Hall’s family well – Her oldest brother Greg was a friend and classmate of my brother Mike, and I was a classmate of her brother Jim. In fact, I sat in front of him during 8th grade at St. Francis, and as a budding drummer, he spent a good deal of time playing “Wipeout” with his fingers and/or pencils on the edge of his desk. I remember the names Doreen Roderick and Steve Holvay, but can’t picture them. I do remember those good looking dark haired Zachary brothers in the house on the corner, though I don’t believe our parents knew each other well.
By the time the Tornado hit in ’67, we had moved to Lagoon Drive in Hawthorn Woods. My mom and I were folding bedsheets in front of the big picture window in the living room, and watched a squat, wide black cloud make its way from west to east across the horizon to the north of us. By that time it was probably around the Gilmer Rd. area between LZ and Mundelein. We stood there watching like morons instead of running for cover, but it just seemed far enough away at the time and not a threat. Little did we know that the school a half block away from our old house was at that moment a pile of rubble, and many of our former neighbors from The Manor were now without their homes. I do remember hearing about the Hall’s pony being found, still alive, several blocks away from their house. It truly is a miracle that no one lost their lives.
Like you and your fellow bloggers, I remember Lake Zurich as a great place to grow up. You were never lonely, there was always someone to play with. I remember kids from several houses in a row creating makeshift tents for a backyard sleepout, covering our picnic tables with old blankets or tarps. When it started to get dark, we’d play Ghost in the Graveyard across the yards. I also remember the Boy Scout Trail. We would take it to go “up town” where we would go to B&L for a pop or ice cream bar, or maybe to the Ben Franklin to purchase some unnecessary plastic object, or to pick up the WLS weekly top 40 hit list at Al’s Radio and TV. My brother Mike used to go fishing really early in the morning at the slough, and bring home these ENORMOUS carp, which he would proudly put on display for the neighbor kids to admire, stinking to high heaven in the summer sun, before my Mom would make him go bury them across the street in the woods. I also remember going to swim at Breezewald Park, Sandy Point, and later Lake Zurich Beach Club. I especially loved the summer carnival at Lion’s Park (now Paulus Park), and the “water fights” where crowds would line up along Rt. 22 downtown and watch the fire department use their powerful fire hoses to knock around a metal keg in the middle of the street, kind of a reverse tug-of-war (again, a miracle no one was killed).
I still get to LZ occasionally – still go to the doctors who took over Dr. Mazieka’s old practice, and my son very recently moved into an apartment right across from the old Briggs towel factory on Buesching Rd. And, yes, it certainly has changed. Ah, progress. Thanks for providing a forum for us LZ kids to reminisce.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Hi Mary Jo,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and memories with us. Coincidently, I recently was thinking about Mike and Mark riding their bikes on Vista Road, and Mike fishing on the shores of Lake Zurich down by the Shady Rest.

When I was handing out candy for thick-or-treat here in Waukegan (regulated by the city down to 2-hours, on the Sunday afternoon before Halloween) I was flashing back to the costumed kids of Lake Zurich a half-century ago, running from door to door from the moment school let out to long after dark. Those days may be gone forever.

You made my day by stopping by. Thanks again.


Mary Jo Cline said...

Yep, Mike is still a fisherman, though not on the daily basis like he was back then. He was good buddies with the guy who's dad owned the Shady Rest, I think his name was Stan Bortz, or something like that. I think the place is a Chinese restaurant now.

Nana Jackie said...

Hey, James, thanks for putting up this blog.
The tornadoes in Illinois today made me think back to the monster that chewed through The Manor on April 21, 1967. I was 13, a freshman at Carmel High School (class of 1970), and it was my dad's birthday. We lived on the corner of Johnathan Street and Golf View Road and were allowed to stay in our home that night. Many of my friends and school mates who lived further north and east were forced to evacuate. Our house was only slightly damaged by flying debris. Took our chimney right off!
Mary Hall Smith, I remember your pony! My friend, Caryl Inglis, lived on Miller Road right across from the entrance to Seth Paine. I was also at the Jewel in Barrington with my mom just after school that afternoon, and hadn't been home more than about 10 minutes when the tornado hit. We had been listening to radio reports of the Oak Lawn tornado in the car. My parents were from St. Joseph, MO and my mom knew what was coming from the color of the sky and the sound. Oh, my god, the sound. I'll never forget it.
Mary, I live in Springfield, MO and work at Mercy Hospital. Small world, huh? Lots of memories came flooding back for me the night Joplin was hit.
You know, the strangest thing I remember about that day is I noticed none of the birds were singing that morning as I walked to the bus stop.

Susan (Kliora) Shannon said...

I lived in Forest Lake and that evening we had gone to the Moose lodge in Barrington for their Fri night fish fry. We noticed everything outside was turning a weird colored green and it was strangely quiet. All of the sudden the winds began and all hell broke loose. My dad took my friend and I down to the 1st floor (because there was no basement) to wait it out. It was terrifying. It sounded like a locomotive was going over the top of us. I was 12 years old back then, but it seems like yesterday.

mjm55 said...

I also remember when the tornado went through the Manor. I lived in Echo Lake, my brother and I were home and mom and dad were in town. They saw the storm from across the lake. They were picking up dinner from the Hickory Pit and didn't want to drive until after the storm. They called us and told us to hide in the dining room with no windows until they returned home. I was twelve and my brother fourteen. I remember the darkness and it was overbearing. My father was in the American Legion and volunteered to help authorities in the aftermath. As I recall the snow started that night of the tornado. I also attended Seth Paine school in fourth grade. May Whitney was overcrowded and some of us that lived close to Seth Paine were sent there. I also remember the old boy scout trail. I used to cut through it to go into town. I fished in the boy scout pond and caught one and a half pound crappie and some huge carp. The slough referred to was the connection between the boyscout pond and Echo Lake. Lake Zurich sure has changed since then. Thank you for the memories.

Steve Ouimette said...

Hi Jim, This blog is amazing. It sure does bring back memeories. I remember being down at Seth Paine playing tetherball that day after school and then heading up to Mary Fords house. All of a sudden we were all in her crawl space. I recall my brother Mike, coming up the road driving our station wagon looking for me. On our way back down Golfview I remember looking to the north and I could see all the way past the school. What devastation. My dad didn't realize what had happened until he tried to get in the neighborhood and he was stopped. He had to convince them he lived in there. Not much happened to our house and I think we had the Knowles stay with us, there was nothing left of their house. Thanks again Jim for being here. I hope everything is going well with you and yours.
Steve Ouimette

Dorothea Verplancken said...

remember this day really well the sky turned green and all hell broke loose. Was glad we were not in school at Seth Paine as a lot of my friends that I went from Kindergarten to senior year with may not have been here today. I am glad to be in California and out of the tornado alley one of the reasons I loved leaving Illinois was no tornado or snow!!!!

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Hey there everyone. Thanks for sharing your memories; they are a valuable part of that event. The response has been far more than I ever imagined.

Hey there Steve Ouimette! It has been many years. Tell Mike that Zack says "Hey!" and give him my best. The Manor has not changed much since you all moved away. I only get there a couple of times a years, but those streets give me a flood of nostalgia.

Thanks again to you and everyone else who stopped in here at the blog site.


Jim said...

I remember this day as well. I was 5 years old at the time so my recollection is not as sharp as it should be. Some of the names on this blog are so familiar, but I was so little it's difficult to remember people. I lived on the corner of Rugby & Pine Tree Row, across from Manor Park. I remember living next door to a Bev Stamper and her husband (who I cannot remember the name) were on Rugby Rd. There was another neighbor in our back yard named Don Fenner and wife Bev, I believe. (they ran "Price Gas and Towing" on 22 between Ela Rd. and Rand Rd on the North Side) They had kids that we were friends and use to play with ALL the time. I remember a Drew Porter who use to be a friend too. Oh so many memories!

We were just sitting down eating dinner. I remember watching the sky from my dinner chair, (it was SO dark) My mom hollered "TORNADO" and I remember the dinner table pinning me against the wall as my brothers ran for cover. Mother pulled me from behind the table and took us to the living room and pulled the couch over on top of us. In a matter of seconds the house was gone, and the couch wasn't there when it was over, but we were all safe. I had gotten hit by an electrical line on my stomach by the belly button. Nothing serious, but it turned to a MOLE after that and I still have the reminder today (Weird).

My father came home shortly after. (He owned the Texaco station on the corner of Miller and Rand) Some of you may know him, Larry Herron. He had came home to the devastation with no idea that the tornado touched down here until he tried to get home. He was traveling home from somewhere out of town and had driven through a storm that he said he couldn't wait to tell us all about, Until he got home and realized that we were in the storm too! He cleaned up our property, and stored the appliances (that were okay) in our garage until the rebuild (and for insurance) right away, and then he helped others that he could. The house that stands there today is the house he built, and the garage is the same one that survived the tornado.

That's my story. I want to thank all the others that share their story on Zack's blog. I love reading about it. It brings back so many memories from the Manor.

Zack, I sent you the photo's that we spoke about in an email. Let me know if you get them. God's blessings everyone!

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Jim Herron, I want to deeply thank you and your father for the photos and news-clippings. They are nothing short of spectacular. Simply awesome! I'll get them posted ASAP.

I also want to thank you for sharing your memories of the tornado event and of your life growing up in Lake Zurich. What started as a humble blog entry has grown into a great reunion because of folks like you.

(BTW, Kim Stamper was a classmate of mine)

Thanks again!


Wayne Brasler said...

Through the years, various reports on this tornado have come to indicate there was no funnel cloud. But I know people who survived the storm an they say, yes, there was a distinct funnel cloud, wide and squat and churning, and they don't understand why it's been written there was none.
One person did tell me as the tornado crossed above a busy intersection it was still aloft and lowering and car drivers may not have been able to see it. As impressive as the tornado proved, the ability of the Lake Zurich community to get organized and get right to work with the gigantic job of repair and particularly with getting young people back into school was remarkable and admirable.

Charlene Salte said...

Hello Lake Zurich Friends. When one of my students at Fremont Middle School in Mundelein, presented a report today on the Oklahoma tornados, I decided to show the class this site. Living in Hawthorn Woods at the time of the tornado, I recall it well. I remember the sirens and my dad telling us all to go to the basement. He and I stood at the back door by our basement door and watched the top to the tornado as it swept into Lake Zurich. News coverage at the time was nothing like we see today in real time. We turned on the evening news to see if there was anything about it. Helicopters were showing some footage, but the reporter said the Dato subdivision had been hit, and I had never heard anything called the Dato subdivision, but the shots sure looked like Miller Road and Seth Paine. The next morning, I was supposed to go to Randhurst to apply for a summer job. That was way before Lake Zurich had a large enough economic base to employ all the summer jobs needed for the high school kids. When I drove up Miller Road to pick up Chris Ford, I was stopped by the police who had barricaded the ares. That was the first I knew, for certain, who and what had been hit. To this day, I am amazed at how poorly reported the event was. Belvidere and Oak Lawn were far better covered. Thanks for posting this. I have also used it to show school administrators the importance of excellent tornado drills and to illustrate that it CAN happen here. Charlene Sonderman Salte

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Hi Charlene, thanks for stopping by and for contributing to this blog post. It is great to hear from LZ folks after all these years. I believe your brother Norman was a classmate of mine.

DDiva R said...

Hi my name is d. I happened on your blog. I lived in lz in the 80s but grew up in nw burbs . I lived on pamela rd in the manor subv until we moved to mchenry then on to st. Pete fl. I always wondered why the last couple of houses near seth paine were distinctly different than the 1950s houses we lived in! Then when we all got internet years ago I discovered the lz tornado.the bloggers are right -no one ever mentions it.I dont think any one will forget that day .I was in 3rd grade at scaumburg elem. School and the bus driver said we had tornado warnings on the way home from school. Officially we didnt have a tornado in roselle but you coulda fooled me! It was nasty ! I we lived on a hill and could see something moving east from irving park rd near barrington rd. I remember looking out the sliding door and seeing the electric wires running to the house shaking like crazy and its so funny now to think that the whole time it was happening my mom was cleaning the floor cuz water was blowing in under the sliding door! Lots of stuff was blown across street - we lived on a 1/2acre lot.heavy stuff too -we had a huge basement -the only one who ever was in it during storms was dad ! But that day he was at workof course . Im positive it was a tornado or tail end of one -its a very vivid day 47 years later . And I agree with the earlier blogger -ill take hurricanes any day! I dont miss those sirens. Eeerie .thanks for letting me share -:)

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Hi D! Thanks for visiting and for your comments.



DDiva R said...

Its was quite a crazy weather year -the "big snow"just a few months before.

Anonymous said...

Chris Best here, my sister is Mindy Sherwood who posted some of the photos, and I am the one with the link to my whole tale of that day. I revisited Zack's site recently, and read some of the new posts, and one of them made my jaw drop.

Mary Hall Smith's story caught my eye when she mentioned that they still had phone service. I read on, and then she mentioned her pony Toby. When my dad and brother and I drove through the neighborhood to offer help, we stopped at one house where the lady was on the phone, which we thought was amazing (how freaky is it to think that this might be the call to Skokie that Mary mentioned?). She told us of how their pony Toby was gone, and about the bedrooms below the missing roof. The sheets had been sucked off the bed, but perfume bottles were still standing on the dresser.

Zack has this up near the top, but here again is the link to my story if anyone is interested.

Thanks again Zack for the memories! You have truly made it a small world.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Thank YOU Chris, and EVERYONE else!

James Zachary said...

The following came in via EMAIL, and the author gave permission for me to cut and paste it into the comments area. It is a valuable addition. It is an excellent narrative of what the 1967 tornado did to portions of Lake Zurich on the west side of Highway 12.

“Hello Jim,
My name is Bob Johnson and I lived about 1/3 of a mile west of Rt. 12 on Miller Rd. We were the last house on Miller Rd. to be in Ela Township. There is a small Rd. Called Cloverhill Ln. that circled around from 12 to Miller. We had a small farm and sold asparagus and other vegetables. Most people who don’t remember me remember the asparagus at least. I graduated in 71 so I was a couple years younger than you but I do remember being in a PE class that you were also in, I believe Mr. Miller was the teacher. I believe your brother Jeff is a year or so younger than me. Back to 1967 tornado. I was at the edge of that storm and our home was not hit but it was a day I will never forget. I didn’t see the funnel because it was about 300 yards up hill from us on Cloverhill lane where it destroyed several of our neighbors homes. We did hear the loud rumble and the low clouds were so low you felt like you could touch them. They were whipping around in a counter clockwise direction and there was debris in those clouds. I never found any debris on our property after it past so who knows where it ended up. We knew several people in Barrington/Biltmore area near Honey Lake who said they saw the tornado go over Honey Lake and said they it sucked a lot of water from the lake. This might also explain why there was so much mud splattered on homes and the funnel was less visible as it approached from the SW because it was throwing of the water & mud picked up for the lake. Several people who lived east of us suggested that the tornado seemed to change direction and veer south when it went through that lake. Who knows, probably all a bunch of crap but that day impacted my life forever and I always wondered if it would have hit our house if not for Honey Lake. There were boats wrapped around trees and utility poles from Honey lake down on Cloverhill lane, so there may be some truth to that theory. We had a lot of friends that were directly affected by this in the Manner Homes and I spent a lot of time working with Cliff MacDonald to clean up what was left of his home which was a total loss. It’s a miracle there weren’t more casualties. I heard & read there was 1 fatality in LZ but I have no idea who that was or where they were from. I also heard no warning sirens but that really dates the technology of the times. Thanks for this blog Jim. Hope you have a great holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving.

Bob Johnson
Round Lake IL.”

James Zachary said...

The following is a copy and paste of my email response to Bob Johnson's email.

Wow! Hey there, Bob! It has been decades.

This is awesome. With your permission, I’d like to cut and paste your name and your narrative of the storm into the comments section of the tornado blog entry. It may sound corny, but this is all a slice of history, and without folks typing out their experiences it would all vanish.

You tripped a memory for me; right after the storm went through, Cliff McDonald wandered to our house at the corner Golfview and Vista Roads, totally in shock, frantically trying to find out if his Mom and Dad were okay; he had no concern for the condition he was in, he was just worried sick about his folks. My Mom got him to lay down on our couch for a while.

Thanks man!

Happy Thanksgiving.


Dottie Johnson Kinner said...

Thanks for starting this blog and keeping it going to gather all of these memories. As my brother Bob said, we were very fortunate that our house was spared. I remember looking out the window as my bus pulled out of Valentine Manor that day and thinking how strangely GREEN the sky looked. Our house at Miller and Cloverhill was one of the last bus stops in the afternoon, so it seemed like I just barely got home when we heard a loud sound as though a train was barreling toward our house. Our oldest brother, Chuck, yelled for us to climb into our "well pit" (this was an underground room with concrete walls where our plumbing access was...who knew it would need to double as a tornado shelter...). We all hurried down the ladder and pulled the wooden lid shut. It was sort of reminiscent of the Wizard of Oz tornado scene! I remember clinging to my mom and crying uncontrollably. I was terrified. We knew my dad was somewhere on his way home from work and didn't know if he was safe-- and I was so afraid that our house would be ripped apart. I'll never forget how relieved we were to see our house still standing when we came out. We saw a massive black cloud to the east, probably over Acorn Acres, but as far as we knew, all was well. But soon after, some neighbors came over and told us the Manor and Seth Paine were devastated by a tornado. Thankfully, my dad made it home safely that day. I recall going to Seth Paine to check out the damage and my classroom being completely gone...just rows of lockers left standing in that hallway. One of my classmates, Cindy McAvaney, lived near Seth Paine and was left without a home, so my family ended up taking her in for several months. I still think about how different the outcome might have been if the tornado had hit just an hour or two earlier, before school was out. Although the LZ tornado missed our home, it was indeed life-changing. A good reminder that life can change in the blink of an eye.

James Zachary said...

Thanks for sharing that great narrative, Dottie.

It is coming up on 48 years since then and people still have such vivid memories of that event.

You all are awesome.

Anonymous said...

I was 15 years old, a freshman and going to Carmel HIgh School in Mundelein. There were a number of kids who lived in and around the area where the 67 Tornado touched down in Lake Zurich that also went to Carmel. What is important to remember is that few people had ever see a tornado before and no one had ever experienced being in one. If there were films of tornados at all they were very rare. The late bus from Carmel I was on went down Miller Rd after the tornado hit and kids I knew got off the bus in the middle of the destruction not knowing if there house was still there. I also remember some pretty substantial damage around Cuba Rd east of Rt 14.

Anonymous said...

I lived on Northcrest. I remember you Dottie. Linda (Zimmerman) Rybak

Anonymous said...

I wrote a short story about this tornado in Lake Zurich in April of 1967 and submitted it to Readers Digest, but it was never published. Linda (Zimmerman) Rybak

James Zachary said...

Hi Linda,

Feel free to see if your short story would fit into the comment section. If it is too large to squeeze in as a comment, we could also add it to the main body of this site along with the photos people have submitted. Further, you could enter it as a Google blog site on your own and we could link to it. One way or the other, it would great to have it online.

Thanks for checking in!

Anonymous said...

Hi All,

Rob Luce -- I lived on Crescent Rd, where Northcrest runs into the driveway. My mom is still there after 60 years.
Remember the 67 tornado like yesterday (in fact probably better than yesterday!)
Some old names here -- wow - hope everyone is OK as we all are doing well.

Cindy Fenner said...

I remember seeing the Tornado out of the picture window at the back of our house. I was only 5 at the time, but remember following my Mom's gaze at the window when she received a phone call. The Tornado had gone by my Dad's business in Lake Zurich (Price Gas), and someone from the station called our Mom to warn her the Tornado was heading in the direction of our house on Pine Tree Row. Mom got my 2 brothers, 2 sisters and myself into a hallway, under a quilt or big blanket, and we rode out the Tornado there. Our house sustained a lot of damaged, and all that was left of our garage was the slab. We moved into our Grandma's house while our house was repaired. I saw the info on the Tornado thru a friend on Facebook, who was a friend and neighbor from Pine Tree Row. It's really interesting to see people sharing their experiences/memories.

Wayne said...

I accidentally ran across this article when I was researching something for Seth Paine and I was really amazed by all these pictures. We have been renting in Lake Zurich for a couple years now. But we will be purchasing our first home in this neighborhood soon, and we'll actually be neighbors with the house featured on this page, 282 Pine Tree Row. I knew of the 1967 tornado through my research, I was very much not alive at the time lol, but was not aware how close it hit the area we are moving to! Thanks for sharing the pictures of this honorific, but historic event. I must say the neighborhood looks a lot better now! I look forward to being a part of your community (fingers crossed) very soon!

Michele Walsh said...

I remember this tornado like it was yesterday. Yes, jimmy this is Shelly my mom was married to your dad. I remember sitting at the dinner table all five of us me, you Ronnie, Mary Donny can you just imagine what my mom went through to get us to safety. I do think of u guys often and your dad the best dad, I still remember that Xmas tree he bought, it looked like a monster in the window it was big:). Thanks for remembering the stuff that has happened it makes my heart warm say hi to your dad for me love lots Shelly.

Craig Freundlich said...

Craig Freundlich - We lived in Hawthorn Woods (a few miles from Lake Zurich) on a dead end road with a cornfield behind our house. We saw the tornado on top of the hill in the cornfield coming at our house. My mother, brother and I ran for the basement and hid under the wash basin, waiting for the house to come down. It didn't. Our neighbor, who was an airline pilot, watched the tornado stay in the air and do a right hand turn over our house and the other houses on our side of the street before landing in a field.

Sharon Cairns Mann said...

I just saw this, thanks to a post by Tammy Saxby Holt on Facebook. I'm a little late getting to the party, but happy to join the conversation. It almost makes me cry! I was there. I was 14 years old, I lived at 137 Parkway Ave. near the lake, not in the Manor. Our home was not affected, but we certainly were as we attended the Evangelical Free Church in The Manor, with many people who lived there and lost there homes. We were all deeply affected. I remember it! I think I have photos, but they are in storage many miles and hours away from where I live. But the next time I go there, I will make a point of finding them, and if possible digitize and send them to you. Thank you for doing this. I know it's time consuming, but it felt meaningful that someone would go to the trouble of "co-remembering" with us. Heartfelt thanks.

James Zachary said...

Hi Sharon, thanks a million for stopping by. I was wondering where all of the extra traffic was coming from. Please thank Tammy Saxby Holt for me.

More photos would be AWESOME and more recollections like yours would be AWESOME; everything from everybody is welcome. I never dreamed this blog entry would take off like it had a life of its own. I am humbled, honored, and thankful. The participation has been indescribably fantastic.

My very best regards to everyone,


Melanie Iverson said...

It's unbelievable to see the pictures of Rugby near Manor Park. My mother grew up in and currently still resides in the home directly next to it (on the east side). Fortunately, she was not home during the devastation. I also grew up in that home and it's truly hard to believe the devastation that occurred to my neighborhood. To my home. My family still shares stories of that tragic day, but I couldn't quit grasp the reality of it until seeing these pictures.

Unknown said...

My family lived at jean terrace and manor road. I was five and attended Seth paine. They heard about the tornados down around Joliet so they dismissed classes. I remember walking home from school down pine tree and the sky was really green, needless to day I was super scared. My mom and dad were at work so they had no clue about the tornados till I called mom at work and said I was home because of the tornados. Next thing I knew she came home and started throwing things in the crawls space, then made me and my brother get in there. It suddenly got very loud and I remember a lot of vibration. It was over and we went out side and it looked like a war zone. All of our neighbors homes were destroyed and here we were with a house. The tornado hit the west side of hwy 12 and jumped over our house and hit 3 houses to the north on manor rd. We were so lucky.

I remember going to school in temporary government trailers they set up at may Whitney. I will never forget that day even though I was only 6. We were the Hoffmans on jean terrace. My brother was richard hoffman. We lived next to the marullis ( they owned al's radio and tv). What a memory.

Unknown said...

Zach. I just stumbled on the site. I grew up in Forest Lake but was away at college in Carthage Illinois at the time. Listening to Franklin McCormick the late night announcer on WGN radio. He lieved in Forest Lake, so that is how I found out about the tornadoes. I recall there was little damage in Forest Lake, but I remember coming home to the devastation n the Manor and how little was left of the newest addition to Lake Zurich's schools at the time, Seth Paine.

My best buddies dad Frank Randall Sr. was on the school board and I remember how devastated he was on the destruction to the Manor and Seth Paine. I do remember hearing of one death, but I do not ever recall hearing who that person was.

It was truly a miracle that with all that destruction there were so few deaths or injuries. It has been so great to read through all the memories and recollection. LZ, Hawthorn Woods, the Manor, the Heights we all knew each other and it truly was a great town to grow up in.

Te small community. I look forward to this fall, as the Class of '66 is having their 50th reunion, and even though I attended Carmel, they are inviting all of us who attended grade school in town to attend. I look forward to seeing friends I have not seen since the late 60's.

Thanks for filling in the past for many of us!!

Mike Schiller

Kyle D. Miller said...


I just came across the site, my Dad and his family lived on Northcrest at the time this occurred. The whole house was wiped out, I will have to show my Dad and Grandparents this site, reading through it I heard mentions of a Mr. Miller at the high school. That is my Grandpa, Ken Miller, my Dad, David Miller was there as well as his brothers and sisters. Some of you may know my Grandmother, she was Mrs. Miller the kindergarten teacher. Anyhow, very cool to see all this information, I always wondered what it was like. Just wanted to say I will pass this site along.

Anonymous said...

Karen A.
I am from Connecticut, but my family lived on Northcrest in Lake Zurich from 1965-1967. I attended Seth Paine School during first and second grades. My mom was absolutely terrified of tornadoes, as our house only had a crawl space and my dad traveled for business frequently. Consequently, we moved to a home in Algonquin that had a full basement in 1967 - only days before the tornado hit! Our house on Northcrest was leveled, and we never would have gone in that dirt crawl space! We still had some items in the house at the time. My mother's wedding gown was in a suitcase, and a neighbor found it and returned it to her. We moved back to Connecticut in 1969 because my mom never adjusted to the tornado season. My brother and I loved the Illinois winters as children.

okbye said...

I was 2 when the tornado happened and we didn't live in the Manor yet, we lived in Echo Lake. My grandpa, Joseph Swichtenberg, was the janitor at Seth Paine and he was normally at the school at the time the tornado hit but he had uncharacteristically gone home for lunch. They didn't know that at first and spent a bit of time looking for him in the rubble until they found out he had left. He never went home for lunch, it's so weird he did that day. In a way the tornado led to us moving to the Manor. My dad built a house on the hill top between Manor rd and RTE 22 and Rugby. The house that was there was flattened in the tornado. I think it was about 73 when we moved in.

okbye said...

I remember Mrs Miller! I think I can even picture her. Was she tall with dark hair, maybe a little curly or wavy? I had her for kindergarten. I don't remember many teachers but I remember her. I remember my 3rd grade teacher just because she was so awful to me, that's about it for grade school teachers.

scott feck said...

Great photos thanks for posting, I loved over on wilmette Terr when this hit, I remember my parents had many friends over in the subdivision that got hit, including the Fenners. I went to school with Cindy. I remember my father took me and drove over back past Hackneys and I remember all the lumber in the yards and my father going oh my god oh my god.....................

Anonymous said...

Hello Mary,
Chris Wagner here.
I think of you and your family often. I do work on your old house every now and again, as I know well its current residents.

Anonymous said...

So it's been 50 years....where did the time go?.... Enjoyed reading the previous comments. Hello to my brother Jim, who started this blog years ago. Two things stick out in my mind from the day and days following the tornado. The day after Jim and I took a walk down the street. Some cops stopped us and wanted us to go back home but Jim told them "My brother wants to see the school and we are going to the school." And away we went..:} The next day was the day our family delivered newspapers to the neighborhood. (Yes, we had a family paper route.) And we were told to put the newspapers in the driveway even if the house was no longer standing...:}
Anyhow, that is my two cents. Greetings to all you former (and present) Lake Zurichites.
Jeff Zachary

Tammy Holt said...

I was 7 at the time, a second grader at Seth Paine school. We were all home from school for maybe an hour before the tornado hit. There wasn't any warning in those days and my mom was watching debris flying around out the picture window and she thought the sky was as so pretty. My dad came home and yelled for us all to get down on the floor since there was a tornado right over our house. My little sister Debbie was just a toddler and wouldn't stay down so my mom kept chasing her around. After it hit and we could hear that it died down a bit, my dad went out to try and help neighbors. When he didnt return in a reasonable amount of time, my mom became worried and my brother, Kevin decided he would go looking for dad. My dad had walked all over the manor helping people get out of their demolished homes and made it to the Hinmans and helped them out of thier basement since they were trapped. He brought them to our house. I remember there being so much flooding after that the roads were just totally under water . I remember seeing electrical tires across the street from our house and crying because we were worried for our neighbors. I remember the national guard coming in and checking for passes to get into the manor. We all had to go to the old high school to get a pass if you lived in the manor. It was a scary time that's for sure!

Tammy Saxby Holt

Anonymous said...

Hello. Reminiscing the only tornado I personally experienced I found this site. I was looking for a tornado that hit Rolling Meadows and keep coming back to the tornado outbreak of '67. I too will never forget. we lived in unincorporated Palatine now RM. My mom was in the kitchen preparing dinner, listening to the radio, looking continually out the window. Mom kept us close in the kitchen. The sky turned pea green and it became totally quiet. We ran down to the basement and then it sounded just like a train over the house with everything shaking. When we came out our yard on both sides of our house was churned up like a giant cartoon mole had been digging. The tornado seemed to play checkers jumping over our house, our neighbor's house and then hitting downtown Rolling Meadows damaging the movie theater and a church. I believe that tornado occurred the same day but obviously did not cause the kind of damage found in LZ. I worked at DiPiero's in the late '70s. LZ has definitely changed like the rest of the area. It was an awesome area to grow up in. I live in North Barrington now close to 12 and LZ. I enjoyed reading these stories. Thanks

Sue (Fritch) McIntosh said...

Sue (Fritch) McIntosh, Georgetown, Texas

My memory of the tornado in Lake Zurich 50 years ago: I was ten years old and I attended St. Matthew. During recess, I remember it was an extremely windy day. The day was humid and the sky appeared to be yellow and hazy. The church/school had a rummage sale that day and I was excited to bring home a cookie tin with a kitty on the top to show my Mom. At this time, we lived in Hawthorn Woods on Lagoon Drive. My Dad and Mom saw the tornado and it appeared to be making its way toward our area. She told my brother, sister, and me to get into the crawl space that had an entryway from our basement (our house was a split-level). She instructed me to pray for God to protect us (I was crying). Fortunately, our area was spared. After the tornado disappeared, we all packed into the family station-wagon to see what had happened. The destruction was terrible. I felt so bad for all the families who lost their homes and hoped there had been no one in Seth Paine during the storm.
Years later, my family moved to the Manor Subdivision. We lived on Hollycourt Terrace. Flint Creek was next to our backyard. It was a great place to explore the creek back-in-the-day. One afternoon, Dad was digging around the foundation of this home and he found shards of glass embedded about 7-8 inches deep into the soil. We automatically knew the reason the glass was there. When Mom and Dad closed on that house, the previous owners left all the broken storm windows in the garage.
These memories never really fade. As I experience big storms in Texas, I am always fearful of tornadoes and then I remember my Mom’s words instructing me to pray.

Dave said...

Hi folks, My Father Harold Gloeckle took us on a ride in his old Dodge car that I never forgot.It was on a Sunday April 23,1967. I was only a 7 year old kid that attended Sunnyside School in Berkeley,IL in the first grade.Dad always took us for a Sunday ride on an adventure mainly to get us out of our home. The trip started up well up US Route 12 for many miles.I had no idea where Dad was taking us.
When we entered Lake Zurich up Rand Road I suddenly was aware of something that my young mind had never conceived to happen. To the East of US Route 12 just before the Elgin Joliet & Eastern Railroad underpass bridge was a sight I have never forgot even after 50 years.I was scared as I have never seen what a Tornado could do. I screamed to my Father & Mother look! There is a Blue Toilet & Bathtub sticking up on some black sewer pipes coming up from a concrete slab from somebodies' 2nd floor bathroom.The fixtures were hanging in mid-air from the sewer pipes! Those people did not even have a basement! I was so scared from that day in April 1967 that a tornado would hit our home anytime.I had bad dreams from seeing this for many years.I also had a day in first grade in 1967 to report this as a show & tell issue.The teacher & my fellow classmates in Sunnyside School were spellbound by my tales of what I had seen.
I hope that the people that lived on maybe Pine Tree Lane & Rugby St. got away from this nasty Tornado safely. Best Regards, Dave Gloeckle from Berkeley,IL

Illinois Gina said...

Hi, James - I visited your site and commented about 6 years ago now. This week our family was chatting about our old house in Acorn Acres, and that's what brought me back to your blog. The house we lived in had been built by my dad and we moved there in 1963. We moved to Mundelein in fall of 1966 and the house was hit by the tornado a few months later. As I mentioned in my earlier post, we were able to go into the neighborhood because the new owner of the house wanted to consult with my dad about whether it was salvagable. What started our conversation was that our old house is now up for sale and my brother saw the Zillow listing. The listing shows the year built as 1967, but that would have been a new building permit for the rebuild. I wonder if the people who own the house now are aware of it's history.
I saw Caryl Ingliss mentioned in an earlier post. She and I went to lunch a few years ago, and she shared some memorable details of the tornado. Apparently the roof was lifted up, the living room curtains sucked out, and then the roof placed back down--so the drapes were hanging on the outside of the house! Bill Krueger (Carmel Class of 1970) lived across the street from our old house. He has QUITE a story of the tornado that he shared with me at our HS reunion in 2010. It would be great if he could post it here.
One other thing--my aunt was quite a photographer/home movie buff, and she either took pictures or movies of Acorn Acres. My cousin has them, but we have talked about getting together to digitize them. If we ever get around to that, I will be sure to share them with you.
Also, I remember Mary Jo Streidl who posted here, and I've never forgotten her brother Mark who passed away.

"Zack" said...

Hi Illinois Gina, it is great to hear from you again! Thank you (and all the others) for adding to the recollections.

Additional photos or links to other photos / videos / web sites would be awesome and very welcome. I also would like to thank you and the many many many others who refer folks and /or link to to this site.

My very best wishes to all!

Anonymous said...

Just came across this. We just moved to LZ about 6 years ago and we weren't alive in '67 but it's been really cool learning about our town through you all. It seems like it was such a different place then.

"Zack" said...

Hey there Anon

Welcome aboard and thanks for stopping in.

LZ was a pretty cool place to grow up. I hear it still is.

Best wishes to ya!