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!
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.
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.