Tricounty News

Commemorating a darker day in Fair Haven

Fair Haven locality hit by tornado

Three seriously injured. Others injured and bruised. Stock killed.

Reprinted from the Tri-County News June 27, 2002.

A tornado which struck the Fair Haven and Lyndon townships, Stearns County, at about 
4 p.m. Monday, May 2, 1927, caused severe injuries to five people, and did damage estimated at $100,000, completely wiping out the homes of Albert Giese, Ernest Triebel and Rhinehart Maurer.

The injured are:

Rhinehart Maurer, ribs broken, lung punctured, and face cut and bruised.

Mrs. Rhinehart Maurer, bruised and cut, face pounded with sand.

The Maurer baby, about one year old, was injured about the face and head.

Albert Giese, back injured, head and face bruised and cut.

Mrs. Albert Giese, ribs broken and side crushed. Two of the Giese boys were in the house with Mrs. Giese, but were not injured.

Mrs. Fred Markwardt suffered a heart attack as a result of the storm and the shock.

Leonard Luhman was returning to his home with his daughter from the school nearby. They were blown or tossed out of the car, and Mr. Luhman suffered wounds to his arm. The daughter escaped injury.

According to Rev. Lueck, pastor of the Fair Haven Lutheran Church, who was watching the clouds, the funnel-shaped cloud divided, one going more to the south, and twisted around over a territory, then the two seemed to unite and worked havoc at the Treibel, Maurer and Giese Homes. Many other places were badly damaged and may as well have been taken entirely as far as usefulness is concerned.

Doctors from other nearby towns, as well as Dr. Norris and Dr. Ridgway, were soon on the scene giving medical attention to the injured. Dr. Norris and Miss Frances were on the way to the Henry Schumann farm home, where the doctor had a patient, and he thinks they were between South Haven and Fair Haven when the storm struck.

Mr. and Mrs. Giese were taken in by their nearby neighbor, Truenows, where they are apparently recovering. Mr. and Mrs. Maurer and baby are being cared for at the home of his parents, Fred Maurer’s. They are reported as recovering, although Mr. Maurer’s condition has been serious.

The heavy wind started southeast of Kimball covering a territory one-half mile wide and continuing on, gaining force. The first damage, as reported here, done in the Fair Haven vicinity was at the D.J. Chamberlain farm, where the windmill and silo were destroyed and all out buildings moved and trees uprooted.

The windmill was blown down and chimneys blown off the William Muehring home.

The Lew Dean home suffered some damage, and also the Gutnecht home was touched up.

The John Rucks barn was tipped over on its side, and the windmill on Paul May’s farm was destroyed.

Windows were broken, and trees were broken and uprooted at the Albert Schmidt home.

The barn on the William Markwardt farm was taken, and other buildings damaged some, trees broken and torn out by the roots.

The house on the Fred Markwardt farm was damaged and trees uprooted. The barn here also was wrecked.

The storm then turned north, striking the Giese farm buildings in all its fury. Not a building was left; timber, grain, hay, bits of clothing and everything were mixed and strewn about. The field to the east is literally covered with the ruins of the buildings. The hay meadow farther on is peppered with timber and lumber, as if one had driven them in for posts. Some pieces were driven in the soil to a depth of six feet.

The next set of buildings destroyed were those of Rhinehart Maurer, where everything was swept away with the storm.

The John Mathees buildings on both farms are practically a total loss. The house on one farm is partly standing but racked almost beyond repair. Mr. Mathees had a fine set of buildings and well furnished. He was in Annandale when his home was blown to bits.

The John Damann farm home was next in the path of the storm. His buildings were valued at $20,000 and, with the exception of the house and milk house, everything is gone. The house is racked, windows out, and other damage done. A fine grove of evergreens lay there, torn to pieces and uprooted. Mr. and Mrs. Damann were in St. Cloud buying paint for their buildings when the storm swept their buildings away. Two of the girls were home alone but were not injured.

The new barn on the James Moran farm was moved off and split in two parts and reported as a totsl loss.

At the Ernest Triebel farm, the home, barn, and all buildings were as feathers to the tornado, not a thing is left standing. The family, being in the cellar, escaped uninjured.

Several head of stock met death or were injured, so they had to be killed. Chickens were seen with the wings torn off and shorn of feathers. Bedding and rugs with the corners off could be seen in the trees. Fine upholstered furniture was a mass of mud, hay, glass, etc. Incubator trays with chicks about to hatch were seen among the timbers and bits of lumber. At one home, the ice house was blown away, leaving the ice piled up as it was when it had been put up. Granaries were blown away, the grain left on the ground.

Hail as large as hen’s eggs followed the tornado. The storm continued on and reached nearly to Clearwater. Hailstones were found there that measured over ten inches around. Cars left on the street or in the open were pretty well punctured.

Businessmen from South Haven and neighbors have volunteered their services and are assisting to assemble the ruins and get up some temporary buildings.

Lundeen Brothers of Annandale had two men and two trucks all day Tuesday gathering the grain and getting it in storage and assisting in every way possible to relieve conditions in the storm vicinity.

Albert Giese was in the yard watching the approaching storm. He clung to a large tree, and soon the tree was taken and he was hurled under some brush. He was struck by flying pieces of lumber and partly covered. He carried no insurance on the buildings.

Text from the Annandale Advocate, May 5, 1927.

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Country schools, Do you have any older photographs of
Kimball’s country schools? The Kimball Area Historical Society would appreciate copying them to enhance this year’s 2014 theme that includes Kimball’s country school memories. If you can help us, it will complete this year’s August Kimball Days unique history exhibit at City Hall. Thank you. Contact us as early as possible at our information below.

Welcome new members and thank you for membership renewals which is the main support for the Kimball Area Historical Society. Come and enjoy an evening of relaxation, reminisce at one of our regular events: Tom Stanton presents The history of Lake Francis and the surrounding areas at
7 p.m. Tuesday, June 24, at
Kimball’s historic City Hall on Main Street. Save the date. No charge.

If you have something of your own to share with our readers, we welcome your contribution of story, with or without photo. Write, call or email us at Kimball Area Historical Society,
PO Box 55 Kimball MN 55353, (320) 398-5250, or 398-5743, or history
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Saturday, June 28, Fair Haven’s Old Settlers Celebration includes our history exhibit and more, even a parade. Watch this column for more details, save the date. No charge.

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