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.
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.
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.
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
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
Tom Skilling Article
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
. 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.