Anoka, MN Tornado, June 1939

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More Photos of the Anoka Tornado

Name Emergency Committee

A special emergency committee was appointed to direct rehabilitation work. Its members are E. J. BELL, secretary of Anoka Commercial club, ROBERT EHLEN, GEORGE GREEN, and GRAYDON COLBURN, Anoka business men.

All eyewitnesses to the disaster emphasized the sudden fury with which the tornado struck. There was no time, they said, to seek the safety of cellars and basements.

Saw Tornado Strike

JOSEPHINE BRANT, 18, Minneapolis, saw the twister strike. With her parents, she had been on a fishing trip, and was approaching Anoka on the return trip.
“I saw the funnel strike the edge of the town and then sweep on through. It moved with terrific speed. I could see timbers being thrown into the air, and buildings falling. Some timbers were carried as high as 300 feet into the air.”

Entering the town, MISS BRANT saw druggists passing out first-aid kits without charge, men and women seeking frantically for missing relatives, the injured being taken to the hospital by dozens.

“The streets were full of broken glass, trees blown down, wires hanging in tangles,” she said. “It was an awful sight an I'll never forget it.”

Draws Up Water

J. T. SWISHER, maintenance man out to repair a line, stopped 50 feet from the funnel of the tornado, and watched it draw up a half-mile column of water from the Mississippi river in a great steam-like cloud.

List of Dead In Anoka Tornado

ANOKA, Minn. (U.P.) -- List of casualties in the Anoka tornado:
H. G. GROAT, 95, Anoka.
G. SYRING, Anoka.
LEE KIDD, 25, Osseo.
FRED ZIMMERMAN, 50, Champlin.
EMIL JOHNSON, 40, Cedar.
MRS. ANNA FREEMAN, 76, Minneapolis.
JAMES BRADLEY, her son-in-law, Minneapolis.
ELLEN FREEMAN, another daughter.

MRS. FREEMAN, her son-in-law and daughter were the group killed near Corcoran when the tornado crushed their car.

The Brainerd Daily Dispatch Minnesota 1939-06-19