Austin, MN Tornado Destruction, Aug 1928

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BIG STORM TOLL IN MINNESOTA, NORTHERN IOWA.

EIGHT DEAD, NEARLY ONE HUNDRED INJURED AS RESULT OF TORNADO; HOMES AND BUSINESS PLACES WRECKED.

St. Paul, Minn., Aug. 21 -- (AP) -- Death of two persons in a hospital today brought to eight the known fatalities in the tornado that swept two southern Minnesota counties and northern Iowa points late yesterday afternoon.
Scores more injured were reported, bringing the list to nearly 100 as farmers brought more storm victims in automobiles to town for medical attention.
It was believed that as lines of communication are restored many others would be listed among the injured from smaller towns and rural communities.
The latest dead are MARVIN BAUMGARDNER of Austin who died in a hospital from injuries received when the tornado crushed his home, killing outright his 12 year old son HAROLD, and MRS. HARRY JOHNSON, who was hurt when her home crumbled under the blast of the wind.
Austin, Minn., suffered the greatest casualties with three deaths, half a hundred injuries and business buildings and residences wrecked.
A fourth Minnesota casualty was near Glenville, Minn., while two women were killed at a resort called Twin Lakes near Rockwell City, Iowa.
The known dead:
AUGUST A. NEUBAUER, 40, automobile mechanic, of Austin.
HAROLD BAUMGARDNER, 12, of Austin.
LAVERNE ROBERTS, of Nora Springs, Iowa, all were killed at Austin.
MRS. CHRIS O. HAGEN, at Glenville, Minn.
STELLA POWELL, 45, of Traer, and
MRS. GEORGE STEER, 50, of Havelock, killed at Twin Lakes, in Iowa, in a second tornado.
One hundred members of the American Legion aided members of Company H, Minnesota National Guard, in patrolling the streets of Austin today as a re-check of the damage was started after a night of darkness, due to failure of power lines.
Fifteen of the persons injured at Austin required hospital treatment, and three were not expected to recover.
The Minnesota tornado apparently started in the vicinity of Emmeons, in Freeborn County, near the Iowa line. It swung north eastward, missing Glenville and working its way into Austin and then turned to enter Iowa.
As the tornado swept on toward Austin, farm buildings and crops were crushed. A heavy rain which followed added to the discomforts and roads were flooded and some pavement washed away and basements flooded.
More than fifty automobiles were wrecked in Austin by the storm, which seemed to pick out and follow Main Street, the chief thoroughfare, through the city. Starting at 4:55 p.m. the tornado in less than eight minutes had covered a path two miles long in Austin, where the damage was estimated at more than $500,000.
Among those who witnessed the storm, was Harold Hartson, 17, of Brownsdale, Minn., who had gone to Austin to register for his high school term.
He and 15 other youths sought safety in the basement of the high school. Hartson said the funnel shaped cloud descended at the Mower County Fair Grounds and came into the city.
All the buildings at the fair, which was to have opened today were wrecked.
Doctors at the hospital worked under severe handicaps, because of lack of lights and electric power.
Efforts were made to hook up the city power lines with the Hormel Packing Company, power plant. Jay Hormel, head of the packing concern personally directed the work of his power crew.
The Austin Municipal electric light plant was a total wreck and it probably will be a month or more before it is in operation again.
Numerous refugees were cared for during the night at the armory. There minor hurts were treated and coffee and sandwiches were served to the unfortunates.

Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune 1928-08-21