Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.

KILLER TORNADO STRUCK CLARENCE-SPRINGPORT AREA 100 YEARS AGO

Morning Star, May 28, 2017, pg. 11

It was 100 years ago on June 6, 1917 that a killer tornado struck the northern part of Calhoun and Jackson Counties, particularly Pennfield, Marshall, Marengo, Clarence and Springport Townships. The tornado passed six miles north of Albion between noon and 1 pm on that fateful afternoon. The Albion Recorder recorded the details the following day. Here are some excerpts:

"The storm took a northeasterly direction, just enough to swing it north of Albion. In this vicinity, at the farm of Albert Dean, straight north of the city six miles on the Duck Lake Road, Mr. Dean’s barn was a mass of ruins…The Frank Tooley farm was next visited by the tornado…The large barn on the Fred Clark farm was razed...On the farm of Jacob Krenerick, a half mile northeast of the Dean farm, things were in ruinous state. The home of Fred Kopp near the White schoolhouse was ruined, part of the roof being blown away…The barn was literally spread all over the farm. Nothing was left on the farm of Fred Stark to denote that people had lived there."

"From the Stark farm…it reached the outskirts of Springport, and fortunately it veered from the village itself but swept clean a path which went to the southeast and east of the town. A half dozen homes, including those of William Mock, Edward Carpenter, George Dimmick, Robert Parker and Frank Baldwin, were ruined together with other buildings on the same farms."

"At the Carpenter farm, Mrs. Flo Brown of Chicago, who was visiting there was killed, her back being broken. Two of the Carpenter children were badly injured, and one of them may die."

The path of the tornado soon became a "tourist site" the following day, as the Recorder observed on June 8: "The storm district north of the city and near Springport is being visited by hundreds of people from Albion daily…Probably the most visited place is the site of the fine house and barns of Fred Stark. Here the twister got in its worst work, as every bit of the buildings was blown away. The fact that five people in the house managed to escape death here is hardly believable after one looks the place over. Large pieces of the sidewalls of the practically new house are to be seen from fifty to a hundred yards away from the foundations. Immense beams from the barn were thrown a similar distance."

From our Historical Notebook this week we picture the ruins of the Fred Stark farm near Springport. How many our readers remember your ancestors talking about this tornado?


Springport tornado damage, June 6, 1917

Next: ALBION 100 YEARS AGO: JUNE 1917

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