Historical marker describing the Tornado in 1917
Tornado struck city at approximately 3:30 p.m. March 23, 1917. Moved through north side of town, affecting roughly ninety blocks. Mayor and others formed Citizens Relief Committee. Next morning Red Cross joined forces with Committee; within hours, workers deployed throughout affected area. Red Cross nurses treated injured at St. Edward Hospital.
Tornado killed at least 45 people, injured hundreds more, destroyed approximately 300 homes and buildings, left 2,500 homeless, cost over $1,000,000 in total damage. At this site, "Olden Street Colored School" collapsed during the storm, trapping teachers and students; there were several deaths. Tornado ranks among deadliest to strike Indiana since 1900.