Historical Images of Porter County

Kouts-Hebron Tornado
Hebron, Indiana

Date: May 26, 1917
Source Type: Postcard
Publisher, Printer, Photographer: Unknown
Postmark: June 9, 1917, Crown Point, Indiana
Collection: Steven R. Shook
Remark: Destruction on North Jefferson Street in Hebron, Indiana. The tipped over house is located at the northwest intersection of U.S. Route 231 and North Jefferson Street. Directly behind the tipped over house is the Ross family home (peak of roof visible), now 404 North Jefferson Street, which still stands. On the reverse of this postcard is written the following message to Joseph Griffith of Crystal, Michigan: "Dear Friend, Just got home from work and bought this card for you to see what the cyclone did at Hebron only 16 miles from us.... Marie." On May 26, 1917, northern Illinois and Indiana experienced a significant weather event spawning a tornado that caused significant destruction. The storm system spawning the tornado began at 3:10 pm in Mendota, Illinois, and traveled at a rate of approximately 40 miles per hour. The storm headed in a primarily easterly direction with a very slight southern tilt, traveling just north of Elwood, Illinois, then between Crown Point and Cedar Lake, Indiana, through Hebron, and then ending in Kouts at 5:56 pm. Intense darkness was reported by those directly in the path of the storm. In Illinois, hail stones from the storm system were measured to be the size of hen's eggs, while in Porter County hail stones measuring six to ten inches in circumference and one-half pound in weight were reported to have fallen thickly in the area. Property loss in Porter County alone was estimated to $500,000 (approximately $8.4 million in 2008 dollars). In Porter County, the mile wide tornado killed two individuals, D. B. Resh, an old farmer, and fifteen year old Julia Lane. Numerous livestock were also killed, twelve family dwellings were destroyed, and significant timber and orchards in the path of the twister were heavily damaged or destroyed. The Porter County Red Cross, which was founded just one month before this tornado (April 26, 1917), raised $2,000, while the American Red Cross appropriated $3,000 to Porter County for contingency relief. These funds were used to assist forty families in Porter County.

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Image and related text prepared by Steven R. Shook


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