Jack Newhouse was a teacher at the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphans' Home at the time of the 1974 Xenia tornado. He was on the campus of the Home when the tornado struck Xenia. Although the tornado did not hit the school or the campus, Mr. Newhouse could see it coming and took precautions to avoid damage to the facility or injury to the students and faculty.
Yesterday in our series “Remembering the Xenia Tornado,” we heard from Louise Crawley about how she and her husband got messages to the residents of Xenia with their ham radio sets. Today, Neva Brown on setting a table in the midst of destruction.
This week, we’re remembering the Xenia tornado of 1974, the furious sound and the silence that came afterwards. Many looked up afterwards to no roof, only sky, and then they began to climb out from under debris to see what had happened. Hundreds of homes were in piles and phone lines had been destroyed. Louise Crawley knew what to do. Her husband was a firefighter with the Fairborn Fire Department, and they both were ham radio operators. Here is some of her oral history interview with the Greene County Public Library.
When people tell the story of the April 3, 1974 tornado, it begins with small details of the afternoon- letting the dog out, going for pizza, watching TV after school. The Andy Griffith show was interrupted by the WHIO TV weatherman with a warning to take cover. Donna Otneal shared her memories of that day with our series producer.
Yesterday, we heard from Janine and Brian Montgomery of Xenia. They were in the downtown Pizza Hut when the F5 tornado hurtled through on April 3rd, 1974. When it was over, there was no roof on the Pizza Hut and Brian says he started to look for his wife Janine in the jumble.