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Dakota Datebook

Aftermath of the 1957 Fargo Tornado

The Fargo newspaper headlines this week in 1957 concentrated on the devastating tornado that had leveled a large swath of the city only days before. An effort called “Operation Cleanup” was making progress with the damage caused by the twister that drilled through neighborhoods, especially the Golden Ridge area of North Fargo. On this date, the workers were hammered with rain during the daylight hours, but the dampness of the downpour did not deter the quest to aid their neighbors. It was a gargantuan task for the scores of overworked clean-up crews.

The Red Cross announced the need of at least $250,000 for the victims of the deadly storm. Citizens of nearly every age were helping, and they came from all around. Mayville high band members unanimously voted to cancel their long awaited and expensive first trip to Calgary, Canada. Instead they sent their travel money, and proceeds from two talent shows, to help Fargo. 

A United Fund for Fargo was established. It would partner with other groups through The Fargo Community Chest.

The chairman of the Fargo Red Cross disaster appeals committee named 23 locals to a disaster appeals unit. He announced, “Those of us who escaped the terrible disaster which struck Fargo and who are able to contribute to this cause should be - and I’m sure they are - thankful for an opportunity to do so.” 

The 1957 Fargo tornado, despite being in an area not familiar to many Americans, was said to be the best documented tornado in history. Researcher Ferguson Hall of the U.S. Weather Bureau said “We still don’t know what triggers a Tornado.” He added that researchers study available pictures and reports of the storms, and the well documented Fargo Forum reporting, especially the stunning pictures, had created an invaluable record. That entire treasure trove of photos was made available to the researchers.

Dakota Datebook written by Steve Stark

Source:

Fargo Forum Newspaper June 26, 1957

Minneapolis Morning Tribune June 22, 1957

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