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Tornado Cost and Cleanup


Still stunned by the tornado that ripped through Fargo the previous week, residents were in the exhaustive process of disaster clean-up. On this date in 1957, funds for aiding the victims passed the $50,000 mark. The Forum newspaper reported the following day that the money gave a strong morale boost to the hundreds of people engaged in the dismal aftermath of the tornado.

The state’s civil defense director, Noel Tharalson, said the tornado will serve as an incentive for increased public cooperation with the civil defense program. He said the public has held the apathetic attitude that it can’t happen here. But happen it did, and now seven days beyond the storm, volunteers were in full force in the Cass County Red Cross Center. The volunteers came from across the city and the surrounding communities. Fargo firefighter William Stewart was in charge of directing volunteers. He said “A lot of people are calling asking what they can do and if they should come to town. I’ve been telling them they can come and bring a truck and then go into the area and help where they are needed.”

The sunny skies of Wednesday June 26 looked down on several hundred volunteers engaged in the immense task of clean up. A telethon set for disaster aid was scheduled for four television and three radio stations in various cities including Valley City, Minot, Bismarck, and Dickinson. State Savings Bond offices announced that lost bonds would be replaced upon application. Churches announced food donation stations.

Approximately 950 telephones were out, and 400-500 homes or businesses remained without power. Northern States Power Company had estimated earlier that more than 3,000 service locations had been knocked out. Two of Fargo’s northern streets that had been closed since the storm finally reopened for traffic.

The hardest hit area, Golden Ridge, was littered with wreckage. Weary residents, mostly women and children, poked and prodded through the rubble that had been their homes. With personal and household items scattered across the city, the Fargo Police station set up a clearinghouse for recovered articles. Residents were told to bring found items to the station to create a chance that their owners might retrieve them.

Dakota Datebook written by Steve Stark

Source: June 27, 1967 The Fargo Forum and Daily Tribune morning edition