August 21, 1883: Rochester, MN Tornado Aftermath Photos

The images below are aftermath photos of the Rochester Tornado on August 21, 1883.  A special thanks to Olmsted County Historical Society who provided us with the pictures below. These images may not be reproduced for any reason without the express written consent from them.

A timber blown through an oak tree by the force of the storm.
The destroyed C. Smith's residence is shown with the roof on the ground. In front of the collapsed building in a pile of rubble is a boot and a stove.
Several people are viewing the damage from the tornado. A man is standing next to a piece of furniture and a boy is sitting with a large toy horse. Among the debris on the ground is a stove, windows and an umbrella. The inscription on the photo is: "Cascade Park, 20 houses destroyed, 8 persons killed near here."
A timber blown through an oak tree by the force of the storm. (Photo taken by J. C. Cook) The destroyed C. Smith's residence is shown with the roof on the ground. In front of the collapsed building in a pile of rubble is a boot and a stove. (Photo taken by J. C. Cook) Several people are viewing the damage from the tornado. A man is standing next to a piece of furniture and a boy is sitting with a large toy horse. Among the debris on the ground is a stove, windows and an umbrella. The inscription on the photo is: "Cascade Park, 20 houses destroyed, 8 persons killed near here." (Photo taken by Elmer & Tenney)
A timber blown through an oak tree by the force of the storm.
Part of the destroyed residential section is shown in this photo taken after the tornado. Several homes are badly damaged and many are completely destroyed.
Part of the destroyed residential section is shown in this photo taken after the tornado. Several homes are badly damaged and many are completely destroyed.
Two children are sitting on piles of bricks at the rear of the destroyed Rochester Harvester Works building. Piles of lumber and bricks surround the children. (Photo taken by J. C. Cook) Part of the destroyed residential section is shown in this photo taken after the tornado. Several homes are badly damaged and many are completely destroyed. (Photo taken by Elmer & Tenney) Part of the destroyed residential section is shown in this photo taken after the tornado. Several homes are badly damaged and many are completely destroyed. (Photo taken by Elmer & Tenney)
A dirt road is flanked on both sides by destroyed and damaged homes.
Cole's Mill, located in North Rochester (front view), lost part of the roof and sections of the walls.
Two women are walking among the debris, another woman is sitting down. The trees have lost their leaves in the storm. Very little is recognizable among the piles of rubble except a chair and a wagon wheel.
A dirt road is flanked on both sides by destroyed and damaged homes. (Photo taken by Charles A. Tenney) Cole's Mill, located in North Rochester (front view), lost part of the roof and sections of the walls. (Photo taken by J. C. Cook) Two women are walking among the debris, another woman is sitting down. The trees have lost their leaves in the storm. Very little is recognizable among the piles of rubble except a chair and a wagon wheel. (Photo taken by Charles A. Tenney)
The destroyed Proud's residence is shown in this photo with the wagon wheels among the debris in the front.
The destructive force of the tornado is evident in this scene of destroyed homes in the residential section of North Rochester. About one third of the city was completely destroyed and the remainder was heavily damaged. North Rochester, or Lower Town was the hardest hit. This section of the city was largely inhabited by working people.
This photo was taken in North Rochester near the Cook and Proud residences. People are looking through piles of rubble. A dead horse is in the foreground, possibly impaled with a tree or branch.
The destroyed Proud's residence is shown in this photo with the wagon wheels among the debris in the front. (Photo taken by J. C. Cook) The destructive force of the tornado is evident in this scene of destroyed homes in the residential section of North Rochester. About one third of the city was completely destroyed and the remainder was heavily damaged. North Rochester, or Lower Town was the hardest hit. This section of the city was largely inhabited by working people. (Photo taken by J. C. Cook) This photo was taken in North Rochester near the Cook and Proud residences. People are looking through piles of rubble. A dead horse is in the foreground, possibly impaled with a tree or branch. (Photo taken by Charles A. Tenney)
The west end of Cole's Mill was blown in, the roof blown off, the corner of a wall torn out, the machinery damaged and the cooper shop destroyed. Eight box cars were overturned and two carloads of flour were in the mill race. John M. Cole, the proprietor of the mill was found dead in the street between the mill and his residence. He had apparently left the mill to go home when he was killed by the storm. In the foreground is the leveled home of Paul Thompson, who worked for the mill and occupied a home rented from the mill. The stove is all that is recognizable of any of the house furnishings.
This large building was completely destroyed. Roof timbers are broken and laying on a pile of loose bricks. The caption reads "Machine Shop".
This photo shows debris caught in trees, trees with no leaves and piles of rubble everywhere.
The west end of Cole's Mill was blown in, the roof blown off, the corner of a wall torn out, the machinery damaged and the cooper shop destroyed. Eight box cars were overturned and two carloads of flour were in the mill race. John M. Cole, the proprietor of the mill was found dead in the street between the mill and his residence. He had apparently left the mill to go home when he was killed by the storm. In the foreground is the leveled home of Paul Thompson, who worked for the mill and occupied a home rented from the mill. The stove is all that is recognizable of any of the house furnishings. (Photo taken by Charles A. Tenney) This large building was completely destroyed. Roof timbers are broken and laying on a pile of loose bricks. The caption reads "Machine Shop". (Photo taken by Charles A. Tenney) This photo shows debris caught in trees, trees with no leaves and piles of rubble everywhere. (Photo taken by Elmer & Tenney)
The force of the winds from the 1883 tornado blew the railroad bridge into the Zumbro River.
Vedder's Farm Machinery Depot was the largest in Southeastern Minnesota. It was built in 1879 and located on the corner of 5th and Broadway. About 75 feet of his store was destroyed. Albert D. Vedder and his wife were in the cellar and saved from death by heavy timbers that lodged above them and kept the ruined masonry from crushing them.
This is the view from Cole's Mill showing the residential section of Rochester.
The force of the winds from the 1883 tornado blew the railroad bridge into the Zumbro River. (Photo taken by Elmer & Tenney) Vedder's Farm Machinery Depot was the largest in Southeastern Minnesota. It was built in 1879 and located on the corner of 5th and Broadway. About 75 feet of his store was destroyed. Albert D. Vedder and his wife were in the cellar and saved from death by heavy timbers that lodged above them and kept the ruined masonry from crushing them. (Photo taken by Charles A. Tenney) This is the view from Cole's Mill showing the residential section of Rochester. (Photo taken by Elmer & Tenney)
One building in this scene of a section of Broadway is still standing. The wooden walkway is also damaged in several sections. (Photo taken by Elmer & Tenney) Most of the houses have been destroyed in this view of a street in Rochester. The buildings left standing are all heavily damaged. (Photo taken by Elmer & Tenney) Cole's Mill is viewed from the mill race showing six overturned railroad cars and another railroad car at the end of the race. The mill was extensively damaged by the 1883 tornado. John M. Cole, the proprietor of the mill was found dead in the street between the mill and his residence. He had apparently left the mill to go home when he was killed by the storm.
The railroad tracks leading up to Cole's Mill are blocked by an overturned railroad car. John M. Cole, the proprietor of the mill was found dead in the street between the mill and his residence. He had apparently left the mill to go home when he was killed by the storm.
The mill race is filled with debris and an overturned railroad car. The damaged Cole's Mill is in the background. A horse and buggy stand near the mill. John M. Cole, the proprietor of the mill was found dead in the street between the mill and his residence. He had apparently left the mill to go home when he was killed by the storm.
This photo was taken from Cole's Mill and it shows the extensive property damage.
The railroad tracks leading up to Cole's Mill are blocked by an overturned railroad car. John M. Cole, the proprietor of the mill was found dead in the street between the mill and his residence. He had apparently left the mill to go home when he was killed by the storm. The mill race is filled with debris and an overturned railroad car. The damaged Cole's Mill is in the background. A horse and buggy stand near the mill. John M. Cole, the proprietor of the mill was found dead in the street between the mill and his residence. He had apparently left the mill to go home when he was killed by the storm. (Photo taken by Charles A. Tenney) This photo was taken from Cole's Mill and it shows the extensive property damage. (Photo taken by Charles A. Tenney)
This view of North Rochester shows the most heavily settled section of the city. Very few houses are still standing. This photo was taken from Cole's Mill.
View of South Broadway showing the destruction caused by the 1883 tornado. The object in the foreground is a roll of tin that was torn off the Heaney Building by the 1883 tornado. The Heaney Block is on the right, with the Cook House across the street (to the left of Heaney Block). On the 3rd floor of Heaney Hall, Dr. William Worrall Mayo set up a temporary hospital for the care of those injured in the tornado.
The Winona and St. Peter Railroad yards were heavily damaged by the tornado.
This view of North Rochester shows the most heavily settled section of the city. Very few houses are still standing. This photo was taken from Cole's Mill. (Photo taken by Elmer & Tenney) View of South Broadway showing the destruction caused by the 1883 tornado. The object in the foreground is a roll of tin that was torn off the Heaney Building by the 1883 tornado. The Heaney Block is on the right, with the Cook House across the street (to the left of Heaney Block). On the 3rd floor of Heaney Hall, Dr. William Worrall Mayo set up a temporary hospital for the care of those injured in the tornado. (Photo taken by Charles A. Tenney) The Winona and St. Peter Railroad yards were heavily damaged by the tornado. (Photo taken by E. S. Crowell)
The tin from the roof of the Heaney Block was rolled up and dropped on the street by the force of the tornado. Just to the left (south) is the Cook House, built in 1869. The Heaney Block was built by Daniel Heaney in 1866. It was in this building, on the 3rd floor, where Dr. William W. Mayo set up temporary hospital for the care of those injured in the tornado.
The T. P. Hall Buggy Works lost part of the roof and the side of the building in the tornado. Carriages and wagons are visible as well as the remains of an freight elevator structure. The business was located on the corner of College Street and Main Street.
The Chicago & North Western Railroad yards received severe damage from the tornado. Box cars, buildings and stock pens were destroyed.
The tin from the roof of the Heaney Block was rolled up and dropped on the street by the force of the tornado. Just to the left (south) is the Cook House, built in 1869. The Heaney Block was built by Daniel Heaney in 1866. It was in this building, on the 3rd floor, where Dr. William W. Mayo set up temporary hospital for the care of those injured in the tornado. (Photo taken by Charles A. Tenney)
The T. P. Hall Buggy Works lost part of the roof and the side of the building in the tornado. Carriages and wagons are visible as well as the remains of an freight elevator structure. The business was located on the corner of College Street and Main Street. (Photo taken by Elmer & Tenney)
The Chicago & North Western Railroad yards received severe damage from the tornado. Box cars, buildings and stock pens were destroyed. (Photo taken by Elmer & Tenney)
The Northrop School was leveled by the 1883 tornado. This school served students of the Third Ward.
A man is leaning against a wall of the Weber's residence. Another wall lies flat on the ground and the roof is missing.
 
The Northrop School was leveled by the 1883 tornado. This school served students of the Third Ward. (Photo taken by Elmer & Tenney) A man is leaning against a wall of the Weber's residence. Another wall lies flat on the ground and the roof is missing. (Photo Taken by J. C. Cook)  

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