Worcester, MA Terrible Tornado Death and Damage, June 1953

Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Destruction from the tornado, photo from thebostonchannel.com Assumption College after the tornado, photo from thebostonchannel.com

80 DEAD AND 700 INJURED IN WORCESTER TORNADO.

THOUSANDS OF HOMES WRECKED; PROPERTY LOSS IN MILLIONS.

"MINOR" TWISTER HITS FRANKLIN AND WRENTHAM SECTOR; EXETER, N. H. SLAMMED.

Worcester, June 10 (UP) -- New England's worst tornadoes in history left thousands shocked and homeless today, damage in the millions of dollars and a steadily rising death toll.

The death toll climbed to 80 with 71 identified. Six unidentified bodies were at a hospital morgue here and three at a Shrewsbury funeral home. Thus the nation's three-day twister toll was 234, with 154 having died in tornadoes in Nebraska and the Ohio-Michigan area.

Hardest hit by the New England tornadoes was Worcester county, a textile and manufacturing center, where estimates of injured ran up to 700. Thousands of homes were wrecked and property loss was estimated in the millions of dollars.
Elsewhere, a comparatively "minor" twister snarled through the Franklin-Wrentham section of Massachusetts, damaging scores of buildings, sending 35 persons to hospitals, and hurling hailstones "as big as snowballs." A twin-funnel monster also demolished a dozen building and a country club at Exeter, N. H.

Meteorologist CHARLES F. BROOKS, of the Harvard observatory at Milton said the New England tornadoes were spawned by the same squall line as those in the west. He said the worst previous tornado in New England occurred Aug. 9, 1878, in Wallingford, Conn., when 34 were killed.

But these were mere pygmies compared to the blast that chewed along a 25-mile strip from Petersham to Southboro, Mass., leaving at least 10,000 shocked and homeless -- dependent on improvised "dormitories" for shelter and on soup kitchens for food.

Flee To Cellar.
Perhaps the first to see the impending disaster were MR. and MRS. GEORGE JONES of Petersham, standing together by the picture window of their home overlooking the Hardwick Hills. They fled for the cellar as the inky funnel thundered closer, and heard the barn yanked from its foundations.

Continued