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On April 3rd, 1974 people in Xenia saw black smoke rising, like a wall, and then the wall started turning in.It was an F-5 tornado. There were twisters all through Ohio and in other states- 148 were confirmed that day throughout the United States and Canada.The tornado that struck Xenia killed 32 people and injured over 1000. Two National Guardsmen also died fighting a fire. Hundreds of homes were shredded into bits and downtown was demolished.As part of an oral history project, staffers from the Greene County Public Library interviewed people who were in Xenia that day. And those voices make up our series.

Remembering the Xenia Tornado: Louise Crawley

Sharon Benedict

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.

Louise Crawey was interviewed by Sharon Benedict of the Greene County Public Library. Alan Staiger produced our series.  

Today, April 3rd, there will be a gathering at the Tornado Memorial, at the corner of N. Detroit Street and E. Market Street, in Xenia -at 4:15pm to commemorate the victims of the 1974 tornado.  A reception will immediately follow at the Xenia Community Library.  More information is available here.

For more on the Greene County Public Library's Voices of Greene County series, click here.

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