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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: Jack Newhouse

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Alan Staiger

Jack Newhouse was a teacher at the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphans' Home at the time of the 1974 Xenia tornado. He was on the campus of the Home when the tornado struck Xenia. Although the tornado did not hit the school or the campus, Mr. Newhouse could see it coming and took precautions to avoid damage to the facility or injury to the students and faculty.

Once the tornado had passed, Mr. Newhouse made his way to his home on the south end of town.  Once there, he discovered that his house had not been damaged, but because he had the only basement in the neighborhood, his neighbors had broken out a large picture window to seek shelter in his basement.

Jack Newhouse was interviewed by series producer Alan Staiger.  For more on the Greene County Public Library's Voices of Greene County series, click here.