Rochester Tornado Aug. 21, 1883 #ThrowbackThursday

August 21, 2016, marked the 133rd Anniversary of the Rochester, Minnesota, F5 tornado. Besides this tornado, there were two other F3 tornadoes on that afternoon. These tornadoes affected parts of Dodge, Olmsted, and Winona counties, and they accounted for 40 fatalities and more than 200 injuries.

Prior to these tornadoes, there were only three hospitals in the state of Minnesota outside of the Twin Cities. None of these hospitals were located near Rochester. After the F5 tornado struck Rochester, a dance hall (Rommel Hall) was transformed into a temporary emergency room. Doctors William Mayo and his two sons (William and Charles) took charge of caring for patients. Mother Alfred Moes of the Sisters of St. Francis helped care for patients as well. After this disaster, the Mayo family and the Sisters of St. Francis realized the need for a hospital in Rochester. They banded together to form Saint Marys Hospital, which ultimately led to the creation of Mayo Clinic.

Read more about the tornadoes.

This view from Cole's Mill shows the residential section of Rochester, MN which was struck by a tornado around 7 PM on August 21, 1883. (Photo taken by Elmer & Tenney)
This view from Cole's Mill shows the residential section
of Rochester, MN, that was struck by a tornado around 7 p.m.
on August 21, 1883. (Photo taken by Elmer & Tenney)
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Alyssa Frank

Alyssa Frank is a Marketing Associate at Mayo Medical Laboratories. She supports marketing strategies for product management and specialty testing. Alyssa has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2015.