Jeffersontovn's newspaper since 1907
stories to tell
A ferocious tornado dropped out of
a grey and
blustery Jefferson County
sky last Wednesday at 4:30 pm and
tore a path of near-tota- l
across the East End from Cherokee
Park to Glenview.
In the estimated 15 minutes it took
to rip its way through some of the
state's wealthiest residential sections,
the storm left at least 360 families
homeless, another 1,300 homes damaged, four schools in shambles, five
persons dead and dozens injured.
It was the county's worst disaster
since an 1890 tornado killed over 100.
Many residents are still without elec-tricity
eight days later.
Churning with winds estimated at
from 200 to 300 miles an hour, the
tornado moved at a speed of about 50
miles an hour northeast from Standi-forField across Bardstown Road,
through Cherokee Park, Crescent Hill,
Rolling Fields, Indian Hills, Notthfield
just north of Frankfort Avenue in Crescent Hill, bore the
brunt of the storm's wrath. Each of the 26 homes pictured shows some sign of tornado
disaster often is
distant event written
are throughout this issue.
Ammermin saon!) altei thr
in watched its approach
as he list.-neto a ra lin in a first
floor room of the church renter,
"When I first spotted it, l
me annus downstairs and it
W"I'C there lor abnllt t.'
Storm damage brings water crisis
Wednesdays tornado missed
but by Thursday morning, the
(lly te (Is eft, .i ts.
Hy 11 ::h) am I hurs lay, Jefferson-town'- s
water supply was down to an
emergency level, aci ordlng In water
company manager Thomas A. Wlther-spooJeffer-sontow-
"If Louisville (Water ( o.) has stayed
off 15 more minutes Thursday morning, WO would havo been completely
without water. All our tanks were empty
and there was aUut 25 feet of water
in the risers (largo plM' luudlnu to
the tanks)," he said.
Jeffersuntown ollcc went to the major
water users, mostly In tin Uluegrass
Industrial Park, and asked them to
either close their business or l very
conservative on water use, he said.
No Java today
from everyone, Celane.se Coatings Co.,
the largest unit, closed, anil someone
told ine they didn't serve coffee ut
the Hamada (hut morning. Fverjlxidy
cooperated with the exception of unit
company," Wlthursoon Nald, Ilo declined to name (ho company,
Police contacted some merchants on
the Town Square, asking them to close
their businesses, but before that effort
took effect, the emergency was over,
When the electricity went oft Wednesday afternoon at 4:45 pm, there was
23 feet of water in the tanks, which
Is normal for that time of the afternoon, he said.
At 9 pm Wednesday, alarms were set
to go off when the level reached 10
feet. The alarm went off between 6 and
7 am Thursday, he said, but at ll:l!j am,
the telemeter quit registering, meaning
all water was out of the timks, at emergency level, Witherspoon added.
Water pressure at this time was at 40
IKiunds. Residents were getting only
trickles from their faucets.
Then, at 12:45 pm, Louisville started
pumping again, so the crisis was over,
"If we'd had a big fire (during the
emergency period), it would have been
disastrous. (Fire chief Robert H.)
Caddie rigged up a pump at the sewer
plant to fill up his tank truck. He would
have had to haul the water," Witherspoon said.
Mattingly, who was
acting police chief on Wednesday, said
there were no police-relate- d
In Jeffersontown during the period following the tornado.
"When it hit, I got every man out.
We got 100 percent participation, every
car was on the road. We kept all the
wagons (which are equipped for hospital
runs) clear for any emergency run,
"I told them even If they were called
to St. Matthews or to Louisville or
anywhere, go," Mattingly said.
The principal duties of Jeffersontown
police were to keep the traffic flowing
during the three-hoelectrical blackout period Wednesday, and to patrol
Mattingly said they contacted county
police and offered assistance. The 12- -
in Louisthe tor-
nado warniui'.s early Wednesday alter-noo- u
was J.tck Amnieim.m, director
Hill fluid; ei, s en- ter at 2H22 Frankfort Ave.
As a result, the 25 or so children
had lieen in ,i basement pla .ii.m
of St. Mark's Fpiscopal (.'hll'vii he;
o.'er an hi nr.' v. hen the
and the tornado blew over,
"It blew out the small, collar-t'.pwindows in the basemeat an nj; ears
popped from the piessiire,'' said a
Stories and pictures
AS THE TORNADO crashed through Crescent Hill, it was photographed from Thierman Lane in St. Matthews by amateur photographer James Harrod. The storm did not have a clearly-definefunnel at this point, but winds at the base of the cloud were estimated at over 200 miles an hour. Harrod took the picture from the
second floor of his apartment at 162 Thierman Lane, looking west
over the St. Matthews fire station.
Mark Thompson, a UL College student
and photograpliur for The
v.is at home on 2749
Cliffwood, just off Grinsteart Drive when
the tornado arrived.
"I.ady, our dog had been frantic for
atout an hour before it happened,"
he remembered. He had been listening to Wl.HS radio all afternoon, but
had heard no warnings.
At alxjut 4:30 lie was about to start
out on his paper route when he saw
the ( loud. He called his brother Alan
to come out and look at it, ran upstairs for a camera, but never had a
chance to take any pictures.
As I was going back into the living
room, ttie wind hurled a sofa across
the room. We heard windows breaking,
so we hit the floor and covered our
heads with our hands.
'Then there was a calm period. We
made It to the basement and huddled
in a corner. I thought the whole house
would fall In on us when I heard the
foundation shift and saw soot falling,
I heard a tree lall on the kitchen and
heard others whip around the house
as they gouged the weather boards and
After the storm passed, they ran upreally couldn't
stairs and saw
believe. The whole concept of the neighborhood had vanished. Homes that used
to rest in a grove of trees were in
shambles an the trees were flattened,
'The girl across the street was
screaming in horror and two doors
away a family of four was climbing
out of their roof because their house
was hint; on its side."
Amoni; the many peisoiii
who heard and
week, disaster came home.
and Glenview Heights before it lifted
off to the east.
This week it looked as if huge
sections of Cherokee Park and Crescent
Hill had been chopped to their knees.
before it actually hit." The teachers
and about 2a children huddled in the
center of the room and were unhurt.
As soon as it was safe, all moved
upstairs to the dining room and a light
supper was being served by candlelight until worried parents could collect their children.
Immediately outside a tree had blown
over crushing the second floor of Roy
White's house at 110 12 Kennedy
White's framii home does not have
a basement, so when he heard "things
breaking' he ran from the second story
closet where lie was changing clothes,
grabbed their baby dauehter and ran
downstairs to lie flat In the living-rooHe lay there for about five
minutes until he felt it was safe to
As White was dashing downstairs,
their cat fled the doomed tree and made
it indoors safely.
Further west on Frankfort, on the
fringe of the tornado's path, Earl
Thompson was already sweeping up
glass from his antique store windows,
assisted by David
half an hour after the tornado struck.
I heard an eerie,
and went right for the basement,"
wunt up to
close the front door, but the wind came
up and I ran back to the basement.-- I
think that open door saved my store."
Crescent Hill, the storm hit hai riest
Pennsylvania Avenue, opposity the
Louisville Water Company.
Mrs. Charles Hess and her husband
live at 123 Pennsylvania and today they
believe in miracles.
When the tornado rami.1, they barely
had time to make it to the basement
steps. Mis. Hess recalled:
was afraid we weren't going to
live through it. My husband fell on top
of me. I remember hearing the roar of
the noise, the sounds of the twisting
I w .isn't worried
1:1 dal and thing glass.
about losim: my house, I just kept sayIn
rooms were broken;
cri ;'.e trees filled the back yard and
landed on the two Hess cars. Several
inches of In' iken possessions and glass
covered the thiols. A two-- b
beam was driven through a concrete
indow s in all 12
lish, made in
'i '.viei'atior. was still intact. So were
some precious vases.
And the lie.s.s spirit lives. Th'.'.. w.ll
Continued to Page
inan force remained on standby all
Wednesday night and Thursday.
Most meetings and events scheduled
for Wednesday evening were cancelled
throughout the county. Hut, Jeffersontown police court was held in spite
of the tornado occurlng onh hours
Judge Raymond J. Ward appeared at
city hull about 0:30 pm to conduct
court. At 7:30 pin, by candlelight,
Judge Ward, court clerk Mrs. Jerrie
Kavich and prosecuting attorney I'aul
Baker occupied desks In the office of
City Hall and waited for those scheduled
for court, to appear.
"We only had two people show up,"
Judge Ward said, "one was a deferred
payment and the other was fined on a
He said letters were mailed to others
who did not appear, requesting they
attend court at the next regular session
Monday, April 8.
boys at Jeffersontown
Two fifth-graElementary School believe there are
some small towns In the state ravaged
by the tornado that have not received
So, Tommy Pace and Steve Bertram
went to principal David Thompson last
Friday and asked If they could set up
a collection point at the school. Thompson said Oils week they have collected
"quite a bit" of food, clothing and
even some toys.
During the middle of the week, they
Continued to Page 16
FIELDS, Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Adams Jr., trudge through debris
rounding the wreckage of their home at 402 Rolling Lane.