96 Years Ago The Tri-State Tornado Changed Princeton Forever
When you live in the Tri-State, you know how quickly weather can change. Thankfully we have technology that can warn us about severe weather. We depend on our local meteorologists to send alerts, and remind us where the safest places are, if a tornado spins up. Back in 1925, our modern warning systems didn't exist. As a result, the most deadly tornado to ever hit the Tri-State killed 695 people. 21 of those killed were in my hometown of Princeton, IN.
I was always taught to take weather warnings seriously, I'm sure its because of this historic storm. The only reason to go to our musty-creepy basement was to wait out storms. People that lived through the deadly storm tell their own versions of what it was like, and each one proves how unpredictable a tornado's path is.
The south side of Princeton looked like a war zone, but other parts of town were not touched. Without the internet and social media, the only way to see the damage, was first-hand. Of course, this deadly storm left hundreds of people with no home, farms were leveled and family members were lost. Those are all facts from this tornado that are devastating to talk about. But, there are also stories of survival and incredible scenes that we can only imagine, since there were no cell phones to record history, like we have now.
That Fateful Day
If you have ever taken that first Princeton exit from 41, you've been through the area that was destroyed in 1925. Picture where Taco Tiera is today, then drive a couple miles to the public pool, and that side of town was not touched. Isn't that crazy?
Train cars were tipped over, power lines were all over the place, but it actually could've been worse. Some people that would've normally been home or working on the south side during this daytime storm, were not home. There was a special drawing and 'Sale Day' the square, and that actually kept them safe. Many teachers would've died at Baldwin Heights school, but they had dismissed for the downtown event.
Princeton's Mayor, Greg Wright, is basically a walking history book of Princeton. He even has two books full of historic pictures and facts. He shared this video interview of residents that lived through the storm, and they tell stories like it was yesterday.