The Fergus Falls Cyclone of June 22, 1919

June 22, 2017

(From the archives - originally posted June 22, 2013)

I grew up hearing stories about the 1919 Cyclone in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, my home town.  My dad and his family lived there when a tornado hit on June 22, a Sunday.  According to the estimations of NOAA, it was an F5 tornado.  In 1919, “tornado” and “cyclone” were evidently used interchangeably.  To the people of Fergus, it was – and is – The Cyclone.

A few months ago, I was sorting through some old pictures and came across several photos taken after the Cyclone.  Many of these were printed on post cards.  Here are a few of them.

Lake Alice

back of the above post card - my dad's handwriting



505 N. Union

back of the above post card



Otter Tail County Court House

back of the above post card



802 N. Union - looking north


The Grand Hotel on the corner of Lincoln and Vine


Photo of the Hogan house at 818 N. Union - my dad's handwriting


Moving the garage from the back of the Hogan house after the Cyclone - Walter (my grandpa) is on the right.   This garage eventually became their cottage at Deer Lake.  The cottage, as it was in 2003, is pictured below.



818 N. Union - The Hogan house - Howard (my dad - on the sidewalk) was 9 years old at the time.

Back of the above post card


The NOAA account of this tornado can be seen here:

The above link also includes a summary of the tornado based on accounts included in the book THE GREAT FERGUS FALLS, MINNESOTA CYCLONE OF JUNE 22, 1919 by Lance Johnson.


Addendum June 22, 2017:  The above NOAA link is no longer active.