27: Disasters

27:1 Lakewood Damage to Sewers $300,000
27:2 West Siders Hardest Hit in Wild Wind Bulletin
27:3 Bender, Minshall Tour Area; Pledge Push for Grants in Washington
27:4 Bigger Force Assigned to Cleanup Job
27:5 Reports Tonight on Storm Loss
27:6 Seek to Replace 3,000 Trees, Storm Casualties
27:7 Tornado?  -  Today Will Tell Story
27:8 Few Scars Remain From Storm of 1956
27:9 Lakewood Gets Final Check for Storm Loss
27:10 Disaster Tag Put on All Lakewood
27:11 Joins Rocky River and Lakewood in Appeal for Funds
27:12 Clifton Club Fire









27:1
LAKEWOOD DAMAGE TO SEWERS $300,000
CLEVELAND PRESS October 5, 1953
 

Lakewood's share in repairing sewers damaged by the W. 117th St. explosion will be $300,000, Mayor Amos I. Kauffman will inform Council tonight.

Kauffman had previously asked Council to issue $250,000 in council-manic bonds as Lakewood's share.  Now, he said, additional repairs must be made to the 24-inch sewer on Hopkins Ave., the 24-inch line on Coutant Ave., the five-foot sewer on Detroit Ave., and the 54-inch line on the north side of Lake Ave.

Three property owners have submitted prices for land to be purchased for the new municipal parking lot just north of Detroit Ave. and Warren Rd., Kauffman reported.  They are: land at 1371 Cook Ave., $13,500; 1376-78 Warren Rd., $15,000; Warren Rd., $15,000.

top







27:2
WEST SIDERS HARDEST HIT IN WILD WIND BULLETIN
CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER 5/13/1956
 

At least six persons, two of them children, were killed and 30 injured when high winds and lightning destroyed buildings and damaged the Greater Cleveland area heavily at 9:45 last night.

The situation in Lakewood was so severe that Ohio National Guard headquarters in Columbus dispatched 50 guardsmen there to keep order.

Damage was centered on the West Side and western suburbs.  The weather bureau at Cleveland Hopkins Airport measured up to 70 miles an hour.

Worst casualty toll came from the Scenery Tavern, 4103 Pearl Road S.W., where the two children and a man were killed and several persons were injured when the building collapsed.

The injured were taken to City, St. Vincent Charity, Deaconess, Lakewood, Fairview Park and Lutheran Hospitals.

Much of the West Side, including most of Lakewood and Rocky River, was without power.  The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. reported 15,000 homes darkened.  CEI crews worked through the night.

Lakewood police fought to reach a man believed killed when a tree crushed his car in Clifton Park.

Rocky River firemen estimated damage at the Detroit Road shopping center there at $500,000.

New, violent thunderstorms accompanied by hail and 70-mile winds last night hit the greater Cleveland area still soggy from earlier deluges.

Damage was reportedly heaviest on the West Side, with a building damaged, many windows blown out, trees downed, utility wires snapped and poles broken.

Residents of Baxterly Avenue in Lakewood reported they saw what looked "like a small funnel-shaped cloud" just before high winds ripped out two 7-foot high maple trees there between the 2000 block.

Shingles were also pulled from roofs there and scattered in the street.

Cleveland police reported they were holding all men on emergency duty past their 11 p.m. quitting time.

More than 200 persons escaped injury when a 40-by-8-foot section of the Lyceum Theatre roof fell.  The section fell into a stairwell and men's room of the structure at 3545 Fulton Road S.W.

Customers filed out, a theatre man said, when the lights there failed after the roof fell.

Police reported most of the windows in the W. 137th-Lorain shopping center blown out by high winds that accompanied the new storm at 9:30 p.m.

Traffic had to be routed around the W. 150th Street-Lorain intersection when a power pole was knocked down.  Its wires snapped and sparked in the street.

Wires were also reported down on Woburn Avenue S.W.

The home of Mr. and Mrs. Villoni, 3333 W. 58th Street, was smashed when two oak trees fell and struck it, one from the front and one from the side.

A 50-year-old elm tree was felled at 1700 Wright Avenue, Rocky River.  It missed the home at that address and the house at 1694.  An elm was also felled at 1712 Wright.

Many streets were reported flooded on both the West and East sides.

FOOT OF WATER

Coit Road N.E. was reportedly under a foot of water, while some Heights streets were flooded three feet deep, police said.  Meadowbrook Boulevard between Lee and Silsby' Roads was one of the flooded streets.

Police said they were cutting off traffic on the Willow Freeway at Fleet Avenue S.E.  Police radio was so confused that Central Station officers could not determine the trouble there.

A blind woman was reported trapped in her home at 3801 Grosvenor Road, South Euclid, when water flooded her basement.  Police said she did not know how to turn off gas there.  They were headed for the scene.  Scranton Road S.W. between W. 25th Street and City Hospital was reported completely blocked by fallen trees and wires.

John Chonko, 3570 W. 61st Street, reported part of the roof of the Cleveland Container Co. factory next door to him was blown off and demolished the back porch of Chonko's home.

The whole Coventry Road - Lancashire Road area in Cleveland Heights looks like a lake, another called reported.

She said apartment buildings were flooded and automobiles stalled in a two-block area.

A large maple tree was blown down a struck house at 1629 Wyandotte Avenue, Lakewood, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Otto H. Sedgewick.  No one was injured.

The weather bureau at Cleveland Hopkins Airport reported no rain or violent storms at its station.  Radar there picked up two large disturbances over Lake Erie.

TREE BLOCKS ROAD

Hilliard Road west of Concord Drive in Lakewood was across it.

Garage doors were blown off and house windows broken when a gust hit a home at 20841 Avalon Drive, Rocky River.  Damage was severe in that area.

MAIN BREAKS

East Ohio Gas Co. repair crews were working on a broken main at W. 73rd. Street and Madison Avenue N.W.

Garages and trees were blown over in the W. 61st Street section of Brooklyn.

The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. reported more than 5,000 West Side homes were without power as eight 4,600 volt feeder lines were downed.

Areas worst struck by the power failure were in the W. 61st Street-Bridge Avenue district and in the Lorain Avenue-W. 130th Street Section.

CREWS CALLED

More than 35 CEI trouble crews were called out to repair damage.

A two-story frame house on Meyer Avenue S.W. was virtually blown apart by the high winds.  Debris littered the street, blocking traffic.

Police said two occupants of the houses had been taken to a hospital.

Water surged up close to houses on South Belvoir Boulevard, Cleveland Heights.  Miss Mary G. Dawson, 1473 S. Belvoir, reported.

On Hampshire Road, Cleveland Heights, flood waters forced motorists to seek refuge or top of their cars, Mrs. Ethel Verbelun, 2745 Hampshire said.

5 ON CARS

At least five persons were reported stranded on the tops of cars and taxi caught in a rush of water in the Forest Hills area.

Mrs. Grace Stelmashuk, 859 Thornhill Dr. N.E., reported the two vehicles were stalled in waters which had risen to the tops of hoods.

She said two or three persons in the taxi and at least one person in the car had climbed onto the roofs of the vehicles as the water poured out of the park area around the Forest Hills swimming pool.

Shortly before 11 she said the stranded persons had not received aid and the water was still rising.

POWER FAILS

Power failures developed in Rocky River.  Lights were out over a large area.

Hardest hit was the Wooster Road-Hilliard Road intersection, where windows of two business establishments were blown out - Rini's Delicatessen and a Gulf service station.

Lights were also out in the W. 25th Street-Denison Avenue area.

Milton Bartelt, 12701 Iowa Avenue, N.E., said basements of homes on his street were flooded and the street was under a foot of water.

Similar reports came in rapid succession from residents of Meadowbrook Boulevard and other Cleveland Heights streets.

William Schweid, owner of Al's Super Market, 14301 Sylvia Avenue, N.E., reported four feet of water in the basement of his store.

2 GARAGES HIT

Two garages suffered severe damage in the neighborhood of 2700 Wooster Road, Rocky River, James Riley, 2740 Wooster, reported.

Roofs were blown off the buildings by the high winds, Riley said.

Lights were out on Parkwood Road, Lakewood, and two trees were felled at the home of George Webb, 1658 Parkwood.  Utility poles were damaged and telephone service failed.

At E. 123rd Street and Arlington Avenue N.E., a taxicab was half submerged in water.  Driver and passengers were seen perched on the roof of the cab awaiting rescue.

In Lakewood two oak trees at the home of John Katorak, 1642 Woodward Avenue, were blown over.  One of the trees, to the rear of the home, fell on Kantorak's auto and crushed it.  A tree in front of the house fell on a neighbor's house.

A gas meter blew off in a home at 1895 W. 7lst Street.  Gas was leaking a called said.

Within a minute after Jack Allison took his wife and four small sons into the basement of their home at 1353 Sloane Avenue in Lakewood, a tree four feet in diameter crashed into the house, knocking off the front porch and smashing an upstairs bedroom.

It was the largest tree on the street, and one of many blown down.

WINDOWS BROKEN

Plate glass windows in shops across the street from Hotel Westlake were blown out.

Three parked cars were crushed when a tree behind 1370 Sloane was ripped out.

For the second time in two days, basements of eight homes along Woodrow Avenue in Mayfield Heights were flooded.  Residents reported three feet of water along Woodrow between Lander and SOM Center Roads.

Two cars and a trackless trolley were stalled in a New York Central viaduct at E. 131st Street and St. Clair.  Water reached the windows of the two automobiles.

Trees fell across several homes and garages in the Clifton Park area, Lakewood, and electric lines were down.  Trees crashed on homes at 1204 and 1208 Overlook Road and 1222 and 18111 Clifton Road.

 Several cars were marooned by high waters at Meadowbrook Boulevard and Lee Road, Cleveland Heights.

GARAGE FALLS

At 6536 SOM Center Road, Solon, a garage was ripped to bits by the winds and scattered in a field next door.

West Lake Road, Rocky River, at Breezedale Cove, was blocked by fallen trees.  Several cars were damaged by the falling trees.

House trailers were overturned near the Clague Road intake.

A resident on Saranac Road N.E. was rowing a boat in the street, Mrs. Josephine Martin, 14502 Saranac, said.

Wires were down on Chatfield Avenue S.W.  Several large windows were blown out of houses on W. 157th near Chatfield.

In Lakewood, Richland Avenue and Brown and Bunts Roads were blocked by fallen trees.  Many windows were damaged.

Mrs. Frank Esposito, 14525 Saranac Avenue N.E. said she saw a man in a rowboat in the middle of Saranac near Pepper Avenue N.E.  She said the rowboat was going up and down the street.

50 CARS STALLED

Flooding along Cleveland Memorial Shoreway N.E.  especially on the last mile, stalled at least 50 cars and caused dozens of minor damage accidents when wet brakes refused to function properly.

Traffic was proceeding along only one lane for several hours.

The 100-foot radio tower of the Westlake Cab Co. was blown down on top of the company building, 19061 Depot Street, Rocky River.

Large display windows in the Rocky River shopping district on Detroit Road from Wooster Road west.  Merchandise was strewn in the streets.

GREENHOUSES FALL

Two green houses were flattened at Orchard Park Avenue NW. at Triskett Road.

A roof, apparently from a gasoline station, was blown into the street at Berea Road NW and Triskett, blocking traffic.  Munn Road N.W. also was closed.

Volunteer squads of citizens went into action all over the West Side, especially in the area around Pearl Road, to help direct traffic away from the hundreds of live electrical wires knocked down.

Residents of the area from Lake Avenue to Detroit Road west to Wooster Road were sealed into their homes, unable to go anywhere because of the littered, dangerous streets.

West Clifton Park was inaccessible.

PORCH TORN OFF

A porch was ripped off the home of Mr. and Mrs. Spenser Reeder, 17879 Lake Ave. Lakewood.

A car was stranded in water on W. 140th Street just north of Lorain Avenue with two live wires across the top of its roof.  There were two persons trapped in the auto.

Trees were down and power was out over widespread areas in Rocky River and Bay Village, Bay View Hospital was operating with lights, however, although its phones were out.

SIT ON CAR ROOF

Mr. and Mrs. Walter Nimmo, 904 E. 123rd Street, sat on the roof of their car for an hour with water up to the windows at E. 123rd Street and Arlington Avenue N.E. Their car was finally pulled out by a tow truck.

At the same intersection the occupants of a stalled Yellow cab were seen sitting on the taxi's roof as water swirled through the windows.

Michael Voleski stopped his CTS bus at the brink of the deep water despite the urging of some of his passengers who wanted him to go on.  The bus was stalled for more than an hour.

ALL STREETS BLOCKED

In Lakewood, Ralph Novak, public relations director for Catholic Charities, reported all the crosstown streets in his neighborhood near Lincoln and Madison Avenues were blocked by large branches.

A large tree fell on Lincoln beside St. Clement's Catholic Church at Madison.  Novak reported residents of the neighborhood quickly cleared the smaller obstructions chopping and sawing the larger branches and dragging them up on tree lawns.

A gas main was broken on Denison Avenue S.W.  The street was blocked off from 73rd Street to Lorain Avenue while the main was repaired.  The odor of gas was strong throughout the area.

TREE STRIKES

The home of Ralph Villoni, 3333 W. 58th Street, was severely damaged when an old maple tree in front of the house was uprooted and broke over the roof.

"We were sitting in the front room when this terrific wind hit about 10 p.m." Villoni said.  "My wife and I ran through a trap door into the basement.  Then the tree  smashed  down on the house."

STREET LIGHTS OUT

A large part of the trunk completely flattened out a glass enclosed side porch.

Villoni's wife Ann was struck on the head when the trap door flew off.  It broke her glasses and left her hysterical.

Along the street debris from smashed trees and tangled electric wires filled sidewalks and driveways.

COUPLE RESCUED

All street lights were out and boys with flashlights directed traffic around fallen trees.

While large blocks of homes were without electricity, a number of homes here and there still had lights.  Most telephones in the area were out of order.

An unidentified elderly couple was rescued from a station wagon marooned in four feet of water at the railroad underpass on St. Clair Avenue N.E. at E. 131st Street.

Patrolmen John J. Butler and Louis Kunchick with help from Lawrence L. Rieth, 23, of 12537 Lancelot Avenue N.E. effected the rescue.  They carried the couple to a Diesel truck which also was under the bridge.

Three other cars were abandoned there, they said.

Fire trucks enroute to the fire at 14114 St. Clair Avenue could not pass through the area and had to take a detour.

Forty to 50 apartment dwellers were driven into the street when the roof of the building at Madison Avenue N.W. and West Boulevard was blown off, exposing 25 suites.  The  Rose  Drug  Store  is on  the  first  floor  of  the  structure.  Extensive damage was done to some of the apartments.

top







27:3

BENDER, MINSHALL TOUR AREA; PLEDGE PUSH FOR GRANTS IN WASHINGTON

LAKEWOOD POST May 17, 1956

Disaster Demands Beyond Lakewood, River Budgets

As The Post went to press, Senator George H. Bender and Congressman William E. Minshall, after a personal tour of Rocky River and Lakewood, were poised in Washington to accelerate immediately and by every possible means, Federal relief recommendations from Gov. Frank J. Lausche for Lakewood as well as expected approved request of Rocky River.

Behind the headlines, the disaster story as it relates to normal operation of Lakewood and River, was terse, stark and beyond contradiction.  Lakewood immediate needs totals between $600,000 and $750,000 and River requires an aggregate of between $50,000 and $100,000 for immediately essential public cleanup and repair service.  The alternative in Lakewood would be some undetermined form of deficit financing; River could conceivably get over the hump by maximum borrowing and starvation municipal operation during the balance of the year.  Senator Bender suggested $3,000,000 as a level for total Federal assistance in the two communities.

Ohio defense representatives, sent here to advise Gov. Lausche, saw, appeared impressed, had to be silent pending report in Columbus.  Met at the airport late Tuesday afternoon by Mayors Frank P. Celeste and J. Frank Gibson, River service director Lyle Andrus and representatives of the Post, both Senator Bender and Congressman Minshall inspected, inquired and voiced definite opinion that needs and financial problems had been conservatively represented by the mayors.  They termed quickest possible action all important, pledged elimination of all possible red tape in Washington.  Mean while the legislators promised to facilitate obtaining of government equipment and help in finishing the clean up job.  They called attention to readiness of the Small Business Administration to proffer immediate aid, offered assistance of their offices to businesses and individuals with problems in Washington.

Meanwhile an objective Post survey Tuesday and yesterday morning made apparent the fact that best estimates of private losses, insured and uninsured, could be little more than informed guesses for some days.  Similarly nothing approaching an accurate figure for tree removal, paving and sidewalk repairs, reinforcement of installations is yet possible, Mayor Celeste had admittedly sketchy figures yesterday showing Lakewood dwelling and apartment loss of some $2,500,000 and damage to the city's twelve major industrial plants aggregating $1,500,000 in addition to the indeterminate amount entailed in destruction of commercial property and churches.  With city and school losses added, $6,000,000 to $7,500,000 seemed a reasonable summation of cost to Lakewood.  In River, where damage was more restricted in area but even more intense in spots, particularly on and immediately off Detroit road, an overall $1,500,000 appeared a reasonable overall guess.

Both Mayors Gibson and Celeste pointed to scores of already apparent conflicts in municipal and private responsibility for tree removal and repairs.  Both chief executives are following a policy of assuming a legal maximum of responsibility in controversial instances pending clarification.  Factor which brought most comment during the Bender-Minshall tour was progress already made by both eliminating threats to safety and traffic obstacles.  Virtually all streets on both sides of the bridge were open by Tuesday to traffic save for occasional blocking by debris removal operation.

"It is difficult to express adequately appreciation for help immediately offered and freely given in time of emergency," is, in essence, a thought constantly repeated by Mayors Celeste and Gibson.  Room is not available here for a listing of requested acknowledgments typical of which was praise of Mayor Gibson for unstinted work of Bay Village's street department in Rocky River through Saturday night and Sunday under direction of Bay Mayor J. Spencer Houck.

top







27:4

BIGGER FORCE ASSIGNED TO CLEANUP JOB

CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER May 19, 1956
 

Lakewood, Rocky River Get Extra Help
 

Operation Cleanup, in the wake of vicious winds that wrought havoc in Northern Ohio a week ago tonight, will move on apace today and tomorrow.

Cleveland is keeping its cleanup crew of 700 on hte job over the weekend. Rocky River, where some 40 or 50 workers have been at the task all week, will add an additional 25 or so today and tomorrow.

In Lakewood some 200 Civil Defense volunteers will pitch in.
 

Lausche Visits

Gov. Frank J. Lausche and George Rothrock, regional director of the Federal Civil Defense Administration, arrived here yesterday by plane.  Rothrock later will establish a headquarters here, probably in the Central Armory.

Over the weekend and early next week officials of Cleveland, Lakewood and Rocky River will meet separately with CD officials to determine allocation of funds and to set policies.  This follows the declaration of northern Ohio as a major disaster area by President Eisenhower.

Rocky River officials will meet at 3 p.m. today with Thane Duryae, Ohio's assistant civil defense administrator, Mayor J. Frank Gibson said.

Mayor Gibson, who earlier was incensed by lack of help and so informed Gov. Lausche by telegram, found help pouring in.  The city acquired the use of two cranes with clamshells to remove stumps of trees after Gov. Lausche telephoned Gibson, telling him to call on the State Highway Department.  The state forestry division telephoned to offer a truck and was taken up on its offer.  The state Civil Defense administrator telephoned with assistance.

"It was things like that that we needed," remarked Gibson.

Lakewood volunteers will be fed by the Red Cross, which will serve two meals today and two tomorrow in Horace Mann Junior High School to workers.  The Red Cross is assuming the cost.

Cleveland is throwing into the cleanup job 20 trucks lent by Cuyahoga County and seeks more equipment from the Army Corps of Engineers.

The Red Cross is closing its disaster assistance headquarters in the Second District Police Station, Daisy Avenue and Fulton Road S.W., this afternoon.  The station in Rocky River City Hall will remain open, and so will the one in the Lakewood Red Cross branch.

There also is a Red Cross representative at disaster assistance headquarters on the Mall.  The Red Cross there is part of a larger plan under which householders, small businessmen and the like can be put in touch with lending agencies, contractors and so forth.

top







27:5

REPORTS TONIGHT ON STORM LOSS

CLEVELAND PRESS September 17, 1956

A report of May 12 storm damage will be given to Council tonight by Lakewood Mayor Frank Celeste.  The storm cost the city about $250,000 for repairs and clean-up.

Lakewood will ask $102,000 in disaster aid form the federal Government, Mayor Celeste said.  Two applications totaling $67,00 have been submitted.  A third for $35,000 is now being prepared.  Celeste said 5135 truck loads or 13,921 tons of debris were hauled from Lakewood .

Total damage to Lakewood, he estimated, was three million dollars.

top







27:6

SEEK TO REPLACE 3,000 TREES, STORM CASUALTIES

LAKEWOOD POST 5/2/1957

On Monday a committee representing civic and service organizations interested in planned tree planting and replacement in Lakewood, met in the office of Mayor Frank P. Celeste.  Lakewood lost 3,000 trees in the windstorm of 1956.  In addition the city's streets are gradually losing trees due to Dutch Elm disease and other blights and each year many residents demand destruction of trees causing clogged sewer lines.

With the cooperation and use of facilities of the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, a survey of all the streets of Lakewood has been made, and a tree planting program has been worked out.

The Mayor has been notified of the action of the Committee in adopting the master tree planting plan, and has been requested to submit to Council necessary legislation to adopt the recommended plan as the official plan for Lakewood.  Mayor Celeste will probably present details of the plan and request for necessary legislation at the next meeting of Council.

Monday's meeting was presided over by Mrs. C. A. Tudbury, Attending were Mayor Celeste and Russell Southack representing the City, Rev. Clinton Condict, Lakewood Citizens Coordinating Council; Mrs. D. M. Brown, Detroit-Sloan Business Mens' Association, Mrs. Peter Riber and Mrs. A. J. Gibel, SS. Cyril & Methodius P.T.U.; Joseph P. Wilson, Lakewood Board of Education; Mrs. Robert Warner, Girl Scouts, Mrs. H. Linderman and Mrs. H. C. Hummer, Lakewood League of Women Voters.

top








27:7

TORNADO?  -  TODAY WILL TELL STORY

CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER 6-13-1956

The storm was not a tornado, as far as the weather bureau at Cleveland-Hopkins airport knows so far.

Weather Observer John McClain said there was a chance that it might be reclassified as a tornado after Chief Weather Observer Harold Burke surveys the damage this morning.

He said the nature of the damage -- whether trees are twisted off or blown over and other indicators -- would determine the question.

Although he termed the classification of the storm merely an academic question at this point, McClain said one indication that it was not a tornado was the lack of reports of funnel-shaped clouds.

Only one such report was received.  McClain said that one seemed questionable -- this despite the fact that frequent lightning flashes made the clouds easily visible.  He said that at the time of the tornado in June, 1953, the weather bureau received numberous reports of funnel-shaped clouds.

top







27:8

FEW SCARS REMAIN FROM STORM OF 1956
By Al Andrews

CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER May 13, 1957

Bruised and battered a year ago by on of the Greater Cleveland's worst storms, West Side residents yesterday had only few faint scars to show.

But memories were still vivid of the wind that lashed the area on May 12, 1956, killing seven persons and injuring 70.

The worst storm here since the tornado of June 8, 1953, the tragedy of last year affected more people than the earlier one, although the death toll and total property damage were not so severe.

Typical of those who lost heavily a year ago was Mrs. Esther Steinbrick.  She and her son Charles, operate Steinbrick's Greenhouse at 14335 Triskett Road N.W.

Two of the concern's six greenhouses were flattened by the wind.  Fifteen hundred panes of glass were shattered in those left standing.

"The tomatoes were just ready for picking," Mrs. Steinbrick said yesterday.  "They were all cut up by the broken glass..."

The spot where the two green houses blew down is still vacant, but the other four were repaired soon after the storm and an addition was built.  The Steinbricks hope to rebuild a two-story garage which was so extensively damaged that it was condemned.

A few blocks away, a filling station at Berea and Triskett Roads still shows marks where the roof and parts of all four walls were torn off and later replaced.

At 1353 Sloane Avenue, Lakewood, a new front has been built on the home of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Allison, who huddled in the basement with their four children while a huge tree crashed into the dwelling.

One of the most grim reminders of the storm is on Pearl Road. S. W. near Henninger Avenue.

It is a vacant lot where the Scenery Tavern stood until that horrifying night when the world blew loose.  The building collapsed on five parked cars.  Three persons, including two small children, were killed there.

The other victims included two men who brushed electric wires and a 19-year old youth crushed when a tree fell on his car.  The seventeenth death came eight days later when an 84-year old man died of injuries received in fall down basement stairs.

One of the persons seriously injured was an auxiliary policeman hit by a car while directing traffic at W. 117th Street and Lorain Avenue, where the traffic light was out.

Hardest hit that night were Lakewood and Rocky River, where thousands of trees crashed down.

More than 50 streets were closed in Lakewood.  Officials there estimated damage at several million dollars.

Rocky River pupils got a vacation when almost all of the suburb's schools were damaged.  Beach Elementary School was closed for the rest of the semester after a chimney went through the roof.

While the West Side was catching the wind, the East Side was getting tons of rain.  Flooded basements were reported throughout the Heights area.  Policemen worked overtime clearing blocked intersections.

At St. Clair Avenue N.E. and E. 131st Street, two autos and a CTS trackless trolley were marooned in a flooded underpass.  Fire trucks answering an alarm farther east could not get past, with the result that the second alarm was turned in.

Another blaze at the height of the storm caused $750,000 damage to the Federal Department Store at Brookpark and Pearl Roads S.W.

Like most storms, this one had its freakish angles.

Walls of the Kamms Corners Recreation building at 3868 Rocky River Dr. S.W. were blown down.  They had been spared by a fire that wrecked the structure the preceding December.

An amateur meteorologist on Beach Avenue, Lakewood, watched the windgauge on his home rise to 100 m.p.h.  Then the gauge blew away.

A wedding reception was under way at Sachsenheim Hall, 7001 Denison Avenue S.W., when the lights went out.  The celebration continued by candlelight.

At the Plain Dealer, then in the old building at Superior Avenue N.E. and E. 6th Street, word of the storm began to filter in about 10:15 p.m., just as "day side" reporters were ready to leave for home.

The city editor grabbed all available.  Reporter Emerson L. Batdorff later found himself marooned at City Hospital when transportation and telephones broke down.

Copyreader Don Robertson was taken off the "desk" and sent to the Scenery Tavern.  Two other copyreaders were put on rewrite telephones.

Reporters and photographers produced numerous columns of storm news and pictures on almost no notice and earned the Plain Dealer of Cleveland Newspaper Guild award for the coverage.

Through it all ran the one big issue raised by thousands of Greater Clevelanders: "Don't try to tell me this wasn't a tornado!"

The Weather Bureau at Cleveland Hopkins Airport stuck by its guns.  In the books it is still recorded as a line squall.

top







27:9

LAKEWOOD GETS FINAL CHECK FOR STORM LOSS

CLEVELAND PRESS - 2-27-1958
 

Lakewood today received its third and final check for $21,401.38 from the Federal Government for May 12, 1956, windstorm damage aid.

The check and two previous ones added up to $74,752.16, said Paul Adsit, assistant finance director.

President Eisenhower had declared the West Side a disaster area thereby making Lakewood eligible to receive federal aid for clearing up public property storm damage.

Adsit said money will be distributed among the various city departments that participated in the storm cleanup.

top








27:10

DISASTER TAG PUT ON ALL LAKEWOOD

CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER May 16, 1958

Lausche to Issue Proclamation Today to Make Suburb Eligible for U.S. Help; Cleveland and Rocky River Await Word

Gov. Frank J. Lausche said last night he would issue a proclamation today declaring the existence of a major disaster in Lakewood.

This action will make the suburb eligible for federal money to be used for storm damage cleanup and repair of damages to public property.

Lausche said requests of Cleveland and Rocky River for federal aid still were being investigated and action must await the filing of reports by the state adjutant general's office.

The proclamation on Lakewood will be forwarded to the White House with a copy to Val Peterson, director of the Federal Civil Defense Administration.

"Moreover," Lausche said, "the directors of the State Highway Department and Natural Resources Department will be instructed to give whatever aid the law of Ohio will permit in removal of debris and cutting and removal of fallen trees."

Help and promise of help for storm-stricken West Side areas came also from other sources.
These were developments yesterday:

The Small Business Administration in Washington, on recommendation of Fred W. Ramsey, director for this region, declared Cuyahoga and Portage Counties disaster areas.  This will authorize the agency to make 3% loans up to 20 years to home owners and small businesses for rehabilitation of storm damage.

U. S. Senator George H. Bender and Congressman William E. Minshall Jr., after a tour of the Lakewood and Rocky River areas blasted by Saturday night's wind, said they would report directly to Civil Defense Director Peterson to urge government financial aid for the communities.

They advised Mayor J. Frank Gibson of Rocky River and Mayor Frank P. Celeste of Lakewood to ask for $3,000,000 between them.

A representative of Peterson's office flew in last night to inspect the suburbs and make recommendations to his chief on whether damage was severe enough to justify federal aid.

Mayor Anthony J. Celebrezze called a meeting in his office for 9 a.m. today to consider the advisability of opening the "Operation Demonstrate" information center on the Mall as a one-stop source of advice for storm victims needing to know where and how to get help.

Invited to the meeting were representatives of the Building Department, the Better Business Bureau, the Building Trades Council, the Home Builders Association, The Institute of Architects, the Red Cross, insurance adjustment organizations, lending institutions and internal revenue.

Ramsey, for the Small Business Administration, said the 3% rehabilitation loans would be made "on reasonable collateral when ability to repay is indicated." Loan applications will be received at the SBA office on the fourth floor of the Federal Reserve Building.

Estimate Costs

The Rocky River and Lakewood mayors estimated their communities' need at far less than the three million dollar request suggested by Bender and Minshall.

Celeste said about $750,000 would do the job in Lakewood, where 3,000 trees were blown down ripping up curbs and sidewalks with their roots.  Gibson estimated the Rocky River cleanup would cost $50,000.

"It's not only a question of getting a handout," said Minshall.  "With the federal grant comes army equipment and personnel to get the job done quickly."

The money would come from a $10,000,000 fund which President Eisenhower may tap for major disasters.  The Plain Dealer's Washington Bureau explained that no federal donations would go to private individuals.

For Public Work

Funds could be used for work on public land deemed "essential for preservation of life and property."

While the West Side calculated its damage and licked its wounds, efforts were going forward in Washington to give Cleveland a better chance against future disastrous storms.

Queried by Congressman Charles A. Vanik, Dr. Francis Reichelderfer, chief of the U.S. Weather Bureau, disclosed that radar detecting equipment had been ordered for Cleveland.  He said he would expedite its installation.

The radar can spot a severe storm well in advance of the time it hits.  The equipment also enables observers to determine the wind's direction and the amount of rain it carries.

The Western Adjustment & Inspection Co., which will handle claims for most of the insurance companies holding policies on damaged properties, opened a special office at 16501 Lorain Avenue to process storm losses.

It was manned by 40 adjusters, many of them brought in from the company's offices in 13 midwestern states.

top








27:11

JOINS ROCKY RIVER AND LAKEWOOD IN APPEAL FOR FUNDS TO CLEAN UP AFTER STORM; SUBURB DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY
 

Cleveland and Rocky River last night joined with Lakewood in asking federal disaster relief funds to clean up after the Saturday night multi-million-dollar windstorm.

Cleveland's Council passed an emergency resolution authorizing Mayor Anthony J. Celebrezze and Gov. Frank J. Lausche to apply for federal aid of an undetermined amount.

The resolution, introduced under suspension of rules, described the storm as a "major disaster" and said that "the windstorm, of tornado proportions, was sufficient to justify" federal aid.

At the same time Rocky River's Council enacted legislation declaring a formal state of emergency and asking Gov. Lausche to apply for federal funds to aid in clearing debris from the suburb.  The amount was not specified.

As the two councils acted Mayor Frank P. Celeste of Lakewood was in conference with two top Ohio civil defense representatives on that suburb's request for federal assistance.

Col. Edward M. Starr, state deputy director of civil defense for planning and operations, and Col. Edward King, civil defense facilities engineer, met with Celeste at Lakewood City Hall.

With Fred Bernard, Lakewood civil defense director, the two had toured the suburb's stricken area.

"It's quite a mess," Col. Starr said.

He would not comment on whether he thought the suburb would qualify for the federal designation as a disaster area and subsequent grants of equipment and money.

Mayor J. Frank Gibson of Rocky River talked with Col. Starr and Col. King at Mayor Celeste' s office after the Rocky River Council meeting.  He said he would formally ask Gov. Lausche for aid this morning.

Mayor Celeste said Lakewood asked federal funds between $500,000 and $600,000 for repairs to streets, sidewalks and curbing and for cleaning up debris.

Col. Starr said he would inform Maj. Gen. Leo M. Kreber, Ohio adjutant general, of the conditions here. Gen. Kreber in turn would make a recommendation to Gov. Lausche as to whether federal assistance was needed.

In Washington, U. S. Sen. George H. Bender said that "if help is needed they will get it."  He said he would aid in every way to expedite aid if required.

Congressman William E. Minshall said he had talked to Homer Gruenther, administrative assistant to President Eisenhower, and alerted him to expect a possible request from Gov. Lausche.

Federal Civil Defense Director Val Peterson telephoned Mayor Celeste and told him to forward his request to Gov. Lausche if conditions warranted federal aid.

Gov. Lausche said he expected a report on the storm damage today and would act upon receiving it.

Both Celeste and Mayor Gibson said their cities were hard pressed for money to handle the job, Celeste said the W. 117th Street sewer explosion damages hit Lakewood hard.

Federal law permits the government to aid stricken areas with equipment, supplies, personnel and funds in cases where communities lack sufficient money of their own.

Celeste estimated Lakewood suffered $6,000,000 damage in the storm, while Gibson said Rocky River received a $1,500,000 blow.  Cleveland's damages have been estimated by various officials at "several million."

The storm's toll of injured rose to 70 when Edward Ebby, 53, of Monroeville, was admitted to Lakewood Hospital with fractured arms, a broken leg and a broken shoulder suffered while removing a fallen tree.  The number of dead remained at six.

Federal funds, if granted, would be used to clear streets and other public property.  Damage on private property could be handled only if it endangered life or limb, it was pointed out.

Corps of insurance adjusters began arriving here to tackle the task of handling claims on property covered by insurance.

The Western Adjustment & Inspection Co., which represents a number of insurance firms, said it was expecting 40 adjusters from its other offices to aid in processing claims.

C. R. Johnson, manager of the company here, said a special disaster office would be opened on the West Side to handle the flood of claims expected.

While the number of claims is expected to exceed the 10,000 made following the June, 1953, tornado, the total in money is not likely to be as great, a survey of insurance experts indicated.

One pointed out that much of the storm damage was to trees, which in most cases are not included under the usual insurance coverage.  Since a larger area was stricken, the claims are expected to be more numerous, it was added.

B. P. L. Carden, general adjuster of the National Board of Fire Underwriters, New York, was expected here today to coordinate catastrophe loss adjustment procedures for his organization.

Joseph H. Bishop, secretary of the Cleveland Insurance Board, estimated damages here probably would be under the $8,075,000 paid out in claims following the 1953 tornado.  He said it might be a week before an estimate could be made on the actual losses.

Bishop said the board had offered to man disaster offices with insurance experts if Mayor Celebrezze thought it was desirable. He added that adjusters were being sent here by companies from such points as Louisville, Ky., New York and Chicago.

Red Cross Ready

Some insurance companies arrange for contractors to make repairs, while others pay for repairs ordered by the householders.

The Greater Cleveland Red Cross Chapter said it expected its three disaster relief offices would handle many applications for disaster relief assistance today.

They are at the Lakewood Red Cross branch, 15621 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood; Second District police headquarters, Daisy Avenue N. W. and Fulton Road, and Rocky River City Hall, Hilliard and Wagar Roads.

Posters were placed in the stricken areas directing victims to the three offices.  Chapter Chairman Loring L. Gelbach said the Red Cross had $40,000 to spend on aid and would obtain more if needed.

Gelbach praised the Red Cross canteen service for its work during the weekend.  He said the staff, under Mrs. Louis S. Fisher, worked from Saturday night at 11 through Sunday night.

Power, Phones Restored

Public utilities reported striked in restoring power and telephone service.

Vincent M. DeMelto, municipal light commissioner, said all main feeder lines had been restored by yesterday afternoon.

About 1,500 homes were still without lights last night, DeMelto reported, because of the size of the task.

Lights were out in scattered locations in the in the Brooklyn area, from W. 110th to W. 126th Street off Lorain Avenue, and on Denison Avenue. S. W. from W. 20th to W. 100th Street.

DeMelto said the municipal light system should be back to normal by tonight.  He estimated the storm cost the system $150,000 in materials and labor.  This figure includes permanent repairs to be made in weeks to come.

Street lights served by the city will not be restored for at least a week, DeMelto said.  He estimated 5,000 street lights west of the Cuyahoga River were still out.

The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. said service was virtually restored to normal.  CEI estimated its loss in material and labor at $300,000.

5,500 Phones Knocked Out

Cable splicers of the Ohio Bell Telephone Co. worked last night under floodlights as the company continued restoration of service.  Ohio Bell said it had nearly 500 men working yesterday, including 10 crews sent here from Youngstown.

The storm knocked out 5,500 telephones, a spokesman said.

top

27:12
CLIFTON CLUB FIRE
Cleveland Plain Dealer 1-12-32

Photos with caption:

Clifton Club Fire - Top - Flames roared through the frame of the Clifton Club yesterday morning while all available Lakewood fireman struggled to bring them under control. Bottom - The remains of the club, valued at $75,000.  The loss was fully recovered by insurance, club officers said.

top