Throwback Thursday - Tornado tears through Rochester in 1883 - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Throwback Thursday - Tornado tears through Rochester in 1883

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The aftermath of an F-5 tornado in Rochester August 21, 1883 / Photo: History Center of Olmsted County The aftermath of an F-5 tornado in Rochester August 21, 1883 / Photo: History Center of Olmsted County
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -

Each Thursday on NewsCenter today is Throwback Thursday. With help from the History Center of Olmsted County, we're taking a look at various moments in time from our area. 

This week, we're taking a look back at one of the biggest natural disasters to ever hit southeast Minnesota. 

The photo provided by the History Center shows a birds-eye view of Rochester after an F-5 tornado tore through town on August 21, 1883. 

The tornado destroyed more than 135 homes, killed 40 people and injured more than 200. The death toll would have been greater, but witnesses said the great roar of the storm served as a warning for people to leave Rochester. 

After the storm, a local dance hall turned into an emergency shelter. Dr. William Mayo and his two sons, William and Charles took charge of caring for patients, along with the help of Mother May Alfred Moes of the Sisters of Saint Francis. 

It was after this storm that the Mayo brothers, along with the sisters of Saint Francis realized Rochester needed a hospital of its own, and joined together to form St. Marys Hospital.

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