f/8 and Be There
Fred Lynch

Chaffee Tornado 1940

Posted Friday, August 20, 2010, at 7:30 AM

G.D. Fronabarger took this picture of high wind damage in the first block of Elliott Street in Chaffee, Mo., on the day after a tornado struck about 5:35 p.m. on April 30, 1940.

The May 1, 1940 edition of the Southeast Missourian published Frony's photos and stories of the disaster.


Had Ralph Roney and Marjorie Johnson parked their automobile on Elliott avenue in Chaffee just a fraction of a second quicker, or just about three feet back from where they did park it, they might not have been able to congratulate themselves on their escape.

A huge maple tree fell across and smashed the rear end of the car to the pavement. the couple was not hurt, except that Roney had just made the last payment on the vehicle, a Chevrolet coach.

Virtually every street in Chaffee was blocked, firemen estimating that from 300 to 400 trees were down.

$125,000 Damage in Chaffee Storm

May Day was a gloomy one in Chaffee as the community bravely started to work to restore order after a windstorm late Tuesday ripped through the town damaging nearly half the buildings in it.

The twin communities of Illmo and Fornfelt also had heavy damage from the tornado.


View 2 comments or respond
Community discussion is important, and we encourage you to participate as a reader and commenter. Click here to see our Guidelines. We also encourage registered users to let us know if they see something inappropriate on our site. You can do that by clicking "Report Comment" below.
  • Thanks, Fred, for posting these vintage photos. This is a great service and so very interesting!!

    -- Posted by Mister_D on Fri, Aug 20, 2010, at 8:42 AM
  • Wow! That's close to $2 million in damages, today.

    -- Posted by Kllrfsh on Fri, Aug 27, 2010, at 2:13 PM