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The morning of April 21, 1967, was crisp and clear, marking the arrival of spring. As the day progressed, dark clouds covered the skies over Oak Lawn, and a deadly tornado touched down in the village just before 5:30 p.m. Cutting through the intersection of 95th Street and Southwest Highway and striking elsewhere, the storm left mountains of debris and over 30 people dead in its wake. Oak Lawn Community High School, St. Gerald Catholic Church, and the Fairway Super Mart were among the structures damaged or destroyed by the high winds. After the disaster, rescue workers and volunteers poured into Oak Lawn to search for survivors, while Christ Community Hospital and other institutions treated more than 400 injured people. The immense cleanup, which took weeks to complete, saw debris hauled out or disposed of in controlled fires. Despite the scope of the devastation, many of the affected structures were repaired or rebuilt within 12 months.
About the Author
Kevin Korst is the local history coordinator for the Oak Lawn Public Library and the author of Images of America: Oak Lawn. He holds a bachelor’s degree in American history from the University of St. Francis and a master’s degree in American history from Eastern Illinois University.
Table of Contents
1 Before the Storm 9
2 April 21, 1967 25
3 Ninety-fifth Street and Southwest Highway 49
4 The Aftermath 67
5 Recovery and Healing 113
Honoring the Victims 125