Collection: James Whitlow
Scanned by: James Whitlow
March 1913 – Devastating Weather
The month of March, 1913 was a devastating time, weather-wise, for several parts of the United States. There were tornadoes in Nebraska and Iowa where 168 people lost their lives. In the South, over 50 people lost their lives, with Alabama losing 34. During the same time that some parts of the Nation were experiencing tornadoes, the Ohio River Valley was getting bombarded by rain. The rain started on Good Friday, March 21, and continued until Easter Sunday with between 8 and 11 inches of rain. On Tuesday, the levees failed and flood water poured into Dayton, Ohio streets with levels as high as 20 feet. The storms that caused the flood at Dayton affected an area across all or parts of more than a dozen states, mostly states in the Mississippi River Valley and the Midwest.
Tornado Hits Hoxie on March 20th, 1913
The State of Arkansas was luckier than most because no lives were lost, but there was a considerable amount of property damage in all parts of Arkansas. One town that all the newspapers mention the most is Hoxie.
The “Cyclone” hit Hoxie around 9 PM on a Thursday Evening, March 20, and damaged most of the buildings, especially the business district around the depot. This was the first of two tornadoes that have damaged the town of Hoxie. The second tornado was on May 9, 1927. More on that tornado in a few weeks with some great photos.
One of the businesses that was damaged in the March 1913 tornado was the Van Noy Restaurant. The Van Noy News and Hotel Company was a chain of restaurants and hotels that served the railroads and were usually located next to the depot. The Hoxie location had only the restaurant which was just south of the depot. This postcard shows the damage that was done to the Van Noy, with walls and lumber scattered about. Notice the coffee urns on the bar. Were they not blown off the bar? Also, notice the black cook in the chef uniform and the chairs around the bar. Click on the image to view larger.
The restaurant was later rebuilt and served the depot until October 1924, when it caught fire and burned the restaurant and the depot down to the ground. After the fire, a brick depot was built in 1925, which most people today would remember.
Another business that received damage was the Plunkett-Jarrell Wholesale Grocer. It was located northeast of the depot on a spur track and it was also rebuilt after the tornado and continued in business until the 1950’s in Hoxie. In the back ground of the postcard, notice that one of the walls of the Plunkett-Jarrell Wholesale is still standing at an angle. Click on the image to view larger.
After this tornado, Hoxie and Walnut Ridge recovered quickly, since both towns were still in their “boom” time period. Walnut Ridge had the Phoenix Cotton Oil Plant and Hoxie had the railroad maintenance shops.
Below, are some newspapers clipping about the tornado, click to read.