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Indianapolis, Indiana tornado damage panoramic photograph

 Collection — Folder: OBF015
Identifier: OBF015

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of a black-and-white panormaic photograph taken by Starkey and Brown in Indianapolis, Indiana, showing several damaged and destroyed houses after a tornado that swept through the area on May 18, 1927. The photograph was most likely taken the day after the storm, which occurred at night. There are several people standing among the wreckage, including a few police officers.


  • 1927/05/18

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Historical Note

On May 18, 1927, a tornado formed near Plainfield, Indiana and swept down Washington Street through west Indianapolis into the Mile Square downtown, then east into the neighborhoods between Washington and 10th streets, from Oriental Street to past Sherman Drive. Residential neighborhoods were the hardest hit. About 50 houses were completely destroyed, while others were uprooted from their foundations or lost parts of roofs or porches. The storm also heavily damaged several businesses, exposing building interiors and ruining merchandise with subsequent rain. Approximately 1,500 buildings suffered some kind of damage. Property damage for the natural disaster was estimated at $3 million on the day after the storm. More than 200 soldiers from Fort Benjamin Harrison were dispatched to guard the storm zone, along with law enforcement, to prevent looting. Forty-fourt people injured people were treated by hospitals and a teenage boy died of his injuries after a building collapsed on him and a friend.


"Soldiers Guard Tornado Zone." Indianapolis Star, May 20, 1927. Accessed March 28, 2022. ProQuest.

"Storm Spent Its Fury Here." Indianapolis Star, May 20, 1927. Accessed March 28, 2022. ProQuest.

"Storm Victim Dies; Repair Work Begun." Indianapolis Star, May 20, 1927. Accessed March 28, 2022. ProQuest.

"Tornado Facts in Brief." Indianapolis Star, May 20, 1927. Accessed March 28, 2022. ProQuest.

"Tornado Hits City, Injuring 150 Persons." Indianapolis Star, May 19, 1927. Accessed March 28, 2022. ProQuest.


0.1 Cubic Feet (1 panoramic photograph)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of one item.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation.


No further additions are expected.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digitized photograph from collection is available in the ISL Digital Collections:

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2022/03/28 by Brittany Kropf. EAD finding aid created 2022/03/28 by Brittany Kropf.
Indianapolis, Indiana tornado damage panoramic photograph
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.