May 31, 1985, the City of Niles was struck by an F5 tornado that
had its origins just West of Newton Falls, where it destroyed much
of that town. It then moved through Lordstown and Warren, before
wreaking havoc on Niles, where it toppled a skating rink and shopping
mall, leveled dozens of houses, ripped through the Union Cemetery,
injured many people, and took several lives. The tornado continued
on, never leaving the ground until it reached Pennsylvania. In just
the Niles area alone, 9 were killed, and 250 were injured. Nearly
70 homes were leveled and another 65 to 70 severely damaged. In
the Mahoning and Shenango Valleys a total of 25 died and 500 people
were injured, and there was $140 million in property damage. Coincidentally,
the tornado of 1985 took a similar path(see maps below) through
Niles as another tornado that hit in 1947. Text:
The following video links originate from a Trumbull County Historical
Society Video Contest entry by Kristen Davis and Jason
Viers. They were students in Niles McKinley High School Visual
Communications class taught by Ralph Tolbert. Kristen and
Jason's video won first place and the $3000.00 prize. The original
VHS footage has been digitized and converted to a Flash format.
You will need Adobe's free Flash Player to view the videos.
The video is divided into several video
clips to speed download times.
Video 1: credits, introduction,
title, Russ Samuel interview.
Video 2: Dick Richards interview.
Video 3: Linda Bennett interview.
Video 4: Zoa Lykins interview.
Video 5: Nancy Stauffer interview.
Video 6: Fire Chief Semple interview
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