Sayler Park, Ohio was ravaged
by one of the six F5 tornado's that occurred on April 3, 1974. Melissa
Humphrey has been kind enough to donate photos taken by her family. The
following is written by Melissa Humphrey. Please remember if you use any
pictures for reports to give credit to Melissa Humphrey.
My grandparents, Earl and Elizabeth
Morehead, had a marina, Morehead Boat Harbor, located directly across the
river from Sayler Park, Ohio. By the time of the tornado, it was a fairly
large operation, with a restaurant, a dock, and winter storage facilities
for the boats. Their son, Robert Morehead, and his wife Glenna, with
their 4 children, lived in a home located a few hundred yards to the right
of my grandparents. About an 1/8 of a mile to the left of my grandparents
home was the home of their daughter June, and her husband Cecil Kenyon.
They had 3 children, but only one was still living at home at the time of
the tornado. My families' home was located about a half a mile away, on
another hill separated from the one on which the rest of the family lived,
and located directly about the small town of Taylorsport, Kentucky. My
parents are Virgil and Peggy Humphrey. My mother still lives there (my
father died in 1981).
A note as to the damage: My grandparents
house and my aunt June's house were completely destroyed. There were
approximately 4 storage sheds for the boats, basic constructions of sheet
metal and metal girders. It's hard to remember how many there were after
30 years; I was nine at the time of the tornado. I'll try to remember to
send a before picture. My uncle Bob's home sustained damage to the garage
only; and the neighbors to the left of my aunt June's home had damage to
the side of their house. As far as the damage goes, when you see the
pictures, it will look very much the same as destruction seen in Oklahoma
or Texas resulting from F5 tornadoes. My aunt June's house was basically
reduced to a foundation and a basement. One other remarkable feat the
tornado performed was lifting a very large barge on which the restaurant
was built, flipping it over, and sending it on its way downstream, where
it was raised about a month after the tornado.
view of the tornado itself was taken from across the river, east of
Sayler Park. The tornado, we decided, after examining the picture,
was just about to strike my Aunt June's home in this picture. You can
see that it is still fairly light-colored; after crossing the river
(when I got a good look at it, from our house, which is located on the
hill to the left of the tornado), the tornado was a muddy-river
color. You can see that it's developing a wedge shape. This same
storm dropped a small vortice to the left of our house, which went
spottily through the small town of Taylorsport below our house, before
dissipating. This view of the tornado would be about 2-3 minutes
before reaching the Ohio side of the river and Sayler Park.
View of the damage to my Aunt June's
house.........the landing in the center of the picture is where she,
her husband, and son, got to just before the tornado
struck........My aunt had a bruise on her arm in the shape of a
handprint for a couple of weeks after; apparently she had started to
rise in the air, and my uncle grabbed hold of her to keep her in the
basement. They said they could see blue sky at one point, we think
the eye of the tornado passed directly over their house, and
therefore, the most destructive winds............
view of the tornado was taken from Hebron, Kentucky (located above our
house on the hill behind - its where the Greater Cincinnati Airport is
located; this picture would have been taken approximately 5 miles from
the airport). We figured later that this was about the time the
tornado was in Sayler Park and headed for the western hills community
of Mack, on the hills above Sayler Park
of the bigger ironies of the situation.............the boat's name,
registered in the port of Cincinnati, O. is the "Impossible
good view of the damage to the trees behind my aunt's house
This is a picture of the boat harbor,
pre-tornado. The white house in the center is my grandparents'
home; the brick house to the right is my Uncle Bob's home. My Aunt
June's house is located approximately to the left of the 2nd and 3rd
sheds (behind my grandparents' house; it is obscured by the
summertime trees). The harbor is in the foreground, and extended
approximately the same length to the right beyond the restaurant,
the large white structure to the extreme right front of the picture.
and righting the restaurant...........an idea of the scale of the
barge can be gotten from the man standing on the deck to the
right.............It had floated a few miles downstream, as I
View of the damage from the road below
my grandparents' house (Ky. Route 8)
This is a good image of the amount of
sheet metal that was wrapped around everything.........There was a
great deal of gasoline (from the boats) on everything......A great
deal of the debris ended up being burned.................
This is a wide shot of what was left
(seriously) of my aunt's house..............As you can see, the
tornado was tossing cars around, as usual............
Damage to my grandparents' house