"Xenia Lives" 42 years after tornado

ajc.com

It has been 42 years since Xenia experienced something that would have broken a lesser community.

A F5 category tornado touched down just before 4:40 p.m. on April 3, 1974, in the southwestern part of Xenia which traveled through the very center of town.

In this short time lives were forever changed, with 32 killed and 1,300 people in need of treatment at Greene Memorial hospital.

The tornado that hit Xenia was part of a Super Outbreak, which is multiple tornadoes that are spawned because of the same system. Typical outbreaks are six to 10 tornadoes.

The 1974 Super Outbreak was the second largest on record for a single 24-hour period and the most violent with 148 tornadoes that hit 13 states and caused more than $600 million in damages, according to the National Weather Service.

With 300 homes destroyed due to Mother Nature and half of the buildings in the city damaged Xenia had to rebuild from the bottom up.

By April 3, 1975, 80 percent of the homes destroyed and 40 percent of businesses had been rebuilt.  However, it would take almost a decade later to rebuild and repair all the structures that were damaged, according to Ohio Memory.

Mark Manley, former teacher at Simon Kenton Elementary, was at home with his family, huddled in the hallway when the storm hit.

Manley told Dayton Daily News in 2014, “I think that people forget that we have within ourselves, as a community, to come together and do anything … If people come together and they’re focused on a mission, they can make it happen.”

Aldine Printing Company of Xenia printed bumper stickers “Xenia Lives” just days after the events of April 3 showcasing the strength and fortitude of the citizens of Xenia.