Wednesday, June 6, 2012

H. O. Wurmser House Tragedy?

It's interesting that H. O. Wurmser's first house at 1348 West Erie – that was destroyed by the 1924 Lorain Tornado – made it onto so many postcards. I guess it was because of the extensive damage done to the house, as well as its proximity to Lakeview Park, the scene of so much death and devastation. I first posted the above image back here before I had even heard of the famed Lorain architect.

On Loraine Ritchey's blog, a few more postcards have appeared.

Wurmser's house at far left
This one (below) is even tagged with his name.

So imagine my surprise when, while flipping through the Lorain, Ohio 1903 Souvenir and 1924 Tornado book at the library, I saw the photograph below.

It appeared on a page next to a photo of another house that was completely demolished. The book's author was making the point that the house shown above (obviously Wurmser's but not identified as such) was less damaged but that a tragic death had occurred in its basement.

The book did not identify the name of the unfortunate person who lost their life in Wurmser's basement. In the book's listing of the names of the deceased, there was no name that corresponded with the 1348 West Erie address.

All this really does is add another layer to the mystery surrounding the replacement of Wurmser's demolished house with the house that is there now.


ge13031 said...

If you run through the newspaper reports there were other basement deaths. The tornado had the mean trick of picking the entire house up and dropping it back on to, or a little way from, the foundation. In the vortex, of course, everything was shredded. The 10 ton streetcar was lifted a foot off it's kingpins and dropped on the street in the opposite direction of the wind.

Loraine Ritchey said...

Yet another layer? wonder who it was that died.... in that house....... it doesn't mention anything about Wurmser losing a family member i a tornado that I have seen but...............


Drew Penfield said...

It's always possible that there was no death in the basement. The photo may have been conflated with another report. With all the destruction, deaths, and not the most accurate reporting or record keeping a lot of mistakes could have been made. If nobody in the Wurmser family was killed in the tornado, and the list of deaths doesn't show anyone from that address, then I'd take this single mention of it with a grain of salt unless something turns up to corroborate it. This little mystery does seem to have more layers than an onion!