Breaking News
More () »

Vintage KSDK: A look at the August 1968 tornado that swept through St. Louis city and county

Residents of north St. Louis described trying to hold their doors closed during the storm. One woman who watched it pass was expecting a baby at any time

ST. LOUIS — This week's Vintage KSDK takes us back to August 15, 1968.

It was a Thursday afternoon, and the aftermath of a summer storm-to-remember was the main story of the day.

A tornado along with heavy winds and rain wreaked havoc from Ladue to north St. Louis.

Witnesses reported first seeing a funnel cloud at Lindbergh Boulevard and Litszinger road.

It would sweep through Clayton and University City, before tearing roofs off homes and bringing down parts of buildings in north city.

In the aftermath, crowds gathered in the streets and residents assessed the damage.

KSDK reporter Chris Condon talked with a woman who was in her home when the storm came through.

"I'm expecting a baby any day now,” said Barbara Akins. ”I might not be here tonight, I don't know.”

“You don't think it's hastened the baby's arrival?” asked Condon.

“So far I can't tell,” replied Akins, “but we'll be all right here tonight. We were pretty lucky."

Most of the damage was concentrated in the 1200-1400 blocks of Clara Avenue.

Some residents reported trying to hold their doors shut as the storm passed overhead.

"When I heard it on the radio, they said it was hitting Clayton,” said Mrs. Jimmy Davis. “By that time, I had gone to my back door to call my children, and by the time they had gotten upstairs, a strong wind had come up. So, I tried to close the door, but I couldn't close the door. So I told them to go to the front, and by the time they got to the front, the back porch was falling in and the front porch was falling in."

Credit: KSDK
KSDK reporter Chris Condon interviews Mrs. Jimmy Davis after a tornado damages part of North St. Louis on August 15, 1968.

A 7-year-old boy was taken to a hospital for an injury to his foot. But there were no other reports of injuries.

Widespread power outages left thousands without electricity. About 60 trees were downed in an area around Delmar Boulevard, near Maffitt and Union.

Debris littered communities from St. Louis County to the Metro East.