Tracing the Path

Picture of tornado damage including a very large tree that came down.
Tracing the Path: The 1980 Kalamazoo Tornado

Tracing the Path: The 1980 Kalamazoo Tornado

Summer, 2020 -January 3, 2021

Tracing the Path: The 1980 Kalamazoo Tornado is an exhibit recognizing the 40th anniversary of the tornado that struck Kalamazoo on May 13, 1980. In just 16 minutes, the tornado left a path of destruction in which 5 people were killed, 1,200 people were displaced, and damages totaled over $50 million.

In Bronson Park, more than two dozen mature trees that had stood for over 150 years were uprooted. The Industrial State Bank building had just 4 of its 116 windows left intact after the tornado passed, while the six-story Gilmore Department Store suffered extensive roof damage, and its east wall collapsed outward, piling massive amounts of rubble into Farmer’s Alley below.

As we take time to reflect and look back on the damage that was left behind, the lives that were lost, and the months of recovery that followed, we hope you’ll share your stories and memories with us as well.

Click here to share your story.


Nine story building with all of its windows blown out.