Ivy tornado: The story of the killer twister of 1959

With the deadliest tornado day in decades having just hit the South, it's interesting to note that in 1959 calamity struck when tornadoes killed 12 Charlottesville-area people one day– including 8 children and both parents in the Ervin Morris Sr. family near Ivy. Two years ago, around the time of the 50th anniversary, history writer Phil James penned a story about the horrific event for the Crozet Gazette.

Read more on: tornado in ivy in 1959


I was in the 7th grade at old Meriwether Lewis School (the old yellow one, which was beside the new school at the same site) when that 2:25 PM tornado just missed the school by about 1/4 mile or less. It skirted the schools playgrounds coming from the south and the Ivy Depot area and was headed to North and a little to the west. It went just southwest of the school. My classroom's windows did not face south so I did actually see the tornado, but the other 7th grade class' windows faced that way and they all saw the tornado clearly. It came so quickly that there was no time to move the kids anywhere. I think the school had 400 to 500 students at the time. It was the closest I ever came to a tornado and it could have been an even bigger disaster had it hit the school. I am not sure the tornado was actually on the ground at the time, but it was visible.