Utica to observe 20th anniversary of tornado

Commemoration set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 20

A view of the tornado damage from Clark and Grove streets on Wednesday, April 21, 2004 in Utica.

Utica soon will commemorate the worst disaster in its history – the 2004 tornado.

On Thursday, Village President David Stewart announced a program at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at the corner of Mill and Church streets, where the tornado memorial stands. There, villagers will solemnly observe the 20th anniversary of the catastrophe.

The tornado claimed 10 lives, including a Granville woman and a stillborn Utica baby whose deaths were later attributed to the storm. Eight more died in the collapse of the Milestone Restaurant and Lounge.

“There will be small speeches,” Stewart said, “and we’ll honor everyone who was involved in the building collapse that night.”

It was the single largest loss of life in the village’s history. The village office was destroyed, and many more structures were heavily damaged. The village, under then-Mayor Fred Esmond, set about a rebuilding project that included the realignment of Route 178.

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