Marshalltown continues to rebuild one year after EF-3 tornado

Published: Jul. 19, 2019 at 8:06 PM CDT
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Friday marks one year since an EF-3 tornado destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes and businesses in Marshalltown, including a lot of damage in the downtown area.

The tornado came into town with sustained winds of 144 miles per hour. Among the structures needing repairs was the steeple on the historic Marshall County Courthouse, as well as a number of homes and businesses.

One year later in Marshalltown, there are still a number of places downtown that is still under construction- but people in Marshalltown have seen a wave of support and in the last year as they continue their lengthy rebuilding process.

For Wendy Mohler, the memories of the storm from one year ago are still fresh- comparable to the food she prepared at Jack's Pho House.

“I went up to open the door and I unlocked it, and all of the sudden the wind like took it open," said Mohler, the owner of the restaurant. "After that I was like ‘what the heck is going on?’ And he was like: “‘there’s a tornado, there’s a tornado!’”

Minutes later, Jack’s Pho House and much of Marshalltown were left with the aftermath of sunny skies, but destruction in the streets.

“It was just horrible," Mohler said. "I mean you went out the front door, there’s crap everywhere. There was stuff inside of our business, stuff that had blown in.”

The impression of the storm remains downtown, clearly visible through the remaining destruction downtown- but even as rebuilding continues, so too does a positive spirit.

"Every time somebody opened, you know you were just overwhelmed with people," Mohler said. "They just came in and they were grateful and they wanted to hear your story."

”For the businesses that have been able to open, it’s been really fun to see they’re all busier than they we’re before,” said Mayor Joel Greer, the Mayor of Marshalltown. Greer was in his first seven months as mayor when the tornado ripped through the city.

"We were just darn lucky," Mayor Greer said. "I’m happy to be the mayor to ride us through this storm."

"Everything seems to be working out really well for everybody," Mohler said.