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I recently received scans of the Daily Mountain Eagle article about the November 17, 1957 tornado that struck the tiny Walker County community of Crossroads, killing a man that my grandfather was schooled under along with his family. The text that has been preserved in the scans reads thus:

TORNADO KILLS THREE AT CROSSROADS

Scene of Sunday tragedy – This pine tree is still standing in front of the foundation of Wilford Bradfords demolished home in the Cross Roads Community. The tornado swirled down lifted the house and blasted it over, under, and through the pine tree. ??? ??? In the background of the picture between the small trees and the center pine across Highway 5, 600 yards from the blocks seen in the foreground lies the remains of the house. (See picture page 6B) In the background is the demolished R. J. McCullough General Store. The Bradford home was so completely demolished it was hard to find two boards together.

This is all that remains of the Wilford Bradford home that was completely demolished in Sunday afternoon’s tornado that struck the Cross Roads community. Mr. and Mrs. Bradford and their 14-year old daughter were all killed in the tragedy.

CLEANING UP: National Guardsmen and neighbors help to clean up the mess a tornado made of the R. F. McCullough store at Cross Roads community in Walker County. A destructive tornado Sunday ripped down the building. Three persons were killed in the community.

GETAWAY FOILED: The Ed Clark family of Cross Roads Community in Walker County attempted to get out of the way of a tornado in this pickup truck Sunday, but the wind caught it. Only Mrs. Clark was injured. (Photo by William Fikes).

WALKER COUNTY DEAD: This picture, taken some time ago, is of the Wilford Bradley family of Cross Roads Community in Walker County. Bradford ???

The Significant Tornadoes entry (Grazulis 1991) for the event reads thus:

AL   NOV 17, 1957 1512 4k 15inj 400y 5m F4

WALKER — Moved NE from Cross Roads, 6m NW of Jasper, to 1m N of Manchester. A new ranch house was picked up, blown apart, and scattered. Three people were killed in that home. The fourth death occurred in another home.

You won’t find Cross Roads on most maps of Walker County today. This tiny little community consists today of only a handful of old structures, and the memories of its inhabitants. It’s a few miles NW of Jasper not far from Manchester.

The tornado was rated F4 after the introduction of the Fujita Scale more than a decade after the event based on the obliteration of what I am told was a very well-built brick house –  the nearly brand new home of the Bradfords. Other homes in the area are generally of lesser construction integrity.

There is a very interesting personal account of the tornado here: http://www.alabamawx.com/?p=24968

Map information is available here: http://www.tornadohistoryproject.com/tornado/1957/11/17

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