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Tornado Towers Demolition. Photographs, 1994.

 Collection — Folder: 01
Identifier: SMHC Collection 0287

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of 10 photographs showing the destruction process of the Tornado Towers and a brief history about the apartment unit.


  • 1994-08

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection for research purposes. The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Biographical / Historical

The Village Towers, more commonly referred to as the “Tornado Towers” were a housing complex consisting of twenty units that provided homes for many students who attended Mankato State University. The Tornado Towers were the cheapest housing option in Mankato during their existence, ostensibly a reflection of fact they were stacked trailer houses. The higher the house you had the cheaper the rent was. The construction of the Tornado Towers was part of a larger initiative known as Operation Breakthrough created by the Nixon administration in 1969. The Village Towers, located at 709½ South Front Street, were completed by 1972.

The Mankato city council bought the land in 1994 for $160,00, apparently marking the first time Mankato bought property with the sole purpose of tearing it down. Mankato engineer Ken Staford stated the structural foundation was safe, but noted the individual units were “less than desirable”. The towers were torn down in mid-August 1994. One of the students who lived at the towers, Shani Coffman, observed a gradual deterioration of the towers in their final months. Students who lived at the towers sometimes referred to themselves as “tower flowers”, showing the sentimental impact the towers had on some members of the Mankato community.


.25 Cubic Feet (1 Folder) : 10 Black and White Photographs

Language of Materials



The collection consists of ten photographs from August 1994 depicting the destruction of the Tornado Towers in Mankato.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Photographs were found in the University Archives in 2012.

Tornado Towers Demolition. Photographs, 1994.
Carter Logan processed this collection in April 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Southern Minnesota Historical Center Repository

Minnesota State University, Mankato
Memorial Library
PO Box 8419
Mankato MN 56002-8419 US