American Disasters - Great Tennessee Disasters

Reviewed Resources for Students and Teachers 


Great American Disasters State by State

Alabama  - Alaska  - Arizona  - Arkansas  - California  - Colorado  - Connecticut  - Delaware  - Florida  - Georgia  - Hawaii  - Idaho  - Illinois  - Indiana  - Iowa  - Kansas  - Kentucky  - Louisiana  - Maine  - Maryland  - Massachusetts  - Michigan  - Minnesota  - Mississippi  - Missouri  - Montana  - Nebraska  - Nevada  - New Hampshire  - New Jersey  - New Mexico  - New York  - North Carolina  - North Dakota  - Ohio  - Oklahoma  - Oregon  - Pennsylvania  - Rhode Island  - South Carolina  - South Dakota  - Tennessee  - Texas  - Utah  - Vermont  - Virginia  - Washington - West Virginia  - Wisconsin  - Wyoming 


These pages do not begin to cover all the disasters that have taken place in every state.  There is also controversy over what constitutes and defines a "great" disaster from any other kind.  All disasters are "great" to those directly involved in them.

So these pages are a mix of "great" and "not so great" disasters.  The major disasters are all covered in the larger sites I have linked to as resources and the rest are related items of interest.

For example, you might not find a particular major disaster on this list, but it may be included in a site such as, which is one of the resources found here.

This is an excellent place to begin your research.  The links found here lead to an ever widening amount of information.  Good luck in your efforts.

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Clarksville, TN Fire, Apr 1878 __ "Clarksville new presents a picture like unto Chicago. The whole center of the business portion of the tow is a mass of ruins." An overview with links to additional resources. - From -

Coal Creek, TN Fraterville Mine Explosion, May 1902 __ "Of the large number of men and boys who went to work this morning, only one is alive and his is so badly injured that he cannot live. This man is William Morgan, an aged Englishman, who was a road man in the mine. He was blown out of the entrance by the force of the explosion." An overview plus links to additional resources. - From -

FEMA: Tennessee State Disaster History __ Tennessee Disaster History. Major Disaster Declarations. Click on the 'disaster #' on the right side of the list to access detailed information including images and more. - illustrated - From FEMA -

Fraterville Mine disaster __ "On May 19, 1902, at 7:30 a.m., an explosion took place at the Fraterville Mine, a coal mine located between the towns of Coal Creek and Briceville, Tennessee. All 216 miners inside the mine lost their lives." An encyclopedic article. - From wikipedia -

The Great Nashville Wreck of 1918 __ "The two 80-ton engines met, causing an explosive sound heard two miles away. The ground quaked and the waters of nearby Richland Creek trembled. The wooden cars crumbled and hurled sideways, hanging over the embankment. One train telescoped the other." A good overview. - From -

The Great Train Wreck of 1918 __ "The Great Train Wreck of 1918 occurred on July 9, 1918, in Nashville, Tennessee when two passenger trains collided head-on. The collision killed 101 people and injured 171, making it one of the deadliest rail accidents in United States history." An encyclopedic article. - From wikipedia -

Historic Disasters: Tennessee Disasters __ You will find a list of Tennessee disasters. Each list entry is a live link to additional information. - From -

Pinkney, TN Mine Tipple Collapse, May 1897 __ "All of the killed and wounded were on top of the tipple when it collapsed. Only two escaped without serious injuries. One young man, seeing his danger in time, jumped twenty feet to a tree, and escaped with slight scratches." A good overview with links to additional resources. - From -

The Sultana: Death on the Dark River __ Narrative and links about the Sultana disaster at the end of the US Civil War. - illustrated - From -

Super Outbreak __ "The Super Outbreak is the largest tornado outbreak on record. From April 3 to April 4, 1974, there were 148 tornadoes confirmed in 13 US states and one Canadian province: Ontario, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and New York." An encyclopedic article. - illustrated - From wikipedia -

Tennessee Disasters Floods, Fires, Tornadoes, Mine Explosions and more __ Tennessee Disasters. Events that touched our ancestor's lives: Tennessee floods, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, storms, mining accidents, explosions, ..." Many click to read articles and resources. - illustrated - From -

TN Encyclopedia: DISASTERS __ A good article covering the history of disasters in Tennessee. - From -

United Airlines Flight 823 __ "...a scheduled flight from Philadelphia International Airport, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Huntsville International Airport, Huntsville, Alabama with 39 on board. On July 9, 1964 at approximately 18:15 EST it crashed 2 miles northeast of Parrottsville, Tennessee after experiencing an uncontrollable fire on board, killing all 39." A brief encyclopedic entry. - From wikipedia -

Worst Ship Disaster __ America's worst naval disaster claimed more lives than the sinking of the Titanic, but because of a strange twist of fate few people have ever heard of it." - illustrated - From -


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