The Dodoburg Tornado of May 27, 1917
The year was 1917. It was a warm Sunday late in May.
The low that particular morning in Nashville was a mild
62 degrees. The afternoon high was 84 degrees, which
was pretty close to normal. Folks had probably just finished their
evening meal and were beginning to enjoy the final moments
of relaxation of the weekend, when dark clouds closed in
on the Nashville area.
Then, between 7 and 8 pm Local Time, a tornado occurred
just north of Brentwood, Tennessee and headed off to the
east-northeast...toward the city of Lebanon. Along its path,
were the towns of Una, Bakertown and Dodoburg. Two
people were killed in the Una-Bakertown district and five
people were injured in Dodoburg. Many houses and much
timber were also destroyed in Dodoburg, including an old
poplar grove valued at about $30,000.
The tornado is believed to have grown to F2 strength
at some point along its path, but fortunately weakened as
it passed into a residential section of Lebanon. Even still,
it partially wrecked many homes and uprooted trees.
The tornado path was some 35 miles long and 200 yards
Total property damage from the tornado was between
$150,000 and $160,000.
Heavy downpours also occurred on May 26 and 27
of 1917, with a two-day total measured at the old Nashville
Weather Bureau of 3.11 inches. A 5-min gully wash of
0.56 inch recorded at the Bureau on May 27th equaled
the all-time 5-min rainfall record that existed at that time.
More details about this day's tornado event can be found
as part of an historical paper written by Weather Bureau
meteorologist Roscoe Nunn in 1921.
A Historical Note and Request:
It's hard not to be fascinated by the unusual town name
of Dodoburg, and the community--which was located in
Wilson County, near the intersection of Mount Juliet Road
and Central Pike--no longer exists. A quick search of
the internet fails to bring up much information about
Dodoburg. If you happen to have any information
or historic photos from Dodoburg, we'd love to see them.
Just send your information to: