Ruskin Heights tornado still haunts

Postcard pic-Ruskin Heights Tornado.jpg

By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
Northeast News 
August 22, 2012 


This real photo postcard spotlights the damage from the May 20, 1957, Ruskin Heights tornado that carved a 71-mile path of devastation from Williamsburg, Kan., to just north of Raytown, Mo. The caption on the front states the view is looking north from the Leonard Smith home.

By the time the all-clear had sounded from the newly formed National Weather Bureau, 44 people had been killed, hundreds suffered injuries on both sides of the state line and more than 600 homes lay in ruin in the storm’s path.

From a meteorological standpoint, the conditions were ripe on that day for super-cell thunderstorm development. According to the National Weather Service, which maintains a web page specifically dedicated to the storm systems that spawned the Ruskin Heights tornado, more than 50 tornados formed that day as a result of a low pressure system centered over central Nebraska that combined with a high level storm system coming off the Colorado rockies. Cool, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico further intensified the storm system. The first tornado touched down a little after 11 a.m. just north of Goodland, Kan.

In the months following the storm, Ruskin Heights residents mostly rebuilt and moved on with their lives. For years following the tornado, some residents were still alarmed by the passing of the Missouri Pacific freight trains, the line running north and south along Blue Ridge Boulevard. Engineers often blew their whistle as they passed so residents could tell the loud roar was a train and not another tornado funnel.

A memorial to those who lost their lives was dedicated one year after the storm and still stands as a testament today near 87th and Blue Ridge Boulevard.

The personal message on the back of the card reads: “Houses used to stand where all this rubble is. 800 were destroyed. Dear Helen, Having a wonderful time here. A little warm but house is air conditioned. (103) We go swimming at the country club almost every day to cool off. Went shopping at Macy’s etc. and bought two dresses. Saw the play Pajama Game. Steaks grilled outdoors tonight. Mary Wischnact.”

The card was sent to Mrs. Helen Miller, 172 Louvane Drive, Kenmore N.Y. on Aug. 2, 1957, a little over 60 days after the storm hit.

If you’d like additional information about the Ruskin Heights Tornado, visit:www.ruskinheightstornado.arctecowl.com

Comments are closed.

  • Uncle Sam ‘Wants You’ to know his origins

    June 30th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News Historians aren’t completely certain how the legendary character Uncle Sam was created or how he got his name.
    One prominent theory is that Uncle Sam was named after Samuel


    Winnwood has faded, but its legacy lives

    June 23rd, 2015
    by

    Northeast News A mere three stops after boarding the Interurban car of the KCCC&SJ’s Excelsior Springs line at 20th Street and Burlington Avenue in the then newly chartered North Kansas


    Flooding no is stranger to Kansas City’s West Bottoms

    June 16th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News This week’s postcard shows the result of countless days of rain and the lack of a levee system in the West Bottoms during a flood in June 1908.
    The


    Katz’s stores remain an architectural icon

    June 9th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News When Isaac “Ike” Katz was 13-years-old, he quit school and went to work for the Great Northern Railway to help support his family.
    Katz walked the aisles of passenger


    Memories of the 1908 flood

    June 2nd, 2015
    by

    Northeast News As we approach the rainy summer season, it is fitting that we run a postcard showing three scenes from the West Bottoms area immediately following the great flood


  • Ruskin Heights tornado still conjers horror for some

    May 19th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News Fifty eight years ago today, a string of savage storms rose from the southern plains states and tore a devastating path across the Kansas City area that some


    Motel Capri – Northeast’s Gold Standard for Motor Inns

    May 12th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News In the late 1950’s, an empty plat of ground just north of the old Boy’s Hotel at Admiral Boulevard and Highland Avenue caught the eye of three local


    Cursed be the villain who molests these graves

    May 5th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News In January of 1859, the town of Wyandot was incorporated and two streets were cut across what we now know as the Huron Indian Cemetery.


    Cliff Drive’s legacy endures time as a world-class park

    April 28th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News “Cliff Drive, Kansas City, Missouri.”
    So reads the description on the front of this postcard published by the Fred Harvey Company.


    As KC grew, so grew the City Market

    April 21st, 2015
    by

    Northeast News Building the imposing new City Hall at Fifth and Main Streets required the installation of roughly 60 circular caissons, five feet across, to support the massive structure.


  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    Weather causes havoc in HNE

    Weather damage. More than 40,000 trees were severely damaged or downed Thursday night just in Kansas City, Mo.

    Children’s Choice helping kids for nearly 40 years

    By Michaela Bishop Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Children’s Choice Daycare has helped over thousands of children within the past 39 years. The daycare itself helps children from ages ranging to

    retorts illustrated bryan stalder

    retorts illustrated bryan stalder [...]