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.

  • A grand old flag with a grand old history

    June 21st, 2017
    by

    By Michael Bushnell Northeast News June 21, 2017 During the American Revolution, a number of patriots made flags for our […]


    Early 1900s school site is now interstate interchange

    June 14th, 2017
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News June 14, 2017 This view of The Paseo, between 15th and 16th streets, looks north […]


    retorts illustrated bryan stalder

    June 14th, 2017
    by

      Northeast News June 14, 2017


    River trade diminished near turn of century

    June 7th, 2017
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News June 7, 2017 “Boats on the river at the foot of Main Street, Kansas City, […]


    From packing meat to packing heat

    May 31st, 2017
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News May 31, 2017 Patrick Cudahy started in the meat packing business as a carrying boy […]


  • The ‘most beautiful’ steel bridge

    May 24th, 2017
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News May 24, 2017 In 1936, the American Institute of Steel Construction selected the Hurricane Deck […]


    Memorial an expression of gratitude

    May 17th, 2017
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News May 17, 2017 H. Van Buren Magonigle of New York was selected from a field […]


    And the rains came

    May 10th, 2017
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News May 10, 2017 Seems fitting with the spring rains we’re experiencing that we run a […]


    Spring has flowed for nearly a century

    May 3rd, 2017
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News May 3, 2017 People from throughout the Midwest have enjoyed drives along Cliff Drive’s rugged […]


    Aviation history took flight at Fairfax

    April 26th, 2017
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News April 26, 2017 This 1942 Max Bernstein linen postcard depicts the Aircraft Assembly Plant, Fairfax […]


  • Follow us on Twitter

  • What’s Happening

    Northeast Newscast Episode 15 – Scarritt Renaissance and the Kansas City Museum w/ SRNA President Leslie Caplan

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News June 23, 2017 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – This week on the Northeast Newscast, managing editor […]

    Kansas City Museum seeking input on parking solution

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News June 23, 2017 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The renovation and restoration of Corinthian Hall is […]

    SVN to receive another $450K in grant funds

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News June 22, 2017 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The good news keep rolling in for Scuola […]

  • Local Weather