>

Old Photos: 1957 Ruskin Heights Tornado

All the devastation happening around the country this year has a direct parallel to the weather events of 1957 when an unusually high number of tornadoes and floods caused a significant death toll and property loss. Everyone in this area knows about the F5 Ruskin Heights tornado that destroyed a neighborhood in Kansas City  but it was only one of the 57 tornadoes registered during the 3 day period in May of 1957 which killed 59 people.

These pictures taken for the Life Magazine article “New Terror in a Savage Spring, A Record Rampage of Tornadoes and Sudden Floods” are not that different from what we see on the news from Joplin, MO, Reading, KS and Oklahoma. In 54 years the science and technology didn’t significantly improve our safety, and although we have better storm warning and detection systems and instant channels of communicating the information to the affected areas, this article could have been written today – from devastation and tragedy to looters – not much have changed.

Missourians groping their way, stunned and bleeding, from homes just shattered by a tornado, were the latest terrified victims of a terrifying season for the Southwest and Midwest……In the battered area all this seemed to confirm a widespread belief that the weather patterns in the region were changing and producing more tornadoes than ever…

 

©Time Inc. Grey Villet

©Time Inc. Grey Villet

©Time Inc. Grey Villet

At her ruined home in Hickman Mills, Joan Schultz, 6, clutches her kitten Joan. Her family and kitten crawled under house during tornado.©Time Inc. Grey Villet

Arrested for looting. Two men are held by Guardsmen near Ruskin Heights Shopping Center.©Time Inc. Grey Villet

©Time Inc. Grey Villet

©Time Inc. Grey Villet

©Time Inc. Grey Villet

©Time Inc. Grey Villet

©Time Inc. Grey Villet