By Jeff Satterly and Roberth Muhlhauser
On March 23, 1913, the city of Omaha was enjoying a relaxing day of church services and Easter celebrations. The skies slowly grew dark, but the unsuspecting people of Omaha weren’t concerned. It was too early in the year for a tornado. And besides, common knowledge was that Omaha was tornado-proof, since most storms that did form broke apart by the time they reached the bluffs surrounding the city.
For this reason, it came as a complete and utter shock when, at 6 o’clock that evening, the earliest twister in national history tore through the city of Omaha. The tornado killed more than 100 people, injured more than 300, razed 2,000 houses and displaced 7,000 people before it passed Omaha. However, the city credited as being the Gateway to the West wasn’t about to give up. Led by Mayor James Dahlman, Omahans forged on the rebuild their beloved city.
The storm that spawned the tornado wasn’t done spreading destruction. As the system moved east into Ohio, it contributed to the massive rainfall that would result in the Great Dayton Flood on March 25, 1913.
Thanks so much to Caroline Pointer for letting us share a piece of this historical project on 4YourFamilyStory.com. We’re humbled by the interest in this project, and we really hope you enjoyed this snippet of history!
We’d also like to thank some of the great archives and archivists who have done so much to work to help preserve the amazing history of the 1913 flood, including the Dayton Metro Library and historian Trudy Bell. The amount of history compiled at these two websites is truly amazing. Lastly, thanks to Jason from InsuranceTown.com, who lent us some of the resources we used to help prepare content for the web and publish our blog, and inspired our Mapping History Contest.
Don’t forget to check out HistoricNaturalDisasters.com for more images, and for information on our Mapping History Contest – help us figure out the locations pictured in historic photos from 1913 and you could win $100!