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The Waco Tornado - Tragedy and Triumph

Waco Chamber of Commerce

Sound | 1992

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  •  The narrator is Harry Provence, former Editor of Waco Tribune-Herald 
  •  Introduction of Tommy Suites, Jimmy Willis, and Harry Provence 
  •  Opening Credits 
  •  Padgitt Building 
  •  Weather map for May 11, 1953 
  •  Waco Sun Pool and Cotton Palace Coliseum   
  •  Douglas Manufacturing Plant 
  •  Kady Park 
  •  First National Bank and Dennis Building 
  •  Texas Seed Co.  
  •  Joy Theater 
  •  Chris's Cafe 
  •  Palace Recreation Hall 
  •  First Responders  
  •  Rescue of Ms. Lily Matkin, last survivor found in wreckage 
  •  Rain measurements, water and electrical damages 
  •  Graysoil and McCrory's Variety store, evidence of vacuum effect 
  •  Destruction of automobiles 
  •  Procession of memorials at Waco Memorial Park 
  •  Waco Disaster Fund  
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Using still photos and amateur footage taken by survivors, this short documentary, produced in 1992, recalls the tragedy and acts of heroism that followed one of the deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history. A Native American legend about the location of Waco held that a tornado would never hit the area; on May 11, 1953, this legend proved false. Shortly after 4:30 p.m. on that fateful day, a powerful tornado touched down, cutting a path of devastation through the downtown area. The intensity of the storm was such that cars were tossed through the air and many buildings were completely demolished; in the aftermath 114 people had lost their lives, with over a thousand persons sustaining injuries. The reaction to the storm was swift, with the community, supported by military and law enforcement personnel, banding together to dig survivors from the wreckage and resurrect the city.