A look back in time – April 1956

65 Years Ago


April 29, 2021 - 8:52 AM

A savage tornado roared across Woodson County the night of April 2, leaving in its wake one dead, eight injured and widespread property damage. The storm bracketed Toronto but side-stepped the town itself. Ervin E. Reek, 45, whose home was the first in the path of the storm, was killed when the winds demolished his house about a mile west of Toronto. His wife, Helen, 37, was brought to Allen County Hospital with a broken arm, fractured ribs and multiple cuts and bruises. Their daughter Sharon, 12, received many cuts and bruises and is a patient at the hospital. Neighbors said that Mrs. Reek and Sharon were carried a quarter of a mile by the severe winds. Others who were injured but expected to recover were Mrs. Calvert Simms, her son, Michael, Mrs. Jack Bogle and Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Gorman. Other homes that were destroyed included those owned by Calvert Simms, Lewis Windell, J. L. McGee and Lewis Crossfield and Leslie Sherman. Barns and outbuildings on several farms were destroyed and the winds tore up several miles of telephone and power lines. 


About 425 school children, teachers and parents from Iola and nearby towns, boarded one of the 19 new high level coaches of the Santa Fe train in Iola this morning for a day in Kansas City. They will visit the zoo in Swope Park, several other points of interest, attend a matinee performance of the Ice Capades and be back in Iola by 8:15 p.m. Starting at Independence, the train picked up passengers there and in Chanute, and will stop for others at Colony, Garnett and Ottawa. More than 1,300 adults and children will be on the trip.

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