50 Years Ago…

These are images from the Belmond Tornado of 1966. There is an exhibit in Belmond today commemorating the tragic event that halted a Homecoming game and destroyed so many lives at 2:55pm on October 14, 1966…

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Six lives were lost although many thought there were two more than that.  The victims were John Greenlander, Sam Crabtree, Ella Pierce, Mrs. Edwin Chapman, Emma Sorenson, and Mike Kurtz.

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Damage estimates were placed at upwards of $11 million.

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109 homes were destroyed. 160 were badly damaged. 308 had some damage. Farm fields were torn to shreds. 75 businesses suffered tremendous damage. The remaining 37 businesses in town had some sort of damage to report.

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The tornado struck just minutes after the Homecoming parade. Thankfully, many of the school children had taken shelter in the Ramsey Elementary School and the Belmond Junior High. Teachers and staff were quick to get the children to safety both during the tornado and then afterwards when a gas line was apparently damaged in the grade school.

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Medical supplies and emergency personnel from all over the area were on scene within hours. Area hospital took the injured which were numerous.

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