On Hatteberg’s People, next Tuesday, El Dorado will observe the 50th anniversary of a devastating tornado that took 13 lives and injured over 80 people. Donald Nace is a survivor of that day, it injured him and took his house. On Tuesday, the El Dorado Rotary Club wants to make sure no one forgets that deadly day.
“The tornado came through and it carried us almost directly a block east of where I’m standing now.”
“Our house would have been here and we were found in the back yards of these houses.”
It was June 10th, 1958 when El Dorado resident Donald Nace and his brother, sister and mom felt the full fury of the tornado.
“A man we had never seen before came to the door and told us that a tornado was coming.”
“At that time we went into the bedroom closet and it was just seconds later that I could hear glass breaking and the windows blew out of our house. The house started to come apart. The next thing I remembered I was laying on the ground. I really didn’t know where I was but I was laying on the ground it was raining very hard on me.”
(ABC News Report – 1958) “Tornado and tragedy, tonight El Dorado counts 13 dead and 57 injured. More than 150 families are without homes.”
Today, walking in the neighborhood where the tornado devastated, Don Nace knows he was one of the lucky ones, even though he spent weeks in the hospital.
‘I don’t mind talking about it and I don’t think it should be forgotten.”
But of all the tornados to hit Kansas in modern times, this one is the least remembered by the public. The El Dorado Rotary Club wants to change that. That’s why they’ve designed a memorial dedicated to the 13 victims who lost their lives in the tornado. The design will feature 13 pillars and a wind harp. The memorial will be a permanent fixture in Graham Park in El Dorado.
“I think the memorial is a great thing because it brings all those memories back. We rebuilt the house, replaced most of our possessions, healed from our injuries, school was starting and life just went on. I’ll never forget it, it was quite an experience.”
THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY AND MEMORIAL SERVICE WILL BE TUESDAY EVENING AT 5:30 IN GRAHAM PARK IN EL DORADO, WHERE THE MEMORIAL FOR THE VICTIMS WILL BE UNVEILED. TORNADO SIRENS WILL SOUND AT 5:45 TUESDAY EVENING. THAT'S THE EXACT TIME EL DORADO WAS HIT BY A TORNADO FIVE DECADES AGO.