We said it wouldn't happen here...but we were wrong.
Omahans believed they were safe from tornadoes.
We found out differently on Easter Sunday in 1913.
That event started to change our ideas concerning the power of nature.
UNO History Professor Emeritus Harl Dalstrom specializes in Omaha history.
"It was what the old timers called a weather breeder," he said. "Those who were weather wise to the Midwest knew that something just might be haywire."
The devastation was phenomenal.
A tornado ripped its way down North 24th street on a warm, humid Easter Sunday in 1913.
The area near 24th and Lake was destroyed.
“There was a story that a tornado would never hit Omaha and some people say this went back to the lore of the native Americans but as we would find that day that's just what it was lore,” Dalstrom said.
Carrie Wieners is the Curator at the Durham Museum.
She's preparing photographs for an exhibit commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the 1913 tornado.
“One hundred and forty people died in this tornado,” she said. “A lot of damage done a lot of buildings that people think of as having been here forever like Joslyn Castle were impacted by that so it is a significant part of our history, did have a major impact on the city and was one of the major disasters here.”
But Omahans recovered. The scars of 1913 are long gone.
Professor Dalstrom says we started reacting the power of weather differently.
"You can see a good deal of modernization in this and a society that had some kind of organized response to a major catastrophe," he said “We learned that tornadoes can happen here.”