Community Recalls Tornado Devastation 53 Years Later

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It is a day that many in the Greenwood community still recall with vivid detail, April 19, 1968. Even 53 years later, the anniversary date evokes memories of that devastating day.

This Associated Press article preceded the final death toll of 14.

DEATH TOLL IN GREENWOOD TORNADO REACHES 13
STATE POLICE FEAR MORE BODIES HIDDEN IN WRECKAGE
A tornado that devastated this western Arkansas town Friday killed at least 13 persons, police said today, as the search for additional victims resumed.
More than 270 persons were treated for injuries, either at hospitals in nearby Fort Smith or in an emergency medical center established in the library here, state police said.
The tornado swooped out of a spring thunderstorm at 3:23 p.m. Friday and slammed into the business district, leveling about half of the buildings on the town square and heavily damaging most of the others.
It also slashed through residential neighborhoods on either side of the square as it cut a trail of destruction half a mile long and 200 feet wide.
“It’s the roughest thing we ever had,” said Mayor Ed Hall, who estimated that two-thirds of the town of 2,000 was destroyed.
A shuttle of ambulances carried the more seriously injured to Fort Smith, 18 miles to the north.
State Police Capt. Damon Wilson said the first search was not thorough and that he was fearful more bodies would be found today.
The heaviest damage was on the square, a cluster of two-story brick buildings, most of them more than half a century old.
The bell tower and third story of the ancient courthouse toppled into the street.

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Tammy Teague

Tammy Teague

Education: 1995 MHS graduate; 1999 Arkansas Tech University Graduate - BA in Journalism. Career: Managing Editor - The Citizen; Copy Writer - Southwest Times Record; Editor - Resident Press. 20+ years experience in the news.

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