Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pop History Moment: The Town That Refused To Blow Away

On this day in 1916 the town of Codell, Kansas was struck by a tornado. Nothing so unusual about that, as most of Kansas is located in Tornado Alley, a fact which has been well-enshrined in pop culture thanks in large part to the work of one Mr L. Frank Baum. Given the considerable damage such a force of Nature can cause, though, makes the situation bad enough, and not even I would make light of it.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketBut Codell was struck again - on this day in 1917 - likely just as residents had managed to get their lives back together from the previous year's calamity.

Which makes the fact that it was struck even harder a third time - on this day in 1918, resulting in ten deaths - that much harder for those of us gifted/cursed with a dark sense of humour. That familiar sensation of being simultaneously disheartened and amused can be very confusing.

Whatever the gods of coincidence were attempting to teach the town's residents was all for naught, however, as the gods of persistence won the day. All three tornadoes had struck at around the same time, between 6 and 9 PM; so while the afternoon of May 20, 1919, must have been one of the most nerve-wracking in the town's history, the day - by now referred to by the residents as Cyclone Day - resulted in no fourth tornado, and Codell has never been directly hit with the sky's windy fury again.
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