Nebraska State Historical Society Blog

The Destruction of Omaha's Easter Sunday Tornado

With an average of about 50 annually, tornados are not exactly rare in Nebraska. However, the one that hit Omaha on March 23, 1913, was a rare one. With a total of $8 million in damage, 103 fatalities, and 400 injuries, the Easter Sunday tornado is the deadliest in Nebraska history.

The description of the tornado's total destruction is powerful, but the best way to truly appreciate what happened that day is to look at pictures taken of the aftermath. We have a great many photos of that day in our collections; here is a small selection.

A picture postcard depicting a tornado & the damage in its wake. The caption reads: As tornado appeared after passing 38th St., Omaha March 23, 1913, 120 dead $8,000,000 loss.

A picture postcard of the ruins of houses in Omaha, NE after the 1913 tornado.

A picture postcard of the ruins of houses in Omaha, NE after the 1913 tornado.

Tornado damage, March 23, 1913. Omaha, Nebr. Illinois Central Bridge.

Tornado damage, March 23, 1913. Omaha, Nebraska. A scene on North 55th Street.

 

Tornado damage, March 23, 1913. Omaha, Nebraska at 25th & Grant Streets.

Despite the destruction and death toll, the people of Omaha quickly began the long process of cleaning and rebuilding.

 

A picture postcard of a crew of men in front of a tent by a house getting new rafters in Omaha, NE after the 1913 tornado.

A picture postcard of two men on a pole, presumably fixing downed power lines in Omaha, NE after the 1913 tornado.

A picture postcard of a horse-drawn buggy & a horse-drawn wagon amid the ruins of houses in Omaha, NE after the 1913 tornado.

A picture postcard of a crowd of people amid the ruins of houses in Omaha, NE after the 1913 tornado. 

While it was absolutely the worse off, Omaha was not the only Nebraska town to get hit by a tornado that day; a total of seven tornados touched down that day. We also have photos of the destruction wrought by a tornado in Yutan, Nebraska that day.

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