Personal Devastation From 1974

My family and I went through some serious personal devastation back in June or July of 1974 in the form of one of those famed Kansas tornados. Our family lived in a 14' x 70' mobile home parked in a mobile home park. I had a 1973 Ford Maverick that was about one year old at the time.

That day I'd been out driving around and when I saw the sky turn black I knew a major storm was coming so I decided to head home. I parked in the driveway next to my Dad's 1973 Ford company pickup, which was to my left. It was raining and blowing like mad, so I sat in the car with the motor running and the wipers going, with the automatic transmission in neutral. I was parked there for a few minutes, sitting in the driver's seat, looking around watching the amazing storm, when I happened to look out the passenger side window. My parents had a window air conditioner in the window to the right of the mobile home's front door. In a split second that seemed like slow motion, I watched as a huge gust of wind caused the mobile home to move towards me. The 2" x 4" boards supporting the air conditioner were knocked loose, and the air conditioner started falling out of the window in what I still remember as slow motion. A fraction of a second later, the entire mobile home started moving towards me. There was nothing between me and the mobile home. In what seemed like an eternity, the mobile home rolled over one complete time, rolling over the top of my my 1973 Ford Maverick and my Dad's pickup. It started out in lot 117 and ended up in the vacant lot 118, upright but demolished, though it still held it's mobile home box shape.

Our mobile home was tied down to the ground, but the cables snapped. Ours was the only one that was damaged. There was at least one mobile home that had recently been moved into the park and wasn't tied down at all, and it was left unscathed. My parents had an 18 foot travel trailer that was parked across the road, and it too was left untouched.


From the front end.

From the back end.

The damage to my 1973 Ford Maverick. After the car was repaired it was never the same.

The damage to my Dad's 1973 Ford company pickup.

A view of the front door and the window on the right that the air conditioner fell out of. From left to right is my youngest brother A.J., my brother John Arthur and one of his friends from the mobile home park.

The front of the mobile home from another angle. My Dad is standing in front of me. Notice that when the mobile home came to rest it came down with such force that the entire wall came loose and swung outward.

The view from the back side of the mobile home.

Another view of the front side of the mobile home. We were loading our things into a box van that used to be a rental truck belonging to a rental company that had a painted elephant mascot. Occasionally you will still see one of these trucks parked here or there even today over 30 years later.

A view from inside the mobile home.

Another view inside the mobile home. The refrigerator ended up upside down with the dishwasher wedged on top of it between it and the ceiling. We had already gotten the dishwasher down for safety reasons before this photo was taken.

A view of the living room.

A photo of another bedroom.

Another view from the back of the mobile home.