Easter Tornado of 1913
The town of Woodbine is located along the Boyer River and was officially incorporated in 1877. On Woodbine’s earliest recorded Easter in 1913, a tornado struck around 6:30 in the evening.
According to the town’s newspaper — the Woodbine Twiner – Woodbine had a successful Easter day celebration. The Twiner reports that Easter Sunday had been overcast with the sky darkening in the late afternoon. The newspaper writes, “Very few people . . . were expecting a tornado, but nearly all felt that the atmosphere was peculiar.”
At about 6:30 p.m., a tornado struck the town, lasting for about five minutes. The tornado approached from the southwest and mowed a path two blocks wide through the southern portion of the business district and through the southern residence district. A clock recovered from a demolished home after the tornado struck had its hands stuck at 6:22 p.m.
On the Twiner’s March 28th printing, they feature a list of forty-two residences on the front page that were seriously damaged from the storm.
The Twiner reported about the damage immediately following the tornado:
Next morning it would have been a hard job to pass up and down some of the residence streets even on horse back, so thick was the debris in some places, and much of it was made up of trees and broken limbs strewn pell-mell. It will take years to restore things to the normal in this particular. Houses and stores can be, and will be, rebuilt, but trees can not be grown in a single year.
In fact, after the tornado the Woodbine Twiner even printed on schedule. Fortunately, their building was spared from damage. The building next door, the livery stable, wasn’t as fortunate and was destroyed by the storm (see photo).
There were no lives lost from the tornado; however, half a dozen people were seriously injured. Most of the minor injuries were cuts and bruises caused by flying debris. The storm also uprooted and damaged many trees throughout Woodbine.
Despite the significant damage to property and individual lives in Woodbine, the town began to rebuild almost immediately. The Twiner reports, “All have taken the thing philosophically. There is no folding of arms and sitting down to grieve over spilled milk.” Added to the difficulties of rebuilding, Woodbine received three inches of snow in the days immediately following the storm. However, this didn’t seem to hinder the town’s determination to rebuild. “Masons, carpenters, every man in fact that can drive a nail or push a saw, is in demand and have been pressed into service. The difficulty, indeed, is to get men enough to do the work needed,” the Twiner wrote.
Just five days after the tornado hit Woodbine, the Twiner wrote, “It is too early as yet to get accurate information as to rebuilding plans, but all business places destroyed or partially demolished will in all probability be rebuilt.” A week later, the main headlines on the front-page read: TORNADO SMITTEN, TOWN IS REPAIRING and PULLING THINGS TOGETHER AND TRYING TO FORGET THE HAVOC WROUGHT.
The Twiner hypothesized a week after the tornado that “everything at least in the business part of the town will be rebuilt, and in substantial form.” This assumption proved to be correct —most of the town rebuilt quickly after the storm.