The 1957 Tornado, Seen From Old East Dallas

by Paula Bosse

tornado_live-oak_040257_rusty-williams_dplThe view from Liberty & Live Oak… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Great shot of the historic Dallas tornado (which killed 10, injured at least 200, and left about 500 people homeless) as it was plowing through Oak Cliff and West Dallas on April 2, 1957, seen from the 2800 block of Live Oak.

Aside from the tornado, this is an interesting view looking toward downtown, the Medical Arts Building, and the Republic Bank Building (that rocket must have been Dallas’ tallest lightning rod at the time!). The building containing the strip of businesses at the right still stands (I love these buildings — there are a lot of them in the older parts of town) — a present-day view can be seen on Google, here. What stood out to me was a Burger House — I didn’t know of any other than the one on Hillcrest, but this one stood at 2811 Live Oak from 1950 or ’51 until about 1976.

Below, the businesses in the 2800  block of Live Oak — between Texas and Liberty — from the 1956 city directory (click for larger image):

live-oak_1956directory

Also, here is one of many of the newspaper reports on the tornado and its aftermath. This one captures the terror felt by those in the twister’s path. Of particular interest is the story of T. M. Davisson who hid with a customer in a large empty steel tank on his property.

tornado_dmn_040357_ewell
Dallas Morning News, April 3, 1957

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Top photo from the book Historic Photos of Dallas in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s by Rusty Williams (Nashville: Turner Publishing Company, 2010); from the collection of the Dallas Public Library.

Film footage of the tornado can be found in several videos on YouTube, here.

A previous Flashback Dallas post — “Tornado As Learning Tool — 1957” — is here.

Photo and clippings are larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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