The Washburn University Archives and Special Collections offer access Monday through Friday by appointment.
Please note all of the materials in the Archives and Special Collections are non-circulating.
It is always best to make an appointment at least 24 hours in advance of your desire to work in the Washburn University Archives and Special Collections due to both personnel and space constraints.
This is best done by directly contacting the University Archivist Martha Imparato either by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or telephone at (785) 670-1981.
The 1966 Tornado
The funnel dropped down over Burnett's Mound shortly after 7 p.m. on a hot, sultry Wednesday evening--June 8. It was so big some said it looked like a wall of wind, not a funnel. It roared so fiercely that Topekans all over town thought it was directly over their homes. It was a tornado, Topeka's biggest, and one of the most destructive in history. After it had passed, there was no doubt. The only questions were how much damage had it done and what could be done to right things again.
Topeka Capital Journal, The Storm Story
Before the 1966 Tornado
An aerial view of Washburn University shows the campus in 1961.
Map of the 1966 Tornado
The tornado headed straight for Washburn, then turned and cut a path through the heart of the city. --map from The Day the Sky Fell, 1966 Topeka Capital-Journal special section, p. 5.
Aerial Photograph of the 1966 Tornado Damage
No building escaped damage from the June 8, 1966, F-5 tornado.
Photograph of the 1966 Tornado Damage
The destruction of campus viewed at ground level.
Notice the overturned car in the foreground, and that the boards and rocks in the picture were buildings on June 7, 1966!
Aerial Photograph of the Campus Post-1966 Tornado
Temporary trailer classrooms were set up in villages around campus, which allowed Fall 1966 classes to begin on schedule.
Painting of the 1966 Tornado
Washburn University Professor of Biology and Washburn College Alumnus Robert Kingman painted this picture as a memorial to the five buildings totally destroyed by the tornado.