96 years ago: "Twin Tornadoes" ripped through Austin

On May 4, 1922, at least a dozen Texans lost their lives when the "Austin Twin Tornadoes" tore across the city leaving a trail of ruin in its path.

Today you can see some of those photo’s that captured the devastating event at the Austin History Center/Public Library.

 In harrowing grays, a funnel cloud swirls around the dome of the Texas State Capital.

It’s quit the sight captured in an old black and white photograph.

As most know tornadoes are not common in Central Texas but on May 4, 1922, 96 years ago, a pair of twisters ripped through parts of Austin, killing more than a dozen people and injuring 44.  The storm originally had one funnel cloud, but was eventually separated into two tornadoes.

The Austin History Center Records Analyst Jenna Cooper said the disaster wasn’t something most would anticipate especially in Austin. 

“It actually made its way through east Austin Travis Heights’s, Penn Field, St. Elmo, and Manchaca. It made its way through town.

The act of nature caused millions of dollars in structural damages throughout parts of the city. 

“Buildings that were demolished on St. Edwards Campus is astonishing. I’ve never seen anything like it in Austin,” said Cooper.

The Austin History Center has worked to preserve some of the photographs from that day.

“The image of the tornado behind the capital is something that circulates on line many people share it. It’s a very stunning image,” said Cooper.

Cooper said looking at each one of the photos is almost like taking a trip through history. And some may find it hard to believe.

“When people think of Austin they don’t think of a massive tornado’s,” said Cooper. If you’re interested in checking out the photographs stop by the Austin History Center / Austin Public Library