SURVIVOR STORY: Ellen Lohmeyer - WDRB 41 Louisville News

SURVIVOR STORY: Ellen Lohmeyer

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April 03, 1974 Tornado Hits Louisville, KY

It was 4 p.m. and I was in my office on the second floor of a two-story building on New LaGrange Road, which is 2 blocks away from the intersection of New LaGrange Road and Shelbyville Road. I was not facing the window at the time, and did not see what was forming outside.

Suddenly my shoulders were being forcibly shaken, and I heard that "still small voice of the Lord" telling me to go home immediately. That is when I turned around and saw that it was getting very dark outside, and I went over to the window to see what was happening. It appeared that we were about to have a very bad storm. I turned back to my desk, and just as I reached it, my shoulders again were firmly shaken. This time the voice said "I told you to go home NOW!" Immediately I got my purse and turned out my lights, then I went in and told a co-worker that I was heading for home. He said "What's the matter, Ellen? Don't you trust the Lord?" I said that I surely do and that He was telling me to go home.

I got into my car and headed toward Shelbyville Rd., turned west and went all the way down to Lexington Rd., then went to Grinstead Dr. and turned left and went two blocks to Cherokee Pky. That took me to Willow Ave., which leads to Eastern Pky. I turned west and went to Norris Place and turned and went to Stevens Ave., ( my home street). I went west to Hartmann Ave., and saw my father, Walter Lohmeyer, standing in our front yard looking up at the dark brown billowing clouds. I did not sound my horn or notify him that I was there. Just then that "still small voice" told him to turn around. He did and saw me. He took off on a run and ran through the house and out the back door. He opened the garage door, just as I was coming down the alley. I pulled in. We ran through the yard and went down into the basement. Mother, Margaret, did not have time to come down the steps to join us before it hit. Thank God, she was not hurt in any way by not having gotten down the steps. Dad and I watched it as the tornado hit, and a huge beam from the roof of an apartment house down at the corner flew up the alley as did the whole roof. The beam landed behind the garage door where I had just been two minutes prior to that beam landing there.

The wind did not last long but seemed to be the longest two minutes I can remember. We went upstairs and out the front door to see what had been damaged. Our home was not damaged but we lost a big tree in our backyard. A tall tree in our next door neighbor's home fell over and knocked down part of his porch and the porch next to that house.

What really made me realize that God had just spared my life in a very dramatic way was when I saw and heard what had happened to ALL of the streets that I had just taken a few minutes before to get home. Lexington Rd., Grinstead Dr., Cherokee Pky., Eastern Pky. and the upper part of Stevens Ave. were all severely damaged and suffered almost complete loss of trees and power. Cherokee Pky. is around Cherokee Park, and that park was totally demolished. It took years of cleanup and rebuilding for these streets and many other areas of Louisville to regain a semblance of what Louisville had looked like prior to the tornado.

My sister, Jane, was on a bus coming home from downtown. When she got to Eastern Pky. and Baxter Ave., and was only four blocks from home, the driver could not come farther out Baxter and turned west down Eastern Pky. He kept on driving and she finally told him that she had to be let out so that she could get home. She had to walk from Poplar Level back up to Baxter and then on home. She could tell that we had just had a tornado and was really concerned about what was going on at home. Even though the whole part of Eastern Pky. where she was walking was in a mess, she did not get hurt in any way.

When that "still small voice" is talking to you, it is the Lord who has something important that He wants to tell you!

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