Texas Tech University

Then and Now

State of Texas and Texas Tech University

Then and Now

Lubbock after the tornado and what it looks like today.

Dr. Robert Carr photo collection, Courtesy City of Lubbock.
Broadway church of christ after
Broadway church of christ before

Before:

At Broadway Church of Christ, 1924 Broadway, tornadic winds ripped tiles off the roof and debris littered the ground. After initially operating out of the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum, the Red Cross opened a headquarters in a second-floor office at the church, from which it helped tornado victims receive the assistance they needed.

After:

Today, no sign remains of the damage of 50 years ago.

10th and Ave O after
10th and Ave O before

Before:

The destruction of First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, on the northwest corner of 10th Street and Avenue O, became one of the most iconic images of the 1970 tornado. Almost the entire neighborhood just north of the church was damaged or destroyed.

After:

The church rebuilt in 1971 at 7702 Indiana Avenue. Centennial Bank now stands where the church once did. The rest of the neighborhood was eventually demolished, and the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center and the Mahon Library were built in its place.

LP and L after
LP and L before

Before:

Lubbock Power & Light's plant No. 1 at 5th Street and Avenue J was hit hard. Most of its west wall lay in bits and pieces on May 13, 1970.

After:

When it came time to rebuild, the brick wall was replaced with concrete to make it safer and sturdier going forward, and the upper windows on the building's south side were bricked over.

14th Street and Ave L after
14th Street and Ave L before

Before:

Much of the roof collapsed at the T.N.M. & O. Shops at 14th Street and Avenue L.

After:

But now, 50 years later, you'd never know it. After it was rebuilt, the only hint to building's age is in the faded paint of its sign.

Jones stadium after
Jones stadium before

Before:

The May 11, 1970, tornado famously bent the light standards at Jones Stadium in half. They were replaced by June 27, when Lubbock hosted the Coaches All-America Game, a postseason college football all-star game, for the first time.

After:

Today, Jones AT&T Stadium looks completely different. A renovation project from 2008-2010 made its east side nearly unrecognizable.

City hall after
City hall before

Before:

Curtains hang through a shattered window at City Hall, on the corner of 10th Street and Texas Avenue. Although City Hall lost power and communications during the tornado, it continued to be the community's information source for days after the tornado.

After:

Fifty years later, the building looks much the same, even the curtains. The replaced windows seem to be the only change.

tall building after
tall building before

Before:

The 20-story Great Plains Life Building, at Broadway and Avenue L, received a direct hit from the tornado and was actually twisted by the twister. Because of the level of damage to the structure, it sat vacant for several years amid talks of demolition. In 1975, it was instead extensively renovated.

After:

Today, the building is known as Metro Tower or the NTS Building, for its current owner. The damage from the tornado is visible with the naked eye – simply stand at ground level next to any of its corners and look up to see the twist. It's undergoing renovations again and is expected to open in late 2021 as high-rise apartments.

2000 block and broadway after
2000 block and broadway before

Before:

Originally a historic Lubbock home built in the 1920s, the Brookshire Inn opened in May 1969. Just one year later, the popular steakhouse in the 2000 block of Broadway was nearly destroyed by the tornado. Although it was about half full at the time it was hit, miraculously, no one was injured. The structure was rebuilt over the summer of 1970 and reopened in September.

After:

It changed ownership in 1976 and reopened as Gardski's Loft, a popular eatery until 2015, when another new set of owners closed it for renovations. A year later, they announced they couldn't complete those renovations, and eventually, the building was sold again. In 2018, it opened as Bier Haus.

6th and ave L after
6th and ave L before

Before:

After the tornado hit the Central Fire Station, at 6th Street and Avenue L, its brand new snorkel truck parked near the east wall was the only thing that kept the roof from collapsing completely. Firemen on duty there took shelter under the equipment until the tornado had passed, and then, with the roof held up by the snorkel truck, they got all the other equipment out of the building safely. Working diligently, crews repaired the more than $115,000 in damage to the Central Fire Station by September 1970. Repairs to the snorkel truck alone totaled $8,000.

After:

By 2000, the building had been vacated, so the city of Lubbock deeded it to the Lubbock Regional Arts Center hoping to encourage the development of a downtown arts district. The center changed its name in 2004 to the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts, or LHUCA. LHUCA has since grown from its initial firehouse building to a large campus of six buildings, four galleries, a theater, clay studio, rehearsal hall, event spaces and classroom spaces. Its Firehouse Theatre pays homage to its history.