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Small Town Kansas: Reading

Updated on February 4, 2017
Virginia Allain profile image

I'm carrying on my mother's research into our family history. I've self-published some family memoirs & learned a lot about different eras.

Reading - a small Kansas town

In 2011, Reading suffered huge damage from a tornado. I recently talked to my second-cousin who lives in Reading. Sad to hear of all the houses destroyed by this tornado. I've included some photos, video and news coverage about this disaster.I don't remember Reading, Kansas but family photos show me there, a toddler among bigger cousins. My dad's parents, Ren and Cora Martin lived there for awhile after they sold their farm.

Since I've been working on my father's book, I started to wonder about this small Kansas town. Here's what I found out about it.

(the photo shows a Martin family reunion at the house in Reading)

Finding Reading on the Map - (HINT: it's near Emporia)

show route and directions
A markerreading, KS -
reading, KS
get directions

B markerthe county seat of Lyon County -
Emporia, KS
get directions

C markerArvonia, KS -
Arvonia, KS
get directions

News Footage of the Reading KS Tornado - of May 21, 2011

Storm Chaser Video of Reading Tornado - May 21, 2011

Earlier Benefits and Fundraisers Held for Reading

I get shivers just hearing how different towns, agencies and individuals have stepped up to help Reading after the tornado.

Is there something you or an organization that you are in can do to help?

  1. The money collected from the art auction goes to the communities of Reading and Joplin ($316.75 a piece from The Topeka Artists Group here in Topeka Kansas). The money for Reading will be donated to the organization that is helping get supplies for the school so the kids can have a great start to the new school year. The money for Joplin will be going to the Spiva Center for the Arts to help artists replace supplies they lost.
  2. Note from Barbara Schlobohm

    "Thank you again, Ottawa and Franklin County. You not only gave us $3000 for the park and the Chamber of Commerce added $2000, but you came and built a handicap accessible ramp into the temporary city hall so that the city clerk could come back to Reading to work FREE OF CHARGE. WOW! Ottawa, you are g-o-o-d people!"

  3. Note from Barbara Schlobohm on July 8 at 10:59am

    Kansas City West Kiwanis....THANK YOU! They raised $2,048.16 for the school supplies for Reading students. We normally spend around $1800 so this is perfect!

  4. Post from Barbara Schlobohm on July 8

    Free soil has been provided by Wildlife and Parks for the past couple weeks. They even load it. There is no need for ANYONE to pay for's free. Whomever hauls it might charge. There is a list of haulers on the information board in front of the school.

  5. Post from Barbara Schlobohm on July 7

    Jean-Paul Cheraud of the Kansas City Foundation has just called to say they will be sending $10,000 to the United Way of the Flint Hills to help with the rebuilding process of people's homes. My cousin, Brenda Chumley, works with him and put us in their eyesight. Thank you Jean-Paul and Brenda!

  6. July 5th Note on Facebook from Barbara Schlobohm

    The Freddy's franchise in Emporia is donating 20% of sales to the recovery of Reading.

Photos of Reading, Kansas (from the Martin family album) - (from the Martin family album)

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Ren Martin home in Reading, KS in the 1950s
The Ren Martin home in Reading, KS in the 1950s
The Ren Martin home in Reading, KS in the 1950s

Clyde's father ran a grocery store in Reading

Clyde's father ran a grocery store in Reading
Clyde's father ran a grocery store in Reading

Hunting Tornados in Lyon County, Kansas

Reading Kansas Will Rise Again

I created this shirt on Zazzle to raise the spirits of friends in Reading, KS.
I created this shirt on Zazzle to raise the spirits of friends in Reading, KS. | Source

Please Leave Some Encouraging Words for Reading KS as They Struggle to Recover from the Tornado - of May 2011

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    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @Coreena Jolene: It is sad to see homes from your family history disappear.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      @Craftypicks: What a scary experience. I'm glad you stayed safe from the tornado.

    • Craftypicks profile image

      Lori Green 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      I have been in one tornado in my life. The sky turned green. I never saw anything like that and there was no warnings as there was never a tornado in the area ever. I don't know why I knew it was a tornado but, my instincts said a green sky was not normal and I got my kids into the basement. The tornado touched down around 10 miles from me and didn't do much damage but, it's not something I'll ever forget. Prayers to the people in Reading.

    • Coreena Jolene profile image

      Coreena Jolene 5 years ago

      I enjoyed reading the section where it was reported what was done with the donated money. It's great to see things pull together. Sadly my mother's family homes are all gone from Kansas, between age and tornados, they don't seem to last.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      It seems that tornado's and other strong storm activity is becoming more common. Sorry to hear of the tremendous losses in Reading Kansas.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I grew up in Missouri, so Kansas was my next door neighbor. Kansas people are nothing if not resilient. Blessings to the people in Reading.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      It was suggested that the house shown became the Miracle Cafe. I've asked my dad if the address for the cafe was where his parents lived. I saw the photos on Facebook of the Miracle Cafe being torn down after the tornado. Sad to see these old houses and important community businesses affected like this.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 6 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I continue to pray for the tornado victims around the country this year. What a year! What a great page about Reading, Kansas, too. Excellent!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 6 years ago

      Nice lens! One of our daughters lives in Lawrence Kansas...we use to live in KC area of Missouri and the Tornado watches and humidity was too much for me...I love visiting but not living there

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      @MargoPArrowsmith: Those are sunflower photos that I took. Being a Kansas girl, I love sunflowers and they always cheer me up.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      LOVE the sunflower clothes

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 6 years ago

      I'm so sorry for those who's got hit by this horrible tornado in Kansas! It's almost unbelievable seen from overseas, although we finally had a tornado last year - a very rare event in this area of the world.

      All Reading and Kansas towns hit by this tornado are in my thoughts!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Nice lens about a small town. Tornadoes are terrible. I hope Reading is recovering.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      @anonymous: It won't be very peaceful there for awhile as people try to clean up and get back to normal after the tornado.

      I do like a small town atmosphere and find them more relaxing places to live.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wow I'm almost embarassed to share this, at first I thought this Lens was about Books or something but this Lens is Rather interesting!! I would now venture to say that Small Towns are making a Comeback and people like that kind of Living, Peaceful, Quiet and Quaint!!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 7 years ago from Central Florida

      @NanLT: Nan, I remember hearing the name Lebo over the years, but never visited that town. I enjoyed your lens on your childhood there.

    • NanLT profile image

      Nan 7 years ago from London, UK

      I remember basegall games between the teams at Lebo and the teams in Reading. I also recall.