Grant pays to remove reminders of 2000 tornado from cemetery
Last week, the last of the tornado-damaged trees at Hubbel Hill Cemetery came down.
It's been nearly five years since the May 11, 2000, tornado struck Tonganoxie, coming in from the west over Hubbel Hill, flattening farmsteads and shredding the cemetery's trees in the process.
Last week, Larry Sarlls, Linwood, brought his equipment and took down two century-old pine trees. And he and his crew trimmed broken limbs from a tall cedar nearby.
This was funded by Peruvian Connection, a global mail order clothing company headquartered near Tonganoxie. Kay Soetaert, a Peruvian Connection employee, said the firm's owners, Annie Hurlbut and her mother, Biddy Hurlbut, started working on Tonganoxie trees just weeks after the tornado crossed the town.
In Elm Park, a housing addition on the west side of U.S. Highway 24-40 between First Street and Fourth Street, dozens of trees had been destroyed by the tornado. A $25,000 grant from Peruvian Connection paid for replacement trees.
This year, the Hurlbuts decided to put more of the money in the fund to use -- by working on the trees at the cemetery.
"And it's possible there will be some replacements put in, such as shrubbery and/or trees in the future," said Soetaert, who also is a member of the Tonganoxie Cemetery Association, which oversees Hubbel Hill Cemetery.