FAQs About Disaster Recovery Efforts at Caddo Mounds State Historic Site
On Saturday, April 13, during the annual Caddo Culture Day event, Caddo Mounds State Historic Site was hit by an EF3 tornado. Many visitors were injured and one guest lost her life. Damage to the visitor center and museum is extensive, and a replica Caddo grass house was completely destroyed.
As an agency, now our focus is on the visitors, our Caddo Nation partners, community members and our employees who were impacted by this disaster.
At some point, we will shift our focus to rebuilding the site – and we will need your help. But for now, we urge those of you reading this to be generous in your support of the Alto community, Cherokee County and other communities who are suffering from the effects of the storm.
How were site visitors and staff impacted?
Tragically, many people were injured and one person lost their life. Our preservation family is mourning this terrible loss, and our hearts go out to the individual’s loved ones.
Site staff had only minor injuries. But members of the Caddo Nation and of the Friends of Caddo Mounds were among the many injured and traumatized by this horrific event.
We have seen media accounts that 30–50 individuals required medical attention and that some of these were transported by helicopter to area hospitals.
We hope you understand that we are not permitted to share personal medical information. We respect the privacy of each and every person who was injured and wish them a speedy recovery.
What is the extent of the damage to the site’s structures?
Roughly 50 percent of the visitors center building was demolished by the storm. We are working to obtain a structural assessment of what remains.
Fortunately, the exhibit items in the visitors center were replicas—we do not display actual tribal artifacts out of respect for the Caddo people and their beliefs.
The Grass House is gone. Some interpretive signage on the site grounds is intact, but some was lost.
The site's guest house suffered minor damage. Conditions of the utility buildings across the road range from demolished to mostly intact.
The demolished structures were primarily garage space for tractors. Those vehicles appeared to be okay, but were inaccessible when staff visited. The site managers’ house was slightly damaged.
On Wednesday, April 17, power was restored at the site.
Can I visit the site and assist with the cleanup and rebuilding efforts?
We greatly appreciate the support, but please do not visit at this time. We are still assessing damage as we can, and it is likely there are hazards present on site. There will be opportunities to help in the near future, but for now the site is closed to all but public safety and THC staff. We will share opportunities to help as they become available.
How can reporters and other members of the news media get information about this incident, recovery updates or history of the site?
Please direct all questions to Chris Florance, Communications Director for the Texas Historical Commission. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org; his direct number is 512-463-4565. After hours contact information is available on his voicemail at that number.
Where can I make donations?
The Friends of the Texas Historical Commission is raising funds to rebuild the grass house, a precious structure that was a labor of love by members of the Caddo Nation and the community. Learn more about the fundraising efforts here.
Check this page often for the latest updates.
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