Greensburg 10 years later: Tourism part of recovery

GREENSBURG, Kan. Greensburg is now a town with two identities and two stories that need to be told.

“It seems there are two separate times for Greensburg. There is the old Greensburg and new Greensburg,” says museum director Heather Coyne.

A single date separates the two. May 4, 2007 an EF5 tornado destroyed more than 90 percent of the town including the museum.

“We had nothing and people rallied to give us ideas.”

Some pieces of history from Greensburg were saved, including a soda fountain that now has a home in the museum.

It was pulled from the rubble and sent off for restoration. Dents and dings were internally left to remind visitors where it’s been.
About a block away, new Greensburg and old come together in different way.

The Big Well dates back to 1888. The well itself wasn’t damaged, but the building around it was destroyed.

Now a new building stands around it and is used to tell the story of the tornado.

“It talks about our experience with the tornado and firsthand what people went through and our re-building process over the last 10 years,” says tourism director and Big Well director Stacy Barnes.

She says it hasn’t been easy to get where the town is today and it has a long way to go.

“We've had ups and downs over the last 10 years and we'll continue to, but we will continue to be a thriving community.”

Barnes says while there may be two different towns, the people haven’t changed.

“I think that sense of community and identity is the same. I think that's why people chose to live here.”