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Today in Smithsonian History
A tornado passes through the counties of Columbia, Dodge and Washington in Wisconsin on August 21, 1857. The tornado was observed and tracked by A. Lapham of Milwaukee, a volunteer for the Smithsonian's Meteorological Project. The Smithsonian Meteorological Project, begun by first Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry, uses a countrywide network of volunteer observers to record climate information and send it to the Smithsonian via the growing telegraph network. The project existed from 1846-1870 and led to the founding of the National Weather Service.More