2011 part 1.1: Video’s of Shelburne Falls Irene Flood 8.28.11
After seeing a picture posted on facebook by a friend, I dropped everything and headed downtown. The road was swamped by Gardiner Falls, so I hiked in the rest of the way through the blustery rain, along the railroad tracks. My first sight was the water overflowing Conway Street and through the cutlery factory. I took videos and pictures for a while there, then ventured towards the bridges, along the high ground near the trolley museum. Coming down off Ashfield Street was a little surreal, as the full force of the raging waters washed across my soul. This was a life-changing event, a milestone, a signpost, a watershed of unimaginable unbridled fury. I got to State street, which was being overflowed with backwaters that were caused by the buildup on the bridge of flowers. It pushed back and squeezed out between buildings and through the buildings too. I arrived at my gallery at 44 state street, the water was an inch deep or so on the sidewalk, and i noticed water pouring onto the sidewalk from the BASEMENT! I then realized the impact…but in a helpless sort of way, it was fascinating and devastating at the same time. Maybe my store will go under, that was funny in a way, like the ultimate practical joke, it is best to go along for the ride. Unaware of the evacuation notice for state street, I entered the gallery with the notion of saving a few things that were in the portion of the space that overhangs the river. It projects out about 10 feet, supported by stout wooden angle braces. The water was right there by the back window, rushing by the level of my toes, when normally it is 15-20 feet lower. Aware of the logs, propane tanks and whatever else rushing by, my adrenaline was surging…i took an educated risk, based on my years of construction experience, which usually begins with a destruction period to get the job rolling. I feared the overhang may just fold into the river, but i knew it would be preceeded by huge smashing sounds, creaking, and whatever else. In that event, i was poised to leap into safe territory. I grabbed some computer stuff, some very pricey bronzes, and a few other odds and ends, and put them up safely from the water…well, that is if the water didn’t come up another 3 feet. I hung out in the store for a while and took some picture out the windows, some of which are in the previous post. By this time the water was lapping at my doors. I couldn’t take watching my store go in slow motion, so i ventured back to the McCuskers vicinity, and hung out there for a while, getting more pix and video. Maybe an hour later i went back to 44 state street and the water had already receded by a few feet. it turns out I was in metal stone arts gallery during the crestwater, and i was saved from the water’s silty wrath by a mere 4 inches! My hardships would come in the following weeks, as the town became a virtual shopper-free ghost town, though my losses were minimal compared to many kind folk around the village and throughout the Eastern US. following are 2 of the videos i shot that day, which happened to be very useful for those who were concerned for their loved one’s in the village…youtube and facebook were prime factors in dispersing critical information.
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