Stormy Weather

Update update: Our power came back on Tuesday afternoon. We had to throw away some food but it was, thankfully, just an inconvenience.

Update: This post was written around 8:30 Sunday evening. But at 8:43 we lost power at home. It’s still out and the recording on the power company’s phone line says that it may be a week or more before power is restored. Sigh. But, thankfully, having a foot-powered press means we can keep on printing!

Up in our northern corner of Connecticut, we, like many along the East Coast, spent the weekend preparing and then waiting for Hurricane Irene to do her worst. We prepared, of course, by making cocktails (Dark and Stormys since Hurricanes require way too many ingredients) and watching Key Largo. Tonight we’re listening to the last of the wind as the storm moves on. A few more hours of this and then we’re done, the forecasts say. Luckily, we didn’t feel much of the sting of the storm. No power loss, no trees down around us, a fairly dry basement, and the Shop is as we left it on Friday. Friends and family in the hurricane path are safe and sound, including those in Lucky Duck’s former Brooklyn home, on the edge of the NYC evacuation radius.

This morning we looked out and saw that our road was closed just beyond our driveway.Road closed
We walked down – as the eye of the storm passed over – to see why. It turns out that Irene helped the little river at the bottom of the hill become a not-so-little river and rise over the bridge, flooding the road.

That's water over the bridge...

Ultimately, our corner of the state was spared what could have been a great deal of destruction. This has everyone here talking about the famous (in these parts anyway) Flood of ’55. Even though it was before my time, the story of the flood is well known to me. The short version: In August of 1955 hurricanes Connie and Diane hit the state of Connecticut within five days of one another – Connie on the 13th and Diane on the 18th. As a result, southern New England and, specifically, northwest Connecticut experienced severe flooding on August 19th. Winsted – my home town and new location of my print shop – was one of the hardest (if not THE hardest) hit cities in the region.

The building that housed my great-grandfather’s shop and is now the home to Lucky Duck Press was one of the lucky ones that survived the force of the Mad River – not usually so irate – barreling down its channel alongside Main Street. One reason the Shop avoided destruction was the diversion of the water by the toppled wood structures nearby.

Mad River and The Shop

Photo by Dan Barrett

This is a picture of what the Mad River looked like this morning, with Main Street on the left and the Shop building to the right. The water is typically about three feet lower than the three white marks at the water line on the concrete wall.

Shop from Elm Street

And this is a picture after the flood in 1955. The Shop is to the left of center, the building still standing. The Bannon Building, in ruins on the right, is the one that helped divert the water and save the Shop. The people are standing on the north side of Main Street and the river is just beyond it.

Bannon building from Main StreetThis is a closer view of the Bannon Building and the side of the Shop. In its place today, Bridge Street spans the river. Below is another picture of the Bannon Building showing its facade.

Bannon BuildingBelow, another photo of the Shop, the Bannon Building, and the rubble that was Main Street that day.

Rubbled Main StreetLastly, an aerial view of the Shop, the river, and Main Street. The Shop is at the right of the frame with the flattened Bannon Building to its left. (You can also see the old railroad station, across the street from the Shop, in the bottom right of the photo.)

Aerial view

For anyone still dealing with the hurricane, now tropical storm, and its aftermath please be safe!

Goodnight Irene.

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