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Time to help

July 2, 2011

Click here to view the photo gallery at Flickr (Photo by Preservation Massachusetts)

In early June a tornado ravaged towns in Central and Western Massachusetts.

Preservation Massachusetts put out a call to preservationists to assist the towns and property owners affected by the devastation (click the image at left to see their photo gallery).  To date, nearly 100 people have offered their time and expertise, some with prior experience in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

More details in this piece by  Margaret Foster at Preservation Online. Help is also being provided by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Northeast Office.

“You can’t recognize neighborhoods [anymore],” [Michele Plourde-Barker of Preservation Massachusetts] says. “Going through these streets that I was familiar with and seeing that trees are totally gone, these mid- to late 20th-century subdivisions are decimated as well as whole areas of downtown, it’s just unbelievable. You see it on TV, but you don’t think it’s going to happen here in Massachusetts.”

I arrived in Springfield the week after the tornado blew through.  Along the train tracks edging the river, you could see the damaged trees — branches ripped off, whole trees toppled over, some of the trees stripped of all their leaves, save for a few stragglers at the end of a few branches.

Our conductor said his brother had lost half of his house, and that a huge tree fell across both of the family cars, destroying both.

The car rental agent said a friend described the tornado as feeling a tremendous pressure in his ears and a sound outside.  Then the roof lifted up once and crashed down, lifted up again and crashed down again, and then all the windows blew out of the house.

There are communities that want to put things back in order and move along.  They need help figuring out how to do that; their buildings need expertise to help plan correct repairs and avoid unnecessary costs.  Can you help?  Click here for more information.

Click this image for Preservation Massachusett's website and to find out how you can help (Photo by Preservation Massachusetts)

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