What a week. It’s been a tough one here in Franklin county where Irene has left many of the communities here trying to reckon with the results of some truly epic flooding. It’s rare for this part of the country to make national news, and you never hope to make it for something like this, but that’s what has happened.
The long and short is that the Connecticut River watershed received far more than it could handle and many homes and businesses that were in low-lying areas got hit pretty hard, in addition to many roads, bridges, etc., that were on or near existing water.
The above photo is of nearby Shelburne Falls, MA, which was frequently in the news as an example of some of the worst flooding (It’s also where Per Brandin has his shop but he’s doing fine, though he almost had to evacuate when there were concerns about a potential dam breach upstream). The left-hand side is where the river channel normally is while the right is where the road is (or used to be).
Some other rodmakers I know weren’t so lucky however, especially those in Vermont. If you remember your rodmaking history, you’ll know it’s not the first time Vermont rodmakers have dealt with flooding (the old Chubb Rod Co. in Post Mills, VT, was damaged by floods several times, including in 1869 when the entire shop was destroyed). It appears, unfortunately, that history has repeated itself.
Bob Gorman, of Green River rods, got hit especially hard. I snapped these photos at his shop in Southern Vermont a few days after he had returned home after having been evacuated just before the height of the storm. The first two show the sand and silt deposits left behind by the flooding, and the last shows Bob’s airstream trailer which was washed downstream and pulverized after being wrapped around a tree. The shop itself was also damaged pretty badly after the floodwaters excavated foundation material from under shop and deposited a 2 1/2 foot sand dune on the porch and downstream side of the building. It was also a foot high in the shop interior.
I also heard from another Vermont rodmaker, Dave Kenney, whose shop is up in the Montpelier area and who reports losing a stock of seasoned bamboo and some machinery to Irene. While unfortunately there isn’t much to be done about the machinery, I thought that it might be a nice idea for any rodmakers who have some extra bamboo to donate it to Dave so that he can start to get back on his feet. If that’s you then feel free to shoot me an email or else by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If there are other rodmakers in the area who have things to report feel free to send them my way and I’ll post them here. Hopefully we can all help these guys get going again. Rodmaking is a hard enough job without things like this happening, so I figure it’s the least we can do.
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