Frances strikes Archives

nw-mailing-list at nw-mailing-list at
Tue Sep 14 20:42:15 EDT 2004

I expected someone else to respond about the damage to the archives from
Frances, but I'll report what I know in order to alleviate fears that some
members may have about damage to the contents.  I'll also point out the
seriousness of the roof problem.

  I was the first one to arrive at the archives after Jim Gillium began
calling local members when he discovered the water ingress last Wednesday.
The most important consideration is that the bulk of the archives precious
collection was untouched!  The water that came through the roof (which had
been repaired not too long ago) came down in essentially unoccupied areas of
the archives, i. e., it missed all of the shelves and filing cabinets.
Also, less than 50% of the floor in the front 2/3 rds. of the building (the
rear 1/3 is warehouse storage and was essentially dry) had standing water
that varied from zero inches to about 3/4 inch, tops.  All of  files and
photos stored on shelves were untouched.  All of the original ink on linen
paper drawings stored in flat filing cabinets were untouched.  All of the
documents in four-drawer filing cabinets were untouched.  All four computer
terminals and the wide format scanner and printer were untouched.

The main revelation is that the roof, which had not leaked under normal
rains, will need a complete replacement.  The two existing courses must be
completely removed and replaced with a new roof.  Big bucks!  I'm sure that
you will hear more of this later.

Back to last Wednesday, our first priority was to move the 20 or so
cardboard boxes of material that had been stored directly on the carpet
under the shelves.  These were set on dry carpet for a later evaluation of
the contents.  Then at least five more local members showed up with three
wet-dry vacs (in addition to the one already at the archives) and floor
fans, and Jim Gillum bought two commercial quality wet-dry vacs at Lowes.
Thus equipped, the seven or so members who responded were able to speedily
remove the standing water, and vacuum much of the water from the carpet.
The floor fans were positioned so as to complete the carpet drying.

Examination of the 20 or so cardboard boxes revealed a mixture of items.
There were a few historic correspondence files, but much of the material was
such things as multiple copies of labor agreements, diesel manufacturers'
manuals, etc.  Most of these had water damage, but many are salvable.  The
archives had a ironing mangle that had been used to smooth out some drawings
that had been wrinkled before we got them, so it was used to dry out some
file correspondence, thin pamphlets, etc.

I was not personally involved in the transfer of the recently-received NS
file cabinets out of the four-inch deep water in basement of the "brown"
building into the newly rented (and dry) "Charley's" building, but I was
told that most of these cabinets were on pallets or had a four-inch riser
below the first drawer so that water damage to those items was minimal.

To summarize, virtually all of the historic material in the archives was
undamaged, but we are facing a big expense for a new roof.

Godon Hamilton

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <nw-mailing-list at>
To: "N&amp;W Mailing List" <nw-mailing-list at>
Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 2004 11:28 PM
Subject: Re: Frances strikes Archives

> Please advise those of us members that live out of state what we might do
> help. I live in West Palm Beach, Florida & still picking up the pieces
> However if some additional donations are needed or whatever we can do from
> here let us know.
> Just a side note: My collection is ok
> Ron Wilkinson
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <nw-mailing-list at>
> To: <nw-mailing-list at>
> Sent: Thursday, September 09, 2004 7:22 PM
> Subject: Frances strikes Archives
> > When the remnants of hurricane Frances reached Roanoke, they dropped
> 6
> > inches of rain in less than a day's time.
> >
> > The deluge was more than the flat roof of the Archives building could
> > handle. The floor of the front two sections of the Archives was soaked
> > 1/2 inch of water. Some material stored in boxes on the floor has been
> > soaked. Jim Gillum discovered the intrusion late Wednesday morning
> > the peak of the downpour. Additionally, 4 inches of water had
> > the basement of the building next door where additional material was
> stored.
> >
> > Archives volunteers have vacuumed the water from the main Archives
> > building. They are now going through the wet boxes, trying to save and
> > out whatever was stored in them. The basement has been pumped out and
> > material stored there moved to another dryer building, a move that was
> > already planned.
> >
> > Damage to the collection is still being assessed.
> >
> > Stay tuned.
> >
> > Ron Davis
> >
> >
> > ________________________________________
> > NW-Mailing-List at
> >
> >
> ________________________________________
> NW-Mailing-List at

More information about the NW-Mailing-List mailing list