Our hearts go out to our neighbors who were affected by the Feb. 5 tornado outbreak that ripped through Tennessee and other Southern states. Striking late at night and into a terrifyingly lightning-lit early morning, the supercell-spawned tornados killed more than 60 people and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Coworker Bill, who lives in Gallatin near one of the twister touchdowns and was closer still to a 2006 outbreak, offers his poignant perspective on the storm that once again hit right in his backyard.
One of the properties that suffered extensive damage by the tornado was a historic one: Wynnewood, the largest existing log structure in Tennessee. About half of the two-story historic stagecoach inn in Castalian Springs is now gone, much of the surviving structure has shifted several inches off its foundation and more than 100 trees—many of them beautiful, large Eastern Red Cedars—were destroyed.
I recently had the opportunity to see some of the damage up close: On Saturday, Feb. 9, some friends and I headed north from Nashville to aid in the tornado cleanup in Sumner County. We were assigned to the Wynnewood site, where we worked alongside members of the Bledsoe’s Lick Historic Association to clear massive amounts of tree debris and heavy brush as well as help recover historic artifacts.
When his chainsaw wasn’t buzzing, Anthony Angel, one of the association’s members, pointed out the devastating path the tornado carved across the landscape, a storm that arbitrarily took the life of a mother and saved her year-old baby all within view of Wynnewood’s front porch. By the end of the day my friends and I were pretty darn tired, but we left amazed and inspired by the dedication of community members. Check out some of our photos here.
There is good news on the horizon for Wynnewood and those dedicated to its preservation. Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen has pledged that the house will be rebuilt. And I’m looking forward to covering the site’s upcoming Colonial Fair and Wynnewood Mayfest in American Spirit, the magazine we publish for the DAR. To learn more about the restoration and to contribute to the project, go here.