And Then Came the Flood … Part 2

By dancingintheraine

May 17, 2010

Category: Uncategorized

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I touched very briefly on Kristin’s house in Part 1, and I would like to return to that area, because that is where the historical Opryland Hotel is.

I say historical, because parts of it were built as early as 1977 (Magnolia). It is the largest non-casino hotel in the world. I used to work as a Senior Gardener in the Conservatory, and it was very disheartening to hear of the devastation that was wrought upon this icon. When I was working there, starting back in 2001, the hotel was bought out by the Gaylord Entertainment Company based out of Houston in the late 1990’s, but didn’t securely apply its strangling hold upon the hotel until the early 2000’s. I recall Jay Saveneigh (which we nicknamed Jay “Severance Pay”) walked through the gardens saying chop this, chop that. It seemed that if they could actually cut out the gardens with a rusty butter knife, they would be happy. Now, with the devastation you are about to see, they may have their wish.

To give you an idea of the layout of the area and the relation of the locations discussed in this part, I have presented a map and pinpointed the areas I will be discussing / showing. For an interactive map of the flooding, you can visit the Nashville.gov website and see the interactive map. You will see, on that map, that this area was entirely flooded:

The flood areas were wide spread. I recall as I first opened the website, sitting at Jody’s table, I was thinking that it wasn’t really as bad as I thought… until I zoomed in. Then, as the scale became a little closer to the point at which my mind could really wrap around it, I was in shock.

The Conservatory (2.75 acres), the low-light garden, was built in 1983. In 1988, Phase III was opened to the public, and unveiled the Cascades Garden (3.5 acres) and welcomed guests into the hotel in the Cascades Lobby, now the main lobby of the hotel. Above is a wonderful image that is representative of what the Cascades Garden was like.

If I don’t show you what it was like before the floods, unless you have been there, you might not appreciate the damage the flood did.

The flood, from a horticulturist’s point of view, was devastating. The contaminating flood water not only submerged plants not intended for being under water, but also swept many rare plants away.

The gardens were always a favorite amongst guests. As a gardener there, I recall many guests telling me that if it were not for the gardens being there, they probably wouldn’t have attended the various conventions that brought them there. The facility and grounds were so large, they were able to remove themselves from the bustle of the convention and get lost in “paradise”.

This is the beautiful pre-flood Cascades Lobby that welcomed the guests into the hotel. (Will we always look at these images and see them as pre-flood? Who’s to say?)

Here is an image of that very same lobby after the flood. I should say here that all the images of the hotel are not mine. I was able to find them on the web and felt compelled to share them with you because it was some place that is / was always dear to me. Even after I no longer worked there, I used to walk late at night through the gardens, enjoying the sounds of the water and sights of the illumination upon the plant life.

The Delta Atrium (4.5 acres) and connecting suites were completed in 1996. At the time, it was the largest construction ever to be done in Nashville, and is, today, only eclipsed by the construction of the former Adelphia Coliseum (now known as LP Field). The 0.25 mile Delta River has water samples from 1,700 rivers throughout the world. The Delta River was called home by a nice variety of fish indigenous to the United States.

The contaminated flood waters mingled with the water of the Delta River, and brought it out of its banks. Who knows what has happened to the fish.

I was never actually in a room on the garden level, so I found an image on the web. I don’t know who the lady is, so I blacked out her face for her “privacy”.

But here is the garden level room destruction. Please note the water line high up on the wall.

The beautiful Magnolia Lobby is the oldest part of the hotel, the part that was actually constructed in 1977. This exquisite lobby has welcomed in famous visitors not only from the country music realm, but also from the political and entertainment world. WSM (We Shield Millions) radio, branded “The Legend”, is just off the Magnolia Lobby. “The Air Castle of the South” is the longest running radio program in history, playing a major role in the history of American music by broadcasting what started off as the WSM Barn Dance in 1925, and became the Grand Ole Opry every week on Saturday nights. WSM radio has called the Opryland Hotel home since 1983. Through the sound-proof glass, you can watch live interviews as they happen on the radio. It’s such an experience for those never exposed to a radio studio. The radio studio was evacuated to Brentwood to continue its transmission.

Here is workers starting the clean up from the flood in the Magnolia Lobby area. Such a shame of the damage that the flood waters caused.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfL5j9ckcyo

Buses were used to evacuate guests. Boats were used to evacuate people trapped in their vehicles and in out buildings, such as the gas station on McGavock Pike.

I read somewhere that people in the surrounding areas were evacuated to the hotel Saturday night-Sunday morning, and then Sunday night had to be evacuated FROM the hotel to a local high school for their safety. It’s important to let everyone know that in most areas, the type of flooding that occurred is called flash flooding. There was virtually no warning. First, there was just average puddles, and all of a sudden, you had raging water surging at your feet.

To give you an idea of the scale of this complex, it has 2,881 rooms to include 200+ suites and 750+ atrium-facing rooms. It has 109, 465 ft2 of ballroom space, 319, 000 ft2 of exhibit space, 6 full-service restaurants, 3 lounges, 8 eateries, 14 retail stores, Fuse Nashville Nightclub, Relache Spa and Salon, an arcade, and 3 enclosed atriums totaling 10.75 acres under glass!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmZ0N3YgDI0&feature=related

The Springhouse Gold Club and golf course was also created in 1988. The par-72 links-style course was home to the Bellsouth Senior Classic at Opryland on the Champions Tour from 1994-2003. It was renamed “Springhouse Links” in 2001, and then “Gaylord Springs” in 2006.

And an aerial view of the Springhouse Links partially submerged, with bits of the golf course available like little islands in the chocolate milk water.

I touched very briefly on Kristin’s house in Part 1, and I would like to return to that area, because that is where the historical Opryland Hotel is.

I say historical, because parts of it were built as early as 1977 (Magnolia). It is the largest non-casino hotel in the world. I used to work as a Senior Gardener in the Conservatory, and it was very disheartening to hear of the devastation that was wrought upon this icon. When I was working there, starting back in 2001, the hotel was bought out by the Gaylord Entertainment Company based out of Houston in the late 1990’s, but didn’t securely apply its strangling hold upon the hotel until the early 2000’s. I recall Jay Saveneigh (which we nicknamed Jay “Severance Pay”) walked through the gardens saying chop this, chop that. It seemed that if they could actually cut out the gardens with a rusty butter knife, they would be happy. Now, with the devastation you are about to see, they may have their wish.

To give you an idea of the layout of the area and the relation of the locations discussed in this part, I have presented a map and pinpointed the areas I will be discussing / showing. For an interactive map of the flooding, you can visit the Nashville.gov website and see the interactive map. You will see, on that map, that this area was entirely flooded:

The flood areas were wide spread. I recall as I first opened the website, sitting at Jody’s table, I was thinking that it wasn’t really as bad as I thought… until I zoomed in. Then, as the scale became a little closer to the point at which my mind could really wrap around it, I was in shock.

The Conservatory (2.75 acres), the low-light garden, was built in 1983. In 1988, Phase III was opened to the public, and unveiled the Cascades Garden (3.5 acres) and welcomed guests into the hotel in the Cascades Lobby, now the main lobby of the hotel. Above is a wonderful image that is representative of what the Cascades Garden was like.

If I don’t show you what it was like before the floods, unless you have been there, you might not appreciate the damage the flood did.

The flood, from a horticulturist’s point of view, was devastating. The contaminating flood water not only submerged plants not intended for being under water, but also swept many rare plants away.

The gardens were always a favorite amongst guests. As a gardener there, I recall many guests telling me that if it were not for the gardens being there, they probably wouldn’t have attended the various conventions that brought them there. The facility and grounds were so large, they were able to remove themselves from the bustle of the convention and get lost in “paradise”.

This is the beautiful pre-flood Cascades Lobby that welcomed the guests into the hotel. (Will we always look at these images and see them as pre-flood? Who’s to say?)

Here is an image of that very same lobby after the flood. I should say here that all the images of the hotel are not mine. I was able to find them on the web and felt compelled to share them with you because it was some place that is / was always dear to me. Even after I no longer worked there, I used to walk late at night through the gardens, enjoying the sounds of the water and sights of the illumination upon the plant life.

The Delta Atrium (4.5 acres) and connecting suites were completed in 1996. At the time, it was the largest construction ever to be done in Nashville, and is, today, only eclipsed by the construction of the former Adelphia Coliseum (now known as LP Field). The 0.25 mile Delta River has water samples from 1,700 rivers throughout the world. The Delta River was called home by a nice variety of fish indigenous to the United States.

The contaminated flood waters mingled with the water of the Delta River, and brought it out of its banks. Who knows what has happened to the fish.

I was never actually in a room on the garden level, so I found an image on the web. I don’t know who the lady is, so I blacked out her face for her “privacy”.

But here is the garden level room destruction. Please note the water line high up on the wall.

The beautiful Magnolia Lobby is the oldest part of the hotel, the part that was actually constructed in 1977. This exquisite lobby has welcomed in famous visitors not only from the country music realm, but also from the political and entertainment world. WSM (We Shield Millions) radio, branded “The Legend”, is just off the Magnolia Lobby. “The Air Castle of the South” is the longest running radio program in history, playing a major role in the history of American music by broadcasting what started off as the WSM Barn Dance in 1925, and became the Grand Ole Opry every week on Saturday nights. WSM radio has called the Opryland Hotel home since 1983. Through the sound-proof glass, you can watch live interviews as they happen on the radio. It’s such an experience for those never exposed to a radio studio. The radio studio was evacuated to Brentwood to continue its transmission.

Here is workers starting the clean up from the flood in the Magnolia Lobby area. Such a shame of the damage that the flood waters caused.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfL5j9ckcyo

Buses were used to evacuate guests. Boats were used to evacuate people trapped in their vehicles and in out buildings, such as the gas station on McGavock Pike.

I read somewhere that people in the surrounding areas were evacuated to the hotel Saturday night-Sunday morning, and then Sunday night had to be evacuated FROM the hotel to a local high school for their safety. It’s important to let everyone know that in most areas, the type of flooding that occurred is called flash flooding. There was virtually no warning. First, there was just average puddles, and all of a sudden, you had raging water surging at your feet.

To give you an idea of the scale of this complex, it has 2,881 rooms to include 200+ suites and 750+ atrium-facing rooms. It has 109, 465 ft2 of ballroom space, 319, 000 ft2 of exhibit space, 6 full-service restaurants, 3 lounges, 8 eateries, 14 retail stores, Fuse Nashville Nightclub, Relache Spa and Salon, an arcade, and 3 enclosed atriums totaling 10.75 acres under glass!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmZ0N3YgDI0&feature=related

The Springhouse Gold Club and golf course was also created in 1988. The par-72 links-style course was home to the Bellsouth Senior Classic at Opryland on the Champions Tour from 1994-2003. It was renamed “Springhouse Links” in 2001, and then “Gaylord Springs” in 2006.

And an aerial view of the Springhouse Links partially submerged, with bits of the golf course available like little islands in the chocolate milk water.

Next to the Opryland Hotel is the Grand Ole Opry, a place that gives you a major notch on your bed post should you ever be invited to play upon it. It housed the Grand Ole Opry starting in 1974. This 4,400-seat show house opened up on March 16th with President Nixon in attendance.

The water reached above the front doors of the Opry House.

The beautiful stage of the Grand Ole Opry House has felt the footsteps of many famous people upon its surface.

This is very saddening. The stage itself was under approximately 2 feet of water.

There were many historical items like amps used by famous people that simply cannot be replaced.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipEhG_c_MVQ

Opry Mills Shopping mall was a joint venture between Opryland U.S.A. and the Mills Corporation. It sits on the former parking lot for the former Opryland Theme park. It contains 1,200,000 ft2 of retail space.

You can see the muddy waters of the Cumberland River just engulfed the entire complex.

The trees dotted along the divides in the parking lot look like carefully place green fluffy islands in a sea of chocolate milk.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQiqfTTw4os&feature=related

So, I must return your attention back to Kristin’s neighborhood. Throughout the day of her evacuation, as a precaution, she placed all the important instruments she had in her attic. The night of the flood, Kristin remarked that there was pooling in the road that is in front of the house.

She went inside to get a few things, and the water was all ready engulfing her rear tires of her SUV. She had to leave without her vehicle, but, fortunately, with her dogs. Not everyone was that lucky. Her friend was telling about a person on a different road of the same neighborhood that was evacuated by boat, but the person evacuating would not allow the person to take her dog. When the area was opened back up to residents, it was noticed that all the Venetian blinds were pulled down in the house and there was blood on the glass panes where the little dog had scraped and scraped at the windows trying to get out. They broke a window to get in and found the dog huddled on the top of a dresser, wet, and shaking like a leaf. I heard several stories of people leaving behind their pets, and thought about it a while. I would never leave Brutus behind. If you can’t take him, then he and I will fend for ourselves!

In the picture above, we have already brought out pretty much all her belongings, minus the appliances. Everything that is dry is loaded in her mom’s car and friend’s truck. Everything wet that is not desired to keep is put into a pile, and everything that is wet that she wanted to try to recover was spread out to dry. The quilt in the picture has been in her family for a long time. Notice her yearbooks spread out on the sidewalk drying. In the days to come, even though the yearbooks and childhood books were completely saturated, I was able to salvage all but one of the yearbooks. You must turn them page by page until they dry. It’s a long and tedious process. Take a look at the picture. Can you imagine all your belongings spread out in the lawn, on bushes, in the driveway, for everyone to see? While we were cleaning out the house, several church groups dropped by with water and food (like sandwiches, etc). It was so very nice, because they merely said what entity they were representing, and that they were sorry that we (well, Kristin) was enduring this. But then, several construction companies came by and offered a few bottles of water, and their business card, declaring that they demolish houses for a price. What insensitive jerks. Was glad to see that business card end up on the trash pile!

To demonstrate how high the water got in her area, this is a picture of her center console in the SUV. There is still flood water in the cup holders! This brought up a very good point for me. While many vehicles can be salvaged with some know-how, most of them will be considered “totaled”. Now, the consumer, will have to worry about whether or not they are purchasing a flood vehicle.

Something that I didn’t consider, because the refrigerator is supposed to be “sealed” with that little strip, is that water got inside. This surprised me, and made me further respect the power of water.

Kristin’s house was the first house in her neighborhood to be properly processed for post flood. The guys tore out her flooring down to the concrete slab and gutted the walls past the submersion point to dry drywall/insulation. James Wood came the next day and helped rip out the lower cabinets and take out the appliances, exposing the few remaining feet of wall space that needed to be processed behind them. This helps break the walls open to the fresh air to dry, and helps prevent the dreaded mold from growing. Just as I did in Dave’s basement, she will have to come back with a bleach bath and spray down her studs and wash her concrete.

With all this tragedy, I was, again, in this part of town, amazed by the complete strangers who stepped up to the plate and helped their fellow man (or woman) out of this seemingly hopeless scenario onto the road of recovery, with complete disregard to race, gender, nationality, or religious orientation. When a person can look at another person and recognize them simply as a member of the human race, without all the added on badges, it makes me think that, in the long run, the world, and that America, specifically, has hope.

Part 3 consists of the Antioch Pike site.

Next to the Opryland Hotel is the Grand Ole Opry, a place that gives you a major notch on your bed post should you ever be invited to play upon it. It housed the Grand Ole Opry starting in 1974. This 4,400-seat show house opened up on March 16th with President Nixon in attendance.

The water reached above the front doors of the Opry House.

The beautiful stage of the Grand Ole Opry House has felt the footsteps of many famous people upon its surface.

This is very saddening. The stage itself was under approximately 2 feet of water.

There were many historical items like amps used by famous people that simply cannot be replaced.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipEhG_c_MVQ

Opry Mills Shopping mall was a joint venture between Opryland U.S.A. and the Mills Corporation. It sits on the former parking lot for the former Opryland Theme park. It contains 1,200,000 ft2 of retail space.

You can see the muddy waters of the Cumberland River just engulfed the entire complex.

The trees dotted along the divides in the parking lot look like carefully place green fluffy islands in a sea of chocolate milk.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQiqfTTw4os&feature=related

So, I must return your attention back to Kristin’s neighborhood. Throughout the day of her evacuation, as a precaution, she placed all the important instruments she had in her attic. The night of the flood, Kristin remarked that there was pooling in the road that is in front of the house.

She went inside to get a few things, and the water was all ready engulfing her rear tires of her SUV. She had to leave without her vehicle, but, fortunately, with her dogs. Not everyone was that lucky. Her friend was telling about a person on a different road of the same neighborhood that was evacuated by boat, but the person evacuating would not allow the person to take her dog. When the area was opened back up to residents, it was noticed that all the Venetian blinds were pulled down in the house and there was blood on the glass panes where the little dog had scraped and scraped at the windows trying to get out. They broke a window to get in and found the dog huddled on the top of a dresser, wet, and shaking like a leaf. I heard several stories of people leaving behind their pets, and thought about it a while. I would never leave Brutus behind. If you can’t take him, then he and I will fend for ourselves!

In the picture above, we have already brought out pretty much all her belongings, minus the appliances. Everything that is dry is loaded in her mom’s car and friend’s truck. Everything wet that is not desired to keep is put into a pile, and everything that is wet that she wanted to try to recover was spread out to dry. The quilt in the picture has been in her family for a long time. Notice her yearbooks spread out on the sidewalk drying. In the days to come, even though the yearbooks and childhood books were completely saturated, I was able to salvage all but one of the yearbooks. You must turn them page by page until they dry. It’s a long and tedious process. Take a look at the picture. Can you imagine all your belongings spread out in the lawn, on bushes, in the driveway, for everyone to see? While we were cleaning out the house, several church groups dropped by with water and food (like sandwiches, etc). It was so very nice, because they merely said what entity they were representing, and that they were sorry that we (well, Kristin) was enduring this. But then, several construction companies came by and offered a few bottles of water, and their business card, declaring that they demolish houses for a price. What insensitive jerks. Was glad to see that business card end up on the trash pile!

To demonstrate how high the water got in her area, this is a picture of her center console in the SUV. There is still flood water in the cup holders! This brought up a very good point for me. While many vehicles can be salvaged with some know-how, most of them will be considered “totaled”. Now, the consumer, will have to worry about whether or not they are purchasing a flood vehicle.

Something that I didn’t consider, because the refrigerator is supposed to be “sealed” with that little strip, is that water got inside. This surprised me, and made me further respect the power of water.

Kristin’s house was the first house in her neighborhood to be properly processed for post flood. The guys tore out her flooring down to the concrete slab and gutted the walls past the submersion point to dry drywall/insulation. James Wood came the next day and helped rip out the lower cabinets and take out the appliances, exposing the few remaining feet of wall space that needed to be processed behind them. This helps break the walls open to the fresh air to dry, and helps prevent the dreaded mold from growing. Just as I did in Dave’s basement, she will have to come back with a bleach bath and spray down her studs and wash her concrete.

With all this tragedy, I was, again, in this part of town, amazed by the complete strangers who stepped up to the plate and helped their fellow man (or woman) out of this seemingly hopeless scenario onto the road of recovery, with complete disregard to race, gender, nationality, or religious orientation. When a person can look at another person and recognize them simply as a member of the human race, without all the added on badges, it makes me think that, in the long run, the world, and that America, specifically, has hope.

Part 3 consists of the Antioch Pike site.

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