Historic Edwardsville Hit Hard By Friday’s Storms

Posted on: 10:37 pm, June 1, 2013, by , updated on: 10:12pm, June 1, 2013

EDWARDSVILLE, IL (KTVI) – Metro East suffered widespread damage from Friday night’s severe storms. Among the hard-hit areas is historic St. Louis Street in Edwardsville.

Homeowners spent hours on Saturday picking up downed tree limbs and piling them along the sidewalk. Residents of the historic neighborhood  feel lucky the damage wasn’t worse.

St. Louis Street resident Lisa Brennan was hunkered down in the basement with her four year-old daughter, Andrea, as Friday’s storm quickly approached.

Brennan said, “That whole Moore, Oklahoma was definitely on my mind, so we were listening for that sound, they always say there’s a train. And there were weird sounds, but it was wind, and falling trees that we could hear.”

At that point, it was too dark to assess the damage. But in the light of day, she discovered damage to her gutter and a lamp post, not to mention a tree branch on the roof.

Fallen trees also covered the property of her neighbor, Neil Belanger.  He spent the day breaking a sweat, and cleaning it all up.

“I’ve seen this before and was just praying there wasn’t a tree across my roof. Luckily, there was not,” he said.

His house dates back to 1890. For those historic homes that did suffer damage, repairing them could be more of a challenge.

Belanger explains, “The people with the historic district will talk to you about trying to maintain the look and the feel.”

It wasn’t only homes damaged on St. Louis Street.  FOX 2 caught up with Woodlawn Cemetery’s caretaker, Francis Coppage, who happens to live right across the street.  The small, old cemetery is nestled among the neighborhood’s houses. During the storm, one large tree fell right into a cluster of graves, dislodging a tall monument off its base, and burying another.  Coppage is hopeful that volunteers and donors will help restore the beautiful, non-profit cemetery.

Still, the caretaker says there is a silver lining.

“We had two very large trees right down by the chapel that went over, and they fell away from the chapel, so our chapel has not been touched.”

Elsewhere in Edwardsville, Bommarito Automotive SkyFOX flew over homes and businesses with roofs torn off, and a storage shed completely leveled.

“It’s an act of God,” remarks Belanger.

Back on St. Louis Street, the roads are finally clear but fallen trees still sit in front yards, and tarps cover damaged rooftops.

Still, Brennan is relieved these beautiful historic landmarks are still standing, and that no one suffered injuries.

She says, “We’re OK, power would be good, but we have water, that’s good, so yeah we’re pretty lucky.”

Throughout the day, Ameren Illinois crews worked to restore power to Edwardsville homes and businesses.  Company officials say most Illinois customers should have had power back by 10 o’clock Saturday night.

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