Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rebuilding After a 6.0!

“I was down in the basement working on the computer and thought that my husband Zach was dribbling a basketball upstairs very quickly. Then the room started to move and I knew that it couldn’t possibly be a basketball.” Elaine Barkdull Spencer was explaining to me her initial reaction to the 6.0 earthquake that hit Northeast Nevada on February 21, 2008.

Even though Nevada is in a seismic area, it is uncommon for them to have earthquakes of this magnitude. The epicenter was six miles outside of Wells, NV, an oasis of water wells on the California trail. The town dates from Christmas Day, 1869 and the old historic downtown still has most of its buildings standing, or at least they were until the 6.0er hit the town.
We stopped by Wells (population 1,346) on our way to West Wendover, NV (tomorrow’s blog) to survey the damage. I was hoping that several of the residents from Wells would make the trek to my talk in West Wendover, because I told several stories of the revitalization of towns like Greensburg, KS which was wiped out by an EF-5 tornado and the MS Gulf Coast which suffered from the incredible force of Hurricane Katrina.

But Elko County is a B-I-G county, with over 17,000 square miles of land area. You could fit the states of MA, DE, CT and RI within the borders of the county and still have room left over to put in all of the Florida Keys. And, no one from Wells made the 60 mile trip over to West Wendover.

Wells has some incredibly historical buildings in its old downtown area. I hope that they find the funds and the will to rebuild them to their past glory.

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