Historic Nolensville School Museum flood damage Sept 2020 1

Historic School Museum Director Michelle Jenkins holds one of the museum's undamaged artifacts while surrounded by water-damaged books and cleaning supplies.

Sunday's flash flooding cut off parts of Nolensville and caused damage to property across town including the Historic Nolensville School which houses both a museum and community events, and now members of the Nolensville community have stepped up to help salvage artifacts, including the school building itself. 

Historic School Museum Director Michelle Jenkins said that as the waters receded on Sunday night, the Nolensville Volunteer Fire Department brought over large fans to help dry the building out. The NVFD personnel also stood guard throughout the night as the doors were left open for ventilation. 

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Flood waters filled the parking lot of the Nolensville Recreation Complex and flooded parts of the Historic Nolensville School on Sunday 

"The entire school building was under water so every inch of the school, closets, restrooms, everywhere had water in it, so all of that has to be dried out and the floors and everywhere that the water touched on the walls has a dirt film," Jenkins said. "For the most part the 1937 wood floors are still in great condition, the wood still has to dry out and some of the cupping you see should subside, so fingers crossed for that."

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The shadow of a volunteer stands out in the sunlight shining on the dirty floor of the gym.

Jenkins said that considering the dramatic turn of events on Sunday the museum and building had minimal damage, with some of the most significant damage being some letters from the 1950s that were damaged and the teacher's desk that sits in the building's classroom.

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A large fan is used to help dry out the classroom whose teacher's desk was damaged in the flood.

Among the groups that have helped in the cleanup efforts were local Boy Scouts, members of the Church of Nolensville, Sunset Hills Baptist Church, Nolensville Community Church and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The wrestling club, fencing club, basketball club, farmers market vendors and organizers and other citizens also stopped by to put in the work of cleaning floors, boxing up artifacts and much more.

Individuals and businesses, like Nolensville Ace Hardware, donated cleaning supplies, plastic tote containers, tarps, dehumidifiers, snacks and bottled water.

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Water-damaged books dry out.

“We moved a long a lot further than we thought we would with all of those crews coming in,” Jenkins said.

Nolensville Historical Society President Pete Mosley, who actually attended school in the building, said in a phone call that the outpouring of support is maybe the greatest coming together of community he can remember.

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Framed photographs line the walls where just hours before standing water flooded the building.

"I have a lot of good memories from my eight years of schooling there, but by people coming out and working it shows that these wrestling kids are having great memories and these fencing kids are having great memories and the building is making history for all these people," Mosley said.

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The 18 inch water line can be seen on furniture inside the museum.

Mosely added that this isn't the first time that the building has flooded and it will likely not be the last, but that if Nolensville continues to show up for those celebrating and archiving the town's history that the its future is bright.

"It's not just an 'old federal building,' as someone described it one time. It's a building that the community can come around and hold church in, hold music in, it's more a part of this community than any other building."

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Doors were left open and fans set up to dry out the gym floor. 

Jenkins said that while they have made good progress, they still need help from those with time and able bodies to help with various cleanup efforts going into next week, especially as they prepare to have the building fit to hold their weekly community events that call the Historic Nolensville School home.

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Artifacts are stored in boxes and plastic bins.

“It really does remind you that we live in a blessed place and that you have this many people that would jump in and help, because we’re not the only ones that suffered damage,” Nolensville Historical Society Secretary Meg Wayss said. “They always talk about Nolensville being a small town with a big heart and it’s really true.”

Anyone wishing to help the Historic Nolensville School continue cleanup efforts can email [email protected] or or follow the Nolensville Historical Society’s Facebook page.