Imagine owning an 8,000 square foot shop filled with hundreds of beautiful antique items for sale, and hearing the news that a hurricane would be hitting the Gulf coast, 130 miles from you within a few days. Trish Winkles, owner of The Glen Flora Emporium had weathered hurricanes that had hit the Gulf Coast before. Little did she know that this hurricane would indirectly cause unimaginable devastation to her community.
Hurricane Harvey was the fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade and he rolled over the Texas Gulf coast as a mammoth category 4 storm with 130 mph winds. Harvey weakened overnight to a category 1, but the rain continued to pour and stalled over the area for days dumping 40 inches of water.
Renell Moore June 17, 2018
Rain from Hurricane Causes Colorado River Overflow
As the rain continued to fall, the Colorado River, which runs within 2 blocks of the small town, began to fill up and contain all the water it could hold. On Tuesday evening, August 29th, its banks overflowed and the river began flowing through and across Glen Flora.
Trish owned The Glen Flora Emporium as well as the resale shop located next door. She closed early on the 25th and they began moving their most expensive items up to the 2nd floor of their building.
“On the 25th, we put more things on the 2nd floor, on the 26th we started setting things up on bricks – the water had not come up yet. On the evening of the 29th the water came up fast and flooded the town within 45 minutes.”
Eight Inches of Water Fills Glen Flora Emporium
“We lost a bunch of stuff, but all in all the building is brick and concrete.” Trish felt fortunate because other people in her community lost everything they owned. The river crested on the 30th and the flooding lasted 3 days, with eight inches of water filling the inside of her shop.
Dealer Asks That Emporium Stay Open
On the third day, they were able to get back into the shop to start shoveling mud. The mud was sticky and the only way to get it out was to shovel it. The mosquitoes were terrible and volunteers brought supplies and bug spray.
“We had volunteers throwing wet stuff away, and the dealers came in and started getting their things out.” She told them she was closing the store, but when one of her dealers, who had been in upstate New York during the flood, returned and told her “you can’t close because I have a trailer load of items I have been purchasing for resale.” Trish then rethought her decision to close and decided to stay open. She is glad she did.
Renell Moore is the creator of Texas Vintage Shopper: An Online Comprehensive Texas Antique/Vintage Shop and Event directory featuring more than 780 shops. She has a masters in communication science, speech-language pathology from Texas Woman’s University and a double major in journalism and English from the University of Texas Permian Basin.