Historic McGregor building destroyed by tornado - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Historic McGregor building destroyed by tornado

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McGREGOR (KWWL) -

An EF-1 tornado ripped through the town of McGregor, Wednesday evening, leaving behind a path of destruction through the historic Main Street area.

Several buildings were damaged beyond repair.  Maggie Flanscha lives in the second oldest home in McGregor. She was home when a branch came through her kitchen.

"Crackling, just a whoo-whoo-whoo, like that. I knew it was something really bad," said Flanscha.

Flanscha's 160-year-old home has only minor damage, but just feet away the historic Goedert Meat Market building was reduced to a pile of brick and wood by the tornado.

"That is our building and he said, 'There is no way.' Because it is a big tall building and what we saw was a one-story thing. We saw the sign John Goedert, which is the signature on the building and said, 'Oh my god. That is it.' It was devastating. I mean it was just like amazing. You kind of go in shock," said DJ Corson, whose family owns the building.

The two-story store front was built in 1890 and was beautifully preserved.  In seconds, the tornado collapsed the first floor in on itself and shifted the entire structure feet from the foundation. On the historic preservation list, the building was currently being used as an antique store. Some of the antiques for sale are visible amongst the rubble of the building.

"People really enjoyed this shop.  It will be missed," said Corson.

Throughout the town, people worked to clean up and restore what they can, but it will be a long time before the work is complete.

"I was born and raised in this town, and it is sheer devastation. I have never seen anything like this. It is awful," said Sarah Whitney, who lives just up the road in Marquette. Whitney and her husband both spent the day passing out water and snacks to those working. 

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