Rescuing an Icon, Part Three

Posted on: November 14th, 2007 by Barbara Campagna

A story of how a typical business trip turned into a tale of disaster management of national importance…

(Editor’s Note: Originally written in August for her personal blog, Barbara Campagna has agreed to share the story of her experience at the Farnsworth House in Plano, IL, as the floodwaters from the Fox River approached.)

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

Saturday morning found us back at Farnsworth House with no further rains the night before. We took the boat out again and checked the house, emptied out the melting ice in the freezer, took more photos and then motored around the site to see how the trees and landscape had fared. There were many trees and branches floating in the water, fish swimming where only bushes and flowers should be and the pedestrian bridge from the Visitor Center was completely submerged. Still, we sighed happily that no water had breached the doors into the house. Whitney and I finished our day by writing down all we could think of that would be important for future disasters. And I drove back to Midway, happy to be going home and happier still that our precious resource had been saved - at least this time!!

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Barbara Campagna

Barbara A. Campagna, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C was formerly the Graham Gund Architect of the National Trust in the Stewardship of Historic Sites office. She is currently a sustainability consultant to the National Trust and can be reached at