Our neighborhood was one of the areas hit hard by the severe thunderstorms that moved through quickly on June 24th. I was at work a few mile north when they hit, and all I knew was that we got some heavy rain. As I made my home, however, the evidence of a serious event mounted quickly. Traffic lights along most of the major 4-lane roads on my route were without power leaving everyone to attempt to take turns at intersections. There were ponds of water at low points, and as I got closer to home, there were entire trees taking out power lines and multiple lanes of roadway. When I finally reached home, the power was out, but everyone was safe and sound. The storm shredded some of our softer landscaping (ferns, flowers, etc.), snapped and bent back some healthy 3-4″ branches on an oak tree in our back yard, and it pushed over the old TV antenna that was clamped to the plumbing vent on our roof.
Our neighbors actually had it much worse – a giant poplar tree, at least 60′ tall, snapped off at the ground and landed on the back of their house. Later, I took a walk around the neighborhood and found more trees on wires, houses, streets and cars.
The weather experts say that we did not experience a tornado. It was only straight-line wind gusts at hurricane speeds of ~75 mph. On the bright side, I’m glad to know that my 1950’s brick spec house can withstand hurricane force winds. However, the movement on the TV antenna prompted me to finally get around to removing this last major architectural vestige of the analog age. You may be thinking, architectural? really? Well, let me put it this way: all of the houses on my street are cape cods, and the distinguishing architectural features are the number of front dormer windows, the placement of the front door on the front of the house, and the color of the brick, with a few other exceptions.
Our house was the only one with a TV antenna (unless you count satellite dishes). In this context, the antenna, as a permanent attachment to the house, helped to distinguish it from our neighbors’. As such, I am comfortable calling it a piece of architecture. Not a beautiful piece of architecture by any stretch of the aesthetic imagination, but it was architecture.