The headquarters of the Classic Car Club of America suffered extensive damage when the heaviest rain in two decades struck the Chicago area Sept. 15-16. According to CCCA official Bob Joynt, the flooding of the Des Plaines River caused massive destruction of the CCCA’s office there.
Eight Illinois counties were placed under a flood warning. The National Weather Service said heavy rains on Sept. 15 were due to remnants of Tropical Storm Lowell, which came in from the Pacific.
On Sunday, remnants of Hurricane Ike brought more heavy rain and flooding to the Chicago area. There was also flooding elsewhere in northern Illinois and northwest Indiana.
Joynt said that his family joined other CCCA members in the removal of salvageable items and debris from the club’s Des Plaines office in the days following the storms. He described the damage as “Katrina-like in its impact” upon the CCCA.
The office was flooded with 2-2 1/2 feet of polluted Des Plaines River water for about 48 hours. Joynt said that chairs in the CCCA Board Room floated around the office. Essentially, all furniture and equipment inside were ruined.
“The real damage is to our files and records,” said Joynt. “The bottom drawers of every filing cabinet were submerged.” Many files were ruined.
Joynt said it will take years to dry and clean the stored materials at great expense.
About 20 percent of the books in the club library were damaged. “Much of the library above the first two book shelves is OK,” Joynt said.
However, he expressed concerns that the tropical, fetid air in the office might ruin more books.
Since the whole Chicago region was flooded, outside clean-up help was not available. “We’re really on our own in dealing with this crisis,” Joynt explained. He noted that the CCCA office staff and local members of the club performed yeomans’ service, even though many had flood problems in their own homes. According to Joynt, there was still a lot to do.