From today’s Washington Post…
The chief archivist of the United States of America immediately seized on a single, all-important question when an aide woke him at 1:40 a.m. Monday to report massive flooding at the National Archives.Are the Charters of Freedom safe? Allen Weinstein asked groggily, referring to that venerable trio of documents: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Not to worry, the aide assured. The papers were dry in their vaults near the rotunda where they are normally displayed to legions of people who travel from all over to see them.
Emerging from a deep sleep in his Bethesda bedroom, Weinstein came to realize that the problem was in the building’s basement. Tens of thousands of gallons of water had gushed in from Constitution Avenue, knocking out transformers that power the building’s lights and air conditioning.
Four days after the deluge, the Archives remained dark and airless as officials took a small army of reporters and television crews on a tour of the damage, which they say will cost $2 million to repair. Only three years ago, the Archives completed a $100 million renovation.
To read TFM‘s article about this project, see “Like Building A Ship In A Bottle.”