When disaster hits, that’s when you know who your friends are.
David Lohmann, owner of Abernethy and Spencer Greenhouses, and Sarah and Asbury Lloyd found out this week they have lots of friends after suffering devastating losses in two separate incidents.
Early on Sunday morning, Jan. 24, the steel girders of a large greenhouse at Abernethy & Spencer Greenhouses collapsed under the weight of the snow. Lohmann was at his home, Springdale, about a half mile down Lincoln Road.
“I was checking the cows, about 8:30 a.m., when I heard it,” Lohmann said of the loud cracking noise, followed by sounds of a crash. He ran up the road to find the large structure collapsed on the ground.
On Monday night, Feb. 1, the Lloyds suffered a devastating fire at their two-century-old house on Lincoln Road in the village. The couple does not live in Lincoln, but Asbury Lloyd makes a daily trip from Leesburg to check on the house. To make the disaster worse, Lloyd drove up on his daily inspection to find his house engulfed in flames as crews battled to contain the blaze.
Neighbors quickly gathered round to help. The Lloyds are in their 80s and not in good health. The Lincoln Community League set up a fund for the couple and donations are being collected at the Lincoln Post Office.
“They were the most fabulous neighbors,” said Amy Oswoski, who has lived next door to the Lloyds for 25 years. She is working directly with the Lincoln Community League to coordinate assistance for the couple.
Lincoln-area resident Jean Brown said she talked with Lloyd at his ruined home and is cheered by the financial help neighbors are providing. Checks should be made out to Lincoln Community League, marked for Asbury Lloyd.
On Tuesday, neighbors gathered at Lohmann’s nursery to help. Brown was impressed by the “veritable bucket brigade” that formed as some 60 village residents helped move anything that could be salvaged from the 40-year old greenhouse to an empty glasshouse on the property.
“It was a big loss,” Lohmann’s general factotum Frank Ellmore said. The structure was not one of the historic 110-year-old glass greenhouses at the nursery, but a 45,000-square-foot steel and plastic structure that is the company’s largest greenhouse.
Lohmann said all his spring plantings and tropical were lost in the collapse and the freezing weather, although he is covered by insurance.
The building fell as the steel girders broke under the weight of the snow. Even though the structure was heated, the snow was falling so fast the lower layers could not melt.
“It was crazy, it fell so fast—I felt like I was back in New York State,” Lohmann said.
On the plus side, Lohmann noted, “not one pane of glass in the historic glasshouses broke.”
He’s rebounding. “We will be open for spring, March 1, just as usual, and will have restocked our inventory.” Lohmann is waiting for delivery of a new state of the art greenhouse that will provide more efficient heating and water use.
The new greenhouse will be assembled by a large crew coming from northern Ohio and Lohmann will stock it with semi-finished plants he is buying from the Carolinas.
Area growers are helping out as well. Members of the Lincoln Community League and others will return to help get the spring inventory ready for the traditional opening.
“We didn’t want to break the cycle of 110 years,” Lohmann said. And It’s a pretty sure bet the nursery’s enthusiastic patrons will be at the door on March 1.
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