McGregor, Iowa recovering after tornado

Storm ripped through town two weeks ago

It’s been two weeks since an EF1 tornado ripped through the small town of McGregor, Iowa in Clayton County.

In the days since, the community has come together, and now the town is ready for business again.

The historic town is once again bustling with activity.

“I’m starting to see some tourists around town that are actually doing shopping, rather than driving around and looking at the damage,” said Duane Boelman, deputy city clerk for McGregor.

While the town is slowly coming back to life, two historic buildings, which date back to the 1860s, were damaged beyond repair.

“For me, it was pretty heartbreaking,” Boelman said. “I got a little choked up about it, actually.”

One building that was spared the worst of the damage was Paper Moon, a small gift shop in a building that dates back to the 1860s.

“You kind of become its steward, and you feel like you have to take care of it,” said owner Louise White.

White’s first floor was saved in part because of windows, but the third floor apartment wasn’t so lucky.

“We started to pick through this debris, and we realized what building it was from, and it was from the Baron building which, I’d say, is about a half a block away,” White said.

What gives this community new life is the help they’ve received in the weeks since.

“I think it was the second day after the tornado, and I was walking around town, and there was a retired couple that was downtown, and they just showed up at one of the parks, and took it upon themselves to rake it,” Boelman said. “Nobody asked them, they just did it.”

For a town with such a rich history, residents hope this tornado will be just a small blip on the radar.

“It was a bad thing that happened, but a lot of it makes me feel really good, and I think there’s a lot of others that feel the same way as well,” Boelman said.

“I think McGregor will be back stronger than ever,” White said.

One of the business owners who lost their building in the storm has already found a new place to relocate.

Town leaders are hoping to recover as many pieces of the damaged historic buildings as they can so they can restore the buildings with a similar look.

Officials in town say that full power is restored in affected areas.