TURBOT TOWNSHIP — Flood waters last September devastated a restaurant in Northumberland County. It was not the first time flooding hit the place near Milton, but now the owner is taking precautions before the next flood.
One year ago, flood waters from the Susquehanna River devastated homes and businesses near Milton, including the Arrowhead restaurant, which had six feet of water inside.
One year later, it was a bustling lunch hour, but employees still remembered the mess left behind.
“Awful. Muddy, filthy, everything was soaked. It was awful. Disgusting, stink, eww,” said Kathy Shaffer, a 17-year employee. “We moved everything out ahead of time, so we didn`t lose everything, but the only thing standing was two-by-four beams.”
The Arrowhead restaurant is no stranger to flooding. Newspaper clippings document the many times the place has come back after 27 floods since 1948.
But the owner said, last year was the worst. The restaurant was closed for nearly two months, a big loss for customers.
“I went on a diet! It is a really good place, always has been. Happy they`re open,” said long-time customer Rick Allen of Milton.
“When this was closed, people would come by here. They would have the mud in the parking lot and ask, ‘Are you open?’ said customer and part-time employee Ursula Conrads.
It was a community effort to get the place back open. The owners of Milton Transportation lent a trailer to store equipment.
“It`s a community thing to do to help out when people need it,” said Lou Bowersox with Milton Transportation.
Friends and employees pitched in too.
“We took nails out of the molding and laid them aside and mopped the floor. Didn`t do near as much as most,” said Kathy Longenberger, a friend of the owner.
“A lot of our employees came in and helped unpack and re-set up, and wash things down. It was a lot of work,” added Shaffer.
After reopening following the September flooding, the owner said she took measures to make it easier to move out and rebuild, should the flooding happen again.
Kitchen equipment is on wheels, electrical outlets are now four feet off the floor, spray foam insulation was used and the heating and cooling units were moved to the roof.
The improvements are things customers might not notice. They are just glad the good food and good company are back.
“We count on the Arrowhead being here. This is a landmark and we want it here,” added Longenberger.
Owner Patty Hackenburg said the Arrowhead restaurant was affected by flooding three other times in about the last year.
With all her experience dealing with flooding, she said she can have the entire restaurant packed up in about six hours should the river rise again.