Bob & Ellen's Excellent Adventure

Black Sheep Tower House

Lightning Never Strikes Twice

July 24, 2020 Have I mentioned that this house was struck by lightning and burned down? The date was May 15, 2004 and according to the weather reports from that day, the storm was a violent one, with another lightning bolt striking a woman from Dover, NH who was walking her dog in her backyard. She was resuscitated by her husband and the EMTs (thankfully). The neighbors on Sheep Road saw some smoke but the houses are fairly far apart, and they called it in, thinking it was a grass fire. The first guy showed up in his pickup, realized it was an actual house fire, and by the time reinforcements came, the house was pretty involved…. no one was home at the time, but the owner’s dogs were luckily rescued by the fire fighters and tended by the neighbors across the road. The garages were saved, but the house was heavily damaged by water as well as the fire.

How do I know all of this? Remember that bit about falling down the rabbit hole of curiosity? Everyone had been more than friendly; the folks at the town offices sharing records and information, and the neighbors that I met while walking the dog… and I think everyone else was curious too. What was happening with the “tower house” as we were told it was commonly called? Late one afternoon, Dave stopped by on his way home from work to introduce himself. He previously worked for the former owner, was a family friend and had been keeping an eye on the property for the family prior to its sale. He was curious about us and the house, quite friendly (everyone is), and I learned a good bit about the history of the house. Later he sent me a few photos of what it looked like before it burned down, which even included the dogs! Originally a saltbox contemporary built in 1988, the first garage was added in 1998 and the large garage in 2000. Construction on the new house began in late 2004 and the shell and tower were essentially in place by approximately 2008, with some work continuing over the years. We walked around the house and he was able to answer some of our questions about the what and the why of things – thanks Dave!

Strike #2 – Belying the old saying, in 2015 lightning struck again. This time it hit the top of the tower on the eastern corner, creating a gash, but no fire. Unfortunately, the damage was never repaired and allowed water and critters (remember them) to enter and cause damage over time. Definitely on the top of our list to fix! In fact we had been referred to a person with construction experience with towers and tall structures.

Third Strike and You’re Out – We didn’t want that to be us, so we began investigating lightning rod installation possibilities for the tower and entire structure. The former owner had apparently intended some protection for the tower, as we found a spool of cable, and a combination lightning rod flagpole pulley in a pile of stuff on the floor of the main house. At first glance it was going to be an expensive proposition, but one we thought would be good insurance, considering….

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