Days after Tropical Storm Irma, people in one Macon neighborhood are just beginning to venture out.
Dozens of trees fell in Shirley Hills, blocking in neighbors who are still without electricity.
Towering trunks swaying in near hurricane-force gusts fell like dominoes through some yards.
“It was like being in a war,” Gram Slaton said Thursday morning as tree crews cut massive oaks blocking Oakcliff Road.
On the third day of being stuck, he walked to town Wednesday and got a good look at the piles of thick trunks on the ground.
“A lot of people think it was one big swoop that took all these trees down and it wasn’t true,” he said. “They came down one at a time over the course of about six hours.”
Slaton holed up in his house Monday after a falling tree ignited a transformer across the street about 6:30 a.m.
For hours, the century-old trees thundered down, wrecking the thick canopy that shaded his curvy street.
“It’s like the trees targeted the power lines and the phone lines and everything else to knock them down,” Slaton said. “These are 100-year-old oaks and when they come down, they take a lot with them.”
Although trunks crashed through some roofs, no one was hurt in the powerful storm.
Leslie Street, who grew up in Florida and is used to hurricanes, was surprised to see so much damage all around her.
“I’m in shock,” Street said as she drove a Gator with her dad Thursday morning while a Bobcat track loader cleared huge logs from the winding road.
“You go to other places in Macon and it looks fine. It looks like nothing is wrong. They have power back everywhere,” Street said. “Here, it’s a different story.”
Tom McMahon was walking his dogs, Ginger and Daisy, down Jackson Springs Road, where trees tore through the roofs of a couple of houses.
“It’s horrible around here,” McMahon said after getting a good look Thursday morning. “It’s heartbreaking because this neighborhood is all about these trees.”
He estimated that 200 to 250 trees are down across his neighborhood, nestled between Baconsfield, North Highlands and Upper River Road in northeastern Bibb County.
“All those beautiful old, huge trees are the ones that fell,” McMahon said.
Historian Jim Barfield researched the historic neighborhood that was developed in the 1920s from part of the estate of U.S. Sen. Augustus O. Bacon.
It was named for his granddaughter, Shirley, according to the history he compiled with Denny Jones.
The firm of famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted was hired to develop the old Bacon land to showcase the rolling terrain, old trees and beautiful streams.
Neighbors, like Jones, are already talking about launching a reforestation effort.
The group plans to hire an arborist to oversee the project and advise homeowners what to plant and where.
“Oakcliff Road, considered Macon’s most beautiful street, looks like a bomb has gone off,” Jones said.