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The Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville evacuated 1,500 people last night when water from the Cumberland River began sweeping through the ground floor of the convention center. The heavily damaged public areas will likely keep the facility shut down for months to come.

Hotel guests were bused to a local school where they were given food, drinks, and a blanket and pillow to soften a night spent sleeping on the floor. Another group of 2,000 convention attendees were already arriving and were told that the facility will remain closed for at least the next few weeks and possibly longer due to the 10 feet of water that has settled over the restaurants and bars, and has blocked access to the hotel elevators that are needed to take guests to their guest rooms located on floors 2-6.

The hotel general manager, Peter Wien speculated that it could take months to reopen despite the fact that the 2,881 rooms are located on floors above the flood. The GM indicated that damage to the public spaces is extreme. The hotel’s generators are totally submerged, introducing diesel fuel into the still rising water. In addition, lower level shops are no longer visible. Electrical circuitry and the telephone system are also damaged.

According to the Gaylord website, guests were allowed to return to the hotel to pick up their luggage today. Bellmen retrieved personal items from each room and brought then down to those who had fled without their belongings. The hotel will ship any luggage that is not claimed.

Stephanie Pepper, a spokeswoman for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce said, “Gaylord represents a significant percentage of our tourism industry, so the flood damage at the hotel will certainly have a short term impact on the industry.”

Our lead photo is a composite of a photo taken some months ago by one of our Bitten and Bound writers who spent several days at the magnificent facility, and a screenshot from the attached video. The contrast is startling.

Check out the devastation captured in more photos and in the video images of the interior of the hotel below:

Photo Credit: Bitten and Bound and Video Screenshots