Mont Clare Family Brings Flood Protection Efforts to New Heights


house in the air
Image via Bradley C. Bower at The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Hillary Sell (r) is greeted by a neighbor in front of her newly lifted home in Mont Clare.

The Mackay-Sell family home has been jacked up: not pricewise, not tech-wise, not in décor, but architecturally. It been raised eight feet as a preventative measure against floodwaters. Justine McDaniel waded into the details for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Sept. 1, 2021, devastation by Hurricane Ida was particularly hard on Mont Clare, given its proximity to the Schuylkill River.

But for Hillary Sell and Chris Mackay, that day was even tougher.

Sell was offsite, delivering her second baby. Mackay was at home with occupants that included their eight-year-old daughter, Lily, and pets.

The house occupants soon found themselves swamped with water, necessitating a boat rescue. After Sell was discharged with her newborn, the family temporarily relocated to the Lehigh Valley.

Before long, however, the family faced a decision about the damaged property.

The Mackay-Sells opted to stay in Mont Claire; however, they also chose to modify the home extensively, hoping to avoid a repeat of the nightmare that displaced them.

Using disaster-relief funds, insurance money, and government loans, they raised their 120-year-old home by eight feet.

The project took 10 hours over two days.

“When I first saw it up in the air, like fully up in the air with nothing [permanent] underneath it, I think I had a panic attack… . It just looked so crazy” Sell said.

Ten days after it landed on a new perch, the occupants moved back in to the refurbished, thoroughly cleaned, theoretically safer dwelling.

After their first breakfast in the renovated space, big sister Lily, was happy enough to do cartwheels.

More on the Mackay-Sell residence is at The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Safely lifting a 120-year-old brick residence was quite an achievement,
in engineering, design, and architecture.

Stay Connected, Stay Informed

Subscribe for great stories in your community!

"*" indicates required fields

MT Yes
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.