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* a definite snow day: the NYC Blizzard of 1888 

I LOVE snow storms, but for those living in New York city the recent snow has proven to be quite challenging. There are issues with snow & garbage removal, getting to work, and the worst by far the slush puddles on every street corner, they are impossible to gauge and then your entire foot is soaked. After reading about the great Blizzard of 1888 and it's impact on NYC I thought I would share some pictures and interesting first hand accounts to give us all a little perspective.

The Blizzard of 1888 in New York City: March 12-14, 1888

From the History of New York State 1523-1927:

"The blizzard of 1888 long remained a favorite topic among New Yorkers.
It visited the city on Monday, March 12, after nearly twenty-four hours of
rain, so that the streets were like rivers. On this watery New York a heavy
blanket of snow descended and covered the city with slush. Then came a
severe spell of frost, which turned the great expanse of slush into a huge
cake of ice, swept by fierce gales and blanketed again with a heavy descent
of snow. On the morning of the twelfth when the citizens looked out of their
windows or attempted to pass through the streets they saw enormous drifts
confronting them in every direction. The street cars were all confined to
their barns and though an attempt was made to move the elevated trains it
was found useless. Snow plows were requisitioned, but they proved a sorry
remedy, for though the mountains of snow might be removed, the gale still
blew and the snow still fell and the depth of frozen snow underneath had
taken on the persistence and density almost of concrete. The serious extent
of the calamity dawned on the people as the day progressed. The market, the
grocer and the butcher were divided from them by an arctic wilderness, and
families without proper supplies were forced to go hungry."




 Can you even imagine being so desperate you would consider crossing over the frozen East River!?  Mr Simonson lived on Staten Island and needed to get on a ferry to get home from work that fateful day. A snippet from The Great Blizzard of 1888 detailing his travels back home during the blizzard:

"When we got to Colliers Slip, we saw people walking across the East River to Brooklyn. So out I got and after paying 250 to go down a ladder I got on the ice and walked to Brooklyn and back. About one hour after, the ice broke loose, and down it went toward New York Bay with a lot of people on it. The tugs and other boats got busy and took all the people off, and many of them said a prayer when they put their feet on South Street. Well, I got home on Thursday night all in and was sick in bed for another week and almost lost my job."

Think about your ancestors living in the northeast during this storm: where were they living? would their job have required them to be out working to stabilize the city during the storm? I was looking through my family tree and noticed an interesting coincidence. My gg grandfather Wentworth Middleton was born April 27, 1888 in Northern New Jersey- that must have been terrible for my ggg grandmother Virginia Middleton being 8- 8 1/2 months pregnant! That would be no walk in the park.

So go outside enjoy the snow- take pictures!!  I am so thankful for all the organizations and individuals preserving pictures, books, and other first hand accounts from the Blizzard of 1888.

And from what I heard on the news last night you might be able to see some winter white outside your window. As of yesterday 49 states had snow on the ground- can you guess which state on the continental US did not have any snow on the ground yesterday? Guess in the comments and I will reveal the answer later on today!

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Reader Comments (3)

I heard that (about the 49 states) on the news, too, and it was so surprising! No idea which is the snowless state, though, but I'll guess the obvious one...Hawaii?

Jan 14, 2011 at 11:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterGretchen

I would have guessed Hawaii, except that I spent some time in the Navy at Pearl Harbor years ago, and during that time there was snow on the volcanoes, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. I guess that leaves Florida or Texas with warm temperatures and no mountains.

Jan 14, 2011 at 10:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterFree Genealogy Guide

florida is the winner!

Jan 14, 2011 at 11:34 PM | Registered Commenterabbyb

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