Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Snowstorm, 1950

My brother, Bob, shared with me his memory of the November, 1950, snowstorm that affected central and eastern Ohio and West Virginia.  I thought it would be fun to look through the old local newspapers and find articles and photographs to post along with his memory.   It was fun to read those articles and look at the photos.  But I'm sorely disappointed at how uncooperative those microfilm readers and printers were.  Gosh, they just didn't want to make good copies of black and white photographs!  Below his memory I've included a few headlines and articles and links to some good photographs.

From my brother, Bob:
Over Thanksgiving weekend 1950 a major snow storm hit the Mahoning Valley in Ohio leaving upwards of 30 inches of snow in about 24 hours.

I was 11 years old at the time.  I remember getting up that morning and going outside, walking down the steps of our home on Furnace Street in Mineral Ridge, Trumbull County, Ohio, and stepping off into the snow thinking the ground was right below me.  It wasn't.  Instead I sank into snow that came somewhere between my knees and hip.  I don't remember how tall I was at 11 but I remember that I was surprised how much snow there was.  In order to walk I had to lift my leg up high, move it through the snow and push it back down, then repeat the process with the other leg only to move forward inches at a time.

I recall that we spent some time shoveling by hand a path from the porch to the garage about 45 feet away.  From there we started to clean out a path in the driveway to the street.  It didn't matter at the time that no one was going anywhere for awhile.  As I remember, it was about a week before the snow got cleared away.  Schools were shut down, no newspapers were delivered, there were no milk deliveries, and we couldn't get to the post office either.

We did make it up Furnace Street to Main Street, which was a state highway, Route 46.  We found that sometime during the night a semi had made its way through because we could clearly see the tire tracks in the snow, side by side.  They looked like wide railroad tracks down the street.

Dad and I walked the tracks to Beazel's Market further south on 46.  Mr. Beazel (Jim) had somehow made it to the store.  He lived about a mile or so away on East County Line Road.  We were able to get milk and a few other supplies.  One item in particular was a new bread product on the market, heat and serve rolls.  Why we bought those I don't recall but I guess that there were no loaves of bread left.  I thought it was pretty neat that we had gotten those.  We didn't usually go for specialty items.

Anyhow, when we got back home, over the next few days we got the driveway and part of the road cleaned out and helped the neighbors do so as well.  At the time, Mineral Ridge had city bus service from Niles but that didn't resume for about a week either.

One other fact I remember was that the township road grader finally made it out and plowed some of the snow off the roads.  It probably only had a foot or foot and a half blade so it was hard going for the grader to do much.  I can't remember if the township had any snow plows or not.  I know that pickup trucks at that time didn't had attachable snow plows like they do today.  Snow removal was a long progress at that time.

Eventually though, life returned to normal.  People returned to work, mail was delivered, milk deliveries resumed, and life returned to normal.  The Thanksgiving snow of 1950 is covered in the archives of the newspapers and the memories of those who lived though it.

Our nearest town was Niles, about 3 miles north of Mineral Ridge. Its newspaper, the "Niles Daily Times" covered news of the Ridge, too.

From the research I've done, it seems that the storm began on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 23.  Five days later, on Tuesday, November 28, 1950, the headline of the "Niles Daily Times" read:  "Travel Limited To Emergencies."  One article noted that other cars were banned from Niles and roadblocks had been set up on all key streets to the city.  Niles schools were still closed on Wednesday.  If this was the situation in Niles, which was a small city, you can imagine the situation in nearly-rural Mineral Ridge.

You can see photos from Massillon, Ohio, which is about an hour from the Ridge, here, and photographs from Weirton, West Virginia, here.

Thank you for the story, Bob.  What a fun memory.


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1 comment:

  1. Congratulations!
    I've awarded you the Kreativ Blogger award.


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