Thursday, February 5, 2015

Back in Time - Blizzard 1949

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Cheyenne, WY
Blizzard of 1949
 Last week's blizzard in the New England states will go down in the history books as a memorable storm system, but many old timers in the West remember the Blizzard of 1949.

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Cheyenne, WY
Blizzard of 1949
While it was before my time, I remember my parents talking about the winter of '49

Several years ago, this article about the Blizzard was published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

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Snow plow leading a convoy of truck loaded with hay to feed stranded livestock.
Blizzard of 1949
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Clearing the path for a snowbound train
Blizzard of 1949
At my Uncle Otto's funeral, I learned he was employed by the state of South Dakota for several years to clear the highway from Edgemont, SD to the Wyoming line of snow, and that he did it with a team of horses. I can't even begin to imagine the conditions that he must have endured while doing this job.


This video includes interviews of old-timers who experienced the Blizzard of '49 in Nebraska.

Did any of your relatives experience the Blizzard of 1949?

17 comments:

  1. That was before I could remember it:) That is a huge amount of snow. Hard to imagine.

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  2. I'm sure that someone in my husband's family probably experienced that blizzard. The one my parents always talked about was the 1940 (?) Armistace Day blizzard because it caught people by surprise. And as a kid in the mid 1960s I remember lots of times that the drifts completely covered the cars in the streets.

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  3. Isn't that something?! My FIL and all of his family talk about this storm all the time. I cannot imagine! Hubby's family are Nebraska ranchers and farmers. We had a storm in NM 25 years ago and the owners had just shipped us cattle from Mexico. They died in piles and we had to pull them off and were thankful to find a few alive at the bottom. Its a good life, but its not an easy one.

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  4. I remember many, many conversations around the dining room table about the blizzard of 49! There were many stories about the impact on the Wyoming ranching community where i grew up.
    My parent were married in February of 1949!

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  5. Ha, I didn't live in western Nebraska at that time, but Dh and I both just finished reading "Blizzard of '49" Was very interesting to read about familiar names and families and ranchers who lived thru this storm. It was a terrible time, especially for ranchers who lost so much livestock!

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  6. I was born in February of 49 in Cheyenne. Folks and Grandparents always compared every big storm to it.

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  7. I was born near the end of December 1948. Weather that December was already threatening and Dad took Mother in to Grand Island as a precaution to stay with her parents for the end of her pregnancy. In her 1949 diary that winter was one snow storm after another throughout the state. The ranchers in west Nebraska had it the worst.

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  8. That's amazing. Although I don't remember it, I have pictures of my brother and I standing on a snowdrift after a blizzard in the mid 1950's. Mom said the drifts were high as a single story house. Not a huge amount of snow, but a lot of wind piling what there was.

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  9. Nov 11 1940 is the blizzard that they talk about here..the Armistace Day Blizzard many people were killed about 50 I think. The blizzard of 49 probably missed Minnesota...but it sure looks like a lot of snow:)

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  10. Great post, Nancy. Incredible pictures and the video you posted tell the story quite well. I'm glad we haven't had a repeat of that storm in recent years!

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  11. Hello from CO! I haven't been reading blogs for a few months, but I'm still here! I know some of the people here talk about the big blizzards like that. The last big one I was in was in 1996, but it's not like the ones they used to have around here.

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  12. That's a whole lot of snow! I don't know how horses could get through that kind of snow. We were in the Chicago blizzard of 1979 but it was not near as bad as your photos.

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  13. Wow! That's a LOT of snow around that train engine.

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  14. Oh my goodness that is a lot of snow, that last photo is just so crazy, I can't even imagine having that much snow.

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  15. Amazing. I'd settle for 4" right now. It's supposed to be near 60 on Sunday and that's just wrong.

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  16. I was 5 years old and lived on a ranch NE of Cheyenne. The army plowed us out Valentines Day. Roads blew shut again that night.

    We got out to the highway some time in March.. Got our first mail delivery April 1st. I lost my sled.. My Dad nailed a box to it and used it to drag groceries behind a saddle horse out to sheep herders scattered on the ranch.. We lost hundreds of sheep and a lot of cattle during that storm.

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  17. I was a post-Christmas-holiday returning college student, on a train from Billings MT to Denver, when our train was stopped by the blizzard in Casper WY. We were there eight days and were fed by the railroad. Fortunately, we were connected to local power, so were kept warm and had lights. Many of the passengers were returning students, who spent the time playing cards and knitting. It was too cold and inhospitable to venture outside. Our train finally left Casper in the middle of the night, and peering out the windows,light reflected from the train showed vertical walls of snow as high as the train on either side, almost as though we were traveling through a tunnel with no ceiling.

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