Remembering the Blizzard of 1886 in Marietta

The blizzard of 1886 hit Marietta hard. Roads closed, trains stopped and cold set in. Read about it here from the Jan 16th, 1886 issue of the Marietta Register!

 Some Weather.—Since the last issue of the Register, the face of nature has been clad in white and the temperature has dropped to that of winter in real earnest. On Friday last snow began to fall, and it kept falling until not less than twelve inches of light, fine, very hard frozen crystals had decked the face of nature. A high wind prevailed during Saturday, and the snow was hurled through the air, piling into drifts that impeded travel and closed up roads throughout the county. There was no communication by road between this and adjacent towns on Saturday and Sunday, and many of the roads were not opened until Tuesday, while others will not be ready for travel until the sun melts the huge drifts which fill them up even with the tops of the fences on both sides. On Sunday only the jingle of a stray string of bells could be heard occasionally, and the vehicle, horse and driver confined their exercise to the limits of the town. Very few country persons were in town on Saturday, and those who were here came a-foot; horses couldn’t climb fences and take to the fields where necessary to get around huge snow-drifts. The railroad was badly blockaded; very few trains were running on Saturday, and those that arrived and departed were hours behind time. Stock trains were moved on Sunday over the Mount Joy branch. At the tunnel east of this place, workmen were kept busy all day keeping the track free of ice, the drippings of water from the rocky arch of the tunnel falling on the tracks continually and mixing with the drifting snow, formed an icy coating which required constant work to keep the rails free for the passage of trains through this rocky avenue. Even in town traveling on the pavements was a source of something more than ordinary exertion, and very few indulged for the pleasure of it; necessity was the usual motive. On Monday the mails from Maytown were carried down—the turnpike was impassable and blockaded with drifts. On Saturday James McClure, who carries the mail and is now running a fine sleigh, which had been standing in the freight j station waiting for the first fall of snow, for which James has been anxious, was stuck with a load on the Maytown turnpike during the morning, and when passengers arrived on the train in the evening wishing to go to Maytown, they had j to wait until Monday before they got there.

Since Wednesday the roads have been j broken somewhat, and the sleigh-bells j have been jingling merrily, although there | is complaint that the roads have either too much or not enough now on them for { good sleighing. At places the roads have been blown bare of snow, while there are j huge drifts through which roads had to be shoveled to the depth of five to eight feet to make them passable. On the Marietta & Mount Joy and j Marietta & Maytown turnpikes there were gangs of men at work opening the roads | on Tuesday, as also on the township roads under the direction of the supervisors. On the Mount Joy pike the largest drift was just on this side of the toll gate near the residence of Mr. John Hoerner, and, in fact, the worst part of the pike for drifts was between that point and town. The roads running north and south throughout the township are drifted shut beyond opening except by melting from the sun’s rays, many being filled up with snow higher than the tops of the fences. On Monday the three milkmen, who serve the lacteal fluid to the citizens, were somewhat behind time in their trips. Myers and Siylor got around during the middle of the day, while Fry never made his Monday trip till Tuesday late in the day. Taken altogether, with the snow, drifting, the high wind and keen air during the past eight days, it may be safely said that Winter has his grip upon us, and is destined to remain for several months.

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Marietta, PA