Then Again: A massive blizzard brings Vermont to a halt
In other parts of town, where the snow was somewhat lower, homeowners and business owners began digging out and soon created a “system of canals,” the Times reported.
Some of the most vivid snapshots of life during and immediately after the blizzard appeared in the March 15 edition of the Rutland Herald. Workers in Rutland fought through drifts that ranged from 4 feet high to over their heads. Their path to work was dictated by the vagaries of where the wind had piled the least snow. One man struggled from the Herald office to the nearby train depot through 4-foot drifts. When he returned 20 minutes later, he found that his tracks had been completely covered by blowing snow and he had to fight his way back to the office.
But that trek pales next to the efforts made by one unidentified local man who worked a night shift.
Leaving his job on Merchants Row, the man decided to walk home, a distance of about a half mile. Setting off at 3:30 a.m., he struggled through drifts that reached his armpits. After about three hours of this battle, he was drenched in sweat, despite the single-digit temperatures. He feared that if he stopped, he would freeze to death.
A wall of snow 10 feet high convinced him he couldn’t move forward any farther, so he pushed his way toward the home of one of his neighbors. He knocked on the door to rouse the occupants and was welcomed in. The man warmed himself and rested until daylight, then ventured out again. This time he cut through backyards and reached home a half hour later, exhausted and with one ear badly frozen.
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In the following days, when snow was cleared from sidewalks, there was no place to put it except beside the road. Great mounds grew up. The Herald reported that pedestrians on opposite sides of some streets couldn’t see each other because of the piles. One man ventured out on his horse. As he rode down the sidewalk, people on the other side of the street noticed that even the man’s hat was blocked from view.
Newspapers all seemed to search out the oldest local residents they could find, and verified that this was the worst blizzard they could remember. Weather historians have since dubbed this the most severe blizzard to hit New England in recorded history.
Record or not, the Bellows Falls Times summed up life after the storm simply: “No paths, no streets, no sidewalks, no light, no roads, no guests, no calls, no teams, no hacks, no trains, no moon, no milk, no paper, no mails, no news, no thing – but snow.”
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