Nebraska State Historical Society Blog

How High Is That Drift?

1912 blizzard in Fairbury, Nebraska (NSHS RG2083-4-48)

The four men standing between snow banks in Fairbury in 1912 illustrate the aftermath of a snowstorm described by the Fairbury Journal on March 1 as “about the heaviest ever experienced in this vicinity.” The first man in line is resting his arm atop a drift, perhaps to impress upon the viewer how much snow has been heaped along the sidewalk.

The storm extended all over the Rocky Mountain region, especially the southern portion, and as far east as the Atlantic coast. At Fairbury, it  began with a drizzling rain, which turned to snow, leaving a total of sixteen inches on the ground. The Journal said: “On account of the high wind, which at times blew 50 miles an hour, the snow was drifted and sidewalks and streets were impassable Monday morning.

Old residents say they never saw so much snow in the streets of Fairbury. On the east side of the square it was necessary to shovel a path thru banks four feet deep. When the snow was shoveled off into the street, a person of ordinary height, passing along the sidewalk, could not see into the street.” Fortunately, the effects of the storm didn’t last long. The sun came out, and the snow “settled rapidly,” indicating that it may have been winter’s last major blast. – Patricia C. Gaster, Assistant Editor / Publications  (NSHS RG2083-4-48)

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