February 16, 2023 | Last updated Apr 6, 2023

May Day a Snow Day in 1911

Snow covered the streets on May 1, 1911, in O’Neill. RG3841-5-4


Many Nebraskans, after enjoying spring weather only a few days earlier, spent May 1 of 1911 wading through snow and shoveling the white stuff off their sidewalks. The citizens of O’Neill, for example, read in The Frontier, their local paper, a few days earlier on April 27 an enthusiastic article praising the “sweet perfume of apple, plum and cherry blossoms” and other signs of spring. The Frontier’s next issue, on May 4, included more characteristic complaints about the recent Nebraska snowstorm:

“The storm which came April 30th, was a great surprise to most people, and not a very pleasant one at that. Some of the farmers intended to start planting corn on May 1st, but the storm caused them to put it off awhile. . . . The boys here had a little fun playing ball last Saturday, they now say that they will wait until they are sure that spring has come before they practice again. . . . The roads are again in an impassable condition on account of the recent storm, which was certainly the fiercest we have ever seen  at this time of the year. It is now the shed for automobiles, and the road for sleighs.”

The Omaha Bee in its May 1 and 2 coverage of the unseasonable winter weather noted that “promenaders were few in Omaha. The stragglers on the street presented an array of gladsome spring garb covered with last winter’s overcoats. . . . The chilly weather this year, coming after a period of beautiful days and helpful spring rains, was by no means unprecedented. May in this [Missouri] valley often loses its sweet tranquility long enough to show us a very ugly disposition. In 1907 the month was more than half gone before it began to justify the happy illusion of its name.”

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