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Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Snow Storm

January 1, 1900


Beautiful Snow Embarrasses Things In This Section.

No Great Damage Done, But Deep Drifts Heaped Around.

Trains Late, Lost and Stalled--Trolley Schedule Mixed Up.

There was a genuine touch of winter in the storm that set in on New Year’s day and for a time it looked like a record breaker. The fall of snow was much more than expected and some very large drifts were piled up around the city. As far as known at present there was no frightful disasters such have marked the appearance of some of the winter storms of recent years. How the storm affected the city and this locality is told in the following detailed account:

About Town.

About town the storm was similar to the big blizzard of last year and in the afternoon travel on the streets was almost blocked. Very few people, unless compelled to, ventured out, as the sleet cut the face like a knife. The stores were all deserted and the clerks found very little to do.

Only one session of school was held, Superintendent Morrison deciding it too severe for the little ones to go out again in the afternoon. The telegraph and telephone lines suffered but little and very few wires were reported down.

The electric road probably was the hardest hit and it was only by the most strenuous efforts that the line was kept open during the day. At 6 30 all cars were run into the car barn, and those forced to be out after that time had to walk home. The plow was kept going, however, and kept the tracks fairly open. Superintendent Howard expects to have things running bright and early this morning, although it will be hard work to run on time.

Chief Engineer Sullivan took every precaution in case of fire and had the firemen all on duty. The hydrants were kept free as possible and the possibility of any big conflagration was very small. Up to midnight no wrecks were reported along the coast, but the live-savers kept a close watch and had everything in readiness in case there were

On the Railroad.

An extra freight, bound west, was stalled in this yard, on Monday night. The bulk of its load consisted of Maine potatoes, and Station Agent Grant provided wood for the stoves in the cars, to prevent the potatoes from freezing.

The efficient baggage-master, Frank Pickering, was on duty as extra man at the depot, Monday night.

Edgar J. White had charge of the shovelers in the pit at the round-house, Monday night.

The snow plow and scraper went to Salem, Mass., Monday afternoon, in charge of Conductor John Small. The gang of men was under Foreman Foss.

Baggage Master Nathan Spinney went to Salem on the scraper.

The Yankee from the east was one and three-fourths hours behind its scheduled time of arrival, 7:25.

The chaps in the depot telegraph office had all they could attend to, Monday night, keeping track of the various trains, and local calls by telephone elicited no response.

The Pullman and Bar Harbor trains fared badly, with the rest of them, and were quite late into this station.

The afternoon trains were not affected so badly by the storm as were those after four o’clock.

The merits of coke as a fuel for locomotives were put to a severe test, dur [sic] the storm.

Charles Chapman and George Smart were the foremen of the gang at work in the yard.

Horace Howe was in charge of the plow working between Portland and this city.

A large force of shovelers was at work clearing out the switches in the yard, Monday afternoon and night.

The train due here from Boston at 5:20 in the afternoon, got stalled at North Hampton and did not pull out from that station until 6:28 o’clock. It came along all right from there to this city.

Conductor Law’s train from Concord reached this city at 7:35 o’clock, an hour and twenty minutes late.

The train that usually arrives in Portsmouth from Boston at 6:35 o’clock, in the evening, got here an hour behind the scheduled time.

All the afternoon and evening trains came in covered with snow and presenting a veritable winter aspect, the first of the season.

People on incoming trains from Boston reported that the storm was considerably heavier this side of Newburyport than between that place and Boston.
Harry Tucker, the Portsmouth mail carrier, toted the mail from the evening trains on his back to the post office, instead of bothering to hitch up his team.

Notes of the Storm.

Telephone and telegraph communication between this city and others was not interrupted at all.

It is expected that the telephone people will have some wires to straighten out today in the outlying districts.

Officers Robinson and Burns picked a drunk out of a drift on Market square on Monday evening and took him to the station.

So far as could be learned none of the mails from the west failed to arrive.

The wind rose about one o’clock this morning and whirled the snow in brisk style. The snow fall, however, had almost ceased.

It is considered a remarkable circumstance by the police that not a solitary person applied at the station for lodging on Monday night.

More than one person besides the firemen thought what a bad night it would have been for a fire. Happily, not an alarm was sounded.

The Dartmouth Glee club must have appreciated the patronage of those people who turned out, in the face of the storm, to attend the concert.

The new plow of the Portsmouth electric railway was run over the several lines all night, and today the cars will probably be very nearly on time.

The patrolmen reported that although it was not so cold a storm as many they remember it was about as disagreeable as they care to be out in.

Portsmouth Herald, Portsmouth, NH 2 Jan 1900

Transcribed by Helen Coughlin.  Thank you, Helen!


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