vintage, nostalgia and memories


February 23, 2017

Incredible Pictures of the Great Blizzard of 1888: How One Storm Changed New York City Forever

In March 1888, an unprecedented blizzard hit the northeast, dumping 20 to 60 inches of snow on an unprepared New York City. Drifts measured 30 and even 50 feet in some parts of the region.

Not only was the storm momentous, resulting in around 200 deaths in New York City alone, it had a lasting impact on the way the city functions today.

The creation of New York’s now-ubiquitous subway, as well as its underground electrical system, can be traced back to “The Great White Hurricane,” as the storm was nicknamed. Winds surpassing 80 mph knocked over electrical wires, starting fires that caused an estimated $25 million worth of property damage. Above-ground telephone and telegraph wires were also downed, cutting off communication to other cities. And all transportation was halted.

After the storm, the city set in motion a plan to build an underground train system. The plan wasn’t fully formed until 1894, and in 1900 construction on the subway finally began.

As trains pass by on either side, a lone person walks across the Brooklyn Bridge after a blizzard left the bridge and tracks covered in snow, New York, New York, March 14, 1888. (Wallace G. Levison/Dahlstrom Collection/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Workers dig out the snow from underneath an elevated train line after the blizzard of 1888. (Bettmann/CORBIS)

Snow covers a street and blows against a row of apartment houses surrounding Trinity Church during the Blizzard of 1888. The biggest storm to hit the eastern US in the 19th century. (Bettmann/CORBIS)

A New York street is shown during the blizzard of 1888. The blizzard that occured March 12-14 paralyzed the city with 40" of snow and winds that reached up to 60 miles per hour, creating drifts as high as 50 feet. Telegraph and telephone poles and wires were downed and lay in the streets. (AP Photo)

Men waiting at a railroad depot peer from behind a pile of snow after a snowstorm in New York City. (Bettmann/CORBIS)

Pedestrians on site of the great blizzard in New York City. (Bettmann/CORBIS)

Work crews remove snow in New York City's Times Square following the Blizzard of 1888 in New York City. (Bettmann/CORBIS)

The awning of a grocery store is damaged from the weight of the snow during the blizzard of 1888 in New York City. The blizzard on March 12-14 paralyzed the city with about 40" of snow and winds that reached up to 60 miles per hour, creating drifts as high as fifty feet. (AP Photo)

The statue of George Washington on Wall Street, covered in snow by the Great Blizzard of 1888. The building is now called the Federal Hall National Memorial. (Library of Congress)

Carts haul snow and ice, cleared from city streets, to the river for dumping in the East River in New York, possibly during the Blizzard of 1888. (Photo by Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

Carts haul snow and ice, cleared from city streets, to the river for dumping in the East River in New York, possibly during the Blizzard of 1888. (Photo by Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

New York, policemen rubbing snow on frozen ears during a snowstorm, March 1888. (Getty Images)



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