Some of us have vivid memories of the “Blizzard of 1978” and the harsh toll it took on our lives, our property, our schedules and our peace of mind. Imagine back nearly a century before when another blizzard hit Massachusetts. Mass Moments remind us that on this day – March 11, 1888 – “one of the most destructive blizzards ever to strike the East Coast raged for 36 hours.” Life was different then – with little technology, a reliance on street cars and trolleys for travel and trains for getting coal back east. Rural life was hard hit but farmers seemed more self-sufficient. But all residents of the Commonwealth who were ready for Spring got nasty surprise on March 11, 1888 – one for the record books.
…in 1888, ordinary life in Massachusetts came to a standstill. One of the most destructive blizzards ever to strike the East Coast raged for 36 hours. Called “the White Hurricane,” the storm produced a combination of blinding snow, deep drifts, driving wind, and severe cold. Big cities were especially hard hit. In Springfield, Worcester, and Boston, food supplies soon ran low. So did heat, for most homes were warmed by coal-fired stoves. Coal moved by rail, and trains were not moving. The disruption caused by the storm persuaded city officials to invest in underground utilities and transportation. The Boston subway system, the nation’s first, was one positive outcome of the Blizzard of 1888.