February 22, 1922: Blizzard hits Duluth

On this day in Duluth in 1922, Duluth was hit by a blizzard which produced over two feet of snow that came down non-stop for 24 hours. The next day bold headlines in the Duluth News Tribune read “SNOW BARAGE BURIES DULUTH. ‘DIG’ IS SLOGAN.” Automobile and train traffic was paralyzed, and the streetcar company only managed to 0pen the Superior Street line between the West End and Twenty-fourth Avenue East. The newspaper reported northeast winds of 50 miles an hour whipped up snow drifts 30 feet high, covering homes. Duluth was not alone. The Twin Cities were “isolated from the east” as all telegraph wires between St. Paul and Chicago had gone down (which also forced Duluth to get its news of the outside world from Winnipeg and New York). The storm even halted train traffic in North Dakota. The paper also recorded a bright spot in the story: hundreds of unemployed men would be hired by the city to clear snow, and the Omaha Railroad had already hired 85 for the same task. Most roads were open by the 23rd, but still parts of the city remained “a labyrinth of of tunnels and narrow snow-banked lanes.” On Park Point, the snow banks were as high as the trolley cars, but that wasn’t the worst of it: the storm had caused a cable on the Aerial Transfer Bridge to foul, stranding residents south of the canal.  When the weather cleared and the cable was repaired, one of its first duties was to transport a National Guard tank fitted with a plow across the canal to help clear the snow. Read the newspaper’s coverage of the day after the storm here: 1922Blizzard_2.23.1922_01_DNT, 1922Blizzard_2.23.1922_02_DNT, 1922Blizzard_2.23.1922_03_DNT, 1922Blizzard_2.23.1922_04_DNT.

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