“Yesterday afternoon at half past two o’clock, the greatest storm of the season commenced, the wind blowing hard from the northeast, carrying with it large quantities of snow which soon made the streets almost impassable.”
Hamilton Spectator. March 29, 1876
Two days into spring, spring as regards the calendar anyway, one thing dominated all Hamiltonians activities on March 29, 1876, a snow storm of significant proportions.
All the following transcripts from the Hamilton Spectator of that day, deal with the storm and its effects on citizens, both rural and urban residents :
“The weather was not at all cold and the snow was quite soft, sticking to people’s clothes, making it very disagreeable to be out. The snow feel in such quantities and was drifted so much that before nine o’clock at night the several trains due in this city before midnight were all delayed and the one on the Hamilton & North Western held over.
“Reports from the country state that there have been some severe losses on account of the storm. A gentleman shortly after dark drove his horses over a bridge into a dry creek in Binbrook bed. One of the horses broke both of his fore legs, and was shot two hours afterwards. The other horse escaped comparatively uninjured. A large number of lambs were also lost in the snow.
“The appearance of our streets this morning was rather interesting, the beautiful being piled in high drifts before every door. The value of a snow by-law will be more appreciated when it is known that before nine o’clock, the principal streets were cleaned and quite passable.
“The trains on the Grand Trunk and Hamilton & NorthWestern Railway were cancelled after nine o’clock.
“About eleven o’clock, a large party of gentlemen who were anxious to reach Hamilton, hired a large span of horses and a sleigh to bring them in. The storm was raging furiously, drifting in their path, and it took them seven hours and a half to reach Hamilton. They had to repeatedly shovel a track for themselves and, in some instances, they had to assist the horses to drag the sleigh through the overwhelming drifts. The party was nearly perished when it reached this city, and all declare that it was the most miserable drive they ever experienced
“For the first time since the street railway has been built, the cars were prevented from running today, on account of the immense quantity of snow lying upon the track. The plow was put into requisition this morning, but merely succeeded in putting the snow to one side and did not succeed in laying bare the rails. The Company’s servants were busily engaged throughout the day in shovelling snow and making the track ready for tomorrow.
“This afternoon as a lady was walking down James street a mass of snow fell upon the sidewalk from a building a few doors north of the Royal Hotel. The snow was very heavy, and fell on a few feet from the lady. Had it fallen upon her head, she would undoubtedly have sustained serious injury.
“Owing to the small attendance at the public schools this morning and the depth of the snow, the scholars were informed at noon that their attendance would not be required in the afternoon.”