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Blizzard of ‘99 Isolated L.I.

Footnotes to Long Island History

Blizzard of ’99 Isolated Long Island

February 28, 1957

by,

Thomas R. Bayles

 


 

            The Great Snow Storm of 1899

            (The following account of the great storm of February, 1899, is taken from The Patchogue Advance issue of February 17, 1899.)

            Last Saturday night a howling northeaster struck Long Island, and Sunday, Sunday night, Monday and Monday night the wind blew

at 60 miles an hour and the snow fell up to a depth of from 18 to 24 inches and the wind piled it in great drifts.

            People generally agree that it was worse than the great blizzard of 1888.  The snow was deeper and the cold much more severe. The
            thermometer went to several degrees below zero every morning, and the mean temperature for Saturday, Sunday and Monday was
            pretty close to zero.  There was a great rattling in coal bins and wood piles.

            Sunday, Street Commissioner Crowley and his men made desperate attempts to clear the walks.  Monday they tried it again, but it was
            a losing game and frightfully hard work.  Snow soon filled in the paths again.  Tuesday it was impossible to do anything but break the

            roads.  The horses could scarcely wallow through the great drifts.  Men had to dig out the biggest drifts.  John Hand and a force of men
           worked from Bay Avenue West to the mill.  Captain Hawkins and others worked through East Patchogue, and Lance Still cut through the drifts in th         lower part of town.  Many others lent a hand on by noon Tuesday the roads were just passable.

           

            Drifts 12 Feet High

            Great drifts are piled up in Main Street 12 feet high.  Tunnels and narrow passageways are the means of communication between the

            sides of the streets.

            Saturday at the Methodist Church, a ton of coal was burned to warm up the church for Sunday.  About a score of members were out
            in the morning and 38 were out for Sunday school.  At the Congregational church there were no services except Sunday school.

            The morning train crews left Monday morning with two engines and one car.  They got to Long Island City about noon and returned

            Tuesday night about 10 o’clock following the three big engines that opened the road.  These engines arrives here about seven o’clock
            Tuesday night.  One of the engines was an immense camel back freight locomotive, and the crowd at the station was greatly interested in

            its appearance.  One of the operators presented Miss Webb, the telegraph operator, with Tuesday’s Brooklyn Eagle.  A. H. Carman

            offered a dollar for a New York Sun, but the engineer who had one refused to sell it.

            The mail was brought by a train on Wednesday, preceded by a big snow plow and engines which went on east until they got stuck at

            Moriches.

 

            No Daily Papers

            The entire Island is buried in immense snow drifts—no trains, no mails, no daily papers for two or three days, no business, no church, no

            fun.  Everybody and his neighbor have been shoveling snow.

            The Long Island Rail Road practically suspended business Monday, and all trains were stopped.  Tuesday they cleared the suburban

            roads and Wednesday they made desperate efforts to reach the east end.  No trains arrived from east until Wednesday afternoon, and

            then only from Moriches.

            The Long Island sound was frozen miles out from shore, and steamers from Northport, Huntington and other points could not reach

            New York.

            The local butchers were short on meat Wednesday night and coal dealers were short of nut and stove coal.  East Hampton reported an

            oil famine and Riverhead ran out of eggs.  The trains to Riverhead did not get through until Thursday.

            Lon Albin started home on Wednesday night and fell exhausted on Main Street near Grove Avenue.  He was found by Louis Wheeler

            who got help and carried him into Link’s Saloon where he was revived.              

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