Blizzard of 1934

excerpt from
My Long Island
Mrs. Eleanor Ferguson

Jim Ashton's tractor attempting to plow the roads. Photo from the collection of Donald Bayles.

Clearing the roads in Middle Island. Photo from the collection of Donald Bayles.

In January of 1934, we had the blizzard to end all blizzards. Long Island was not noted for heavy snows, and the highway departments were caught unawares. They had trucks and they had the snowplow attachments, but in most cases the plows were not where the trucks were, and the drifts were so high that they could not get to the snowplow sheds without the plows. A real stalemate. It was ten days before our road was cleared, and it was a state road. Somebody broke through with horses sufficiently so Don (Mr. Ferguson) could walk down to the Stewart's for milk. No mail came in and no traffic moved.

Don shoveled away around the back door and the kids managed to get out and wallow in snowdrifts. Billy was so small he couldn't manage it so he slid down drifts on his stomach. We had a pantry and cellar full of food, the results of my summer's canning, and the potatoes we always stored. There was coal for the furnace and the stove, wood for the fireplace and kerosene for the lamps, so we were quite self-sufficient. With such deep snow it was impossible to work at the pruning, so we were all in the house together. It was lovely. We read and played games, Don played the mandolin, and Edith and I picked at the piano. There is much to be said for the togetherness of a blizzard.

From the diary of Albert Bayles.
The date of the blizzard, according to the Bayles diary differs from Mrs. Ferguson's remembrance. Albert dates the first date of the storm as having happened on Feb. 20, 1934

Feb. 20th Tuesday,
Blizzard worst since 1888. Therm Didn't get above 18 mid day. Snowed and strong wind from last midnight till noon. A young blizzard. Snow about 18 inches on the level. Lots of drifts 30 inches deep. Good part of road filled up to 30 inches. Drift between office and woodhouse 4 ft. deep. Cleared up and sun came out at noon. No one passed the house. No cars on road. Elwyn and I walked to store 4P.M. First tracks. No mail. No trains running. No school.

Feb. 21, Wednesday
… I broke track with my car from garage to road, then Elwyn, Smith and I broke road as far as Pfeiffer's A.M. with my car. First car over road since snow. About two hours making it. Had to shovel good part of the way. Jim Ashton opened road from Pfeiffer's to Coram, with his tractor "V" plow, P.M. Elwyn, Smith and I followed to Coram with my car and helped did through the drifts…

Feb. 22nd Thursday
Rain, snow melting. Arden and I went to Yaphank A.M. with my car and got his car out of the snow, where he left it Monday night. Ma, G. Donnie, Arden and I went to Port Jeff a.m. Arden and I went to Ridge, P.M. to see drifts. Deepest drift I've seen anywhere, by Game Farm. 4ft. deep. Smith out all last night with Jim Ashton on snow plow. First mail since Monday. First train on to Yaphank since Monday came through last night…

Clearing the Middle Island Rocky Point Road the hard way.
Looking west, Middle Country Road, building in background is where the Middle Island Rental is located.
Middle Country Road near the Middle Island Rental. Looking east.
Looking north Yaphank Middle Island Road. Car is on East Bartlett.


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