Photo of the Week, 4: Beware of March Snowstorms!
Little is known about this photograph from the Museum archives except
the date—March 7, 1931. A check of local newspaper microfilm at
Bloomington Public Library tells us that in fact there was a major
snowstorm at this time. “Winter's Worst Storm Grips State—Relief Today,
Is Prediction" was the March 8, 1931 front page headline in The
“Activities of Bloomington-Normal and Central Illinois were seriously crippled by the March blizzard that deposited six inches of snow in this area," noted the newspaper. “About noon, it was reported that virtually every highway through Bloomington was blocked by drifts." The Pantagraph added that hurried efforts were underway to clear Route 2 (now U.S. Route 51) south to the McLean County Poor Farm in order to transport a seriously ill Poor Farm resident to a Twin Cities hospital.
Automobiles weren't the only mode of transportation affected by the snowfall. The Chicago & Alton; Illinois Terminal; Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis (known as the “Big Four") and other railroads serving Central Illinois faced delays or temporary shutdowns due to high drifts or derailments. The Bloomington-Normal streetcar system also struggled to maintain regular service during the worst of the storm.