Henderson County, Kentucky Businesses



Coldest winter in past 40 years provides giant rink for local skaters

In mid-December 1911, Henderson residents proved they could walk on water. On frozen water, that is.

The Midwest was having its coldest winter in 40 years and the Ohio River here was frozen from bank to bank for the first time since February 1892.

Old-timers were talking about that earlier event, when youngsters gleefully skated from the Kentucky side of the waterway to the Indiana side.

The ice-crusted river no doubt was a delight for those who had the time and nerve to venture on foot across its surface, but the Gleaner noted that it was a headache for operators of the traction line that carried passengers - via ferry - across the Ohio.

"Ice in the river will prevent service on the Evansville traction for many days, even after the snow is cleared from the track," the paper reported, pointing out that "huge floes of ice, which formed in the river Sunday, have cemented…"

Temperatures had been at the zero mark for days and a heavy snow covered the county. It was hard for people to get anywhere, especially if they relied on the local system of streetcars to get them there.

The inclement weather had halted the cars, but the Gleaner reported that "late Tuesday afternoon Manager Graham and his large force of workmen succeeded in getting the car track out Second Street to the Union Station and down Main to Hancock Street opened and cars were run during the night.

"This was accomplished by using a big road grader drawn by six horses. The bulk of the snow on the track was removed by the grader, but workmen were compelled to use picks and shovels to clean it from the rails and hundreds of bushels of salt was also used to melt the snow on rails."

Moving atop the packed snow on the city streets were pairs of horses pulling wagons carrying 30-bushel loads of coal. The Gleaner said "Teamsters in the city are doing all in their power to deliver coal to those whose bins are minus the black diamond."

To replenish the dealers' supplies, the paper noted, "Miners at the local mines are working overtime…"

For those who weren't finding entertainment in the frozen Ohio and mounds of snow, the Weather Bureau held out a ray of hope. The newspaper told them that "some relief is promised … for the later part of this week."

Reprinted with permission.
Progress Edition, The Gleaner, Saturday, March 30, 1996
Written by Judy Jenkins

Contributed by Netta Mullin, HCH&GS
Copyright 2002 HCH&GS