Henderson County, Kentucky
MOUNTAINS OF SNOW PRACTICALLY BROUGHT COUNTY TO STANDSTILL
This was one snow that "stayed" the mail carrier from his appointed rounds.
It occurred on Thursday, January 11, 1912, and was so deep the Henderson Daily Gleaner claimed that even the community's oldest residents couldn't recall anything to equal it.
Though a front-page account of the snowfall went on at length about its effects on the populace, the reporter failed to note exactly how much of the white stuff had fallen. But the paper's Spottsville correspondent recorded a depth of 14 inches in that Green River community and lamented that snowdrifts made it "almost impossible to reach this place "
That road-blocking situation existed throughout the county, and the rural postal route men "made a start on their routes but had to turn back on account of being unable to drive their horses through the snow."
Newspaper deliverymen were also stymied in their efforts to reach rural subscribers.
In the city, harried mothers who expected the usual bottles of milk to be on the front step on Friday morning found that the dairy wagons hadn't been able to reach them. No milk was delivered until noon, and in some parts of town residents waited in vain for the milkman all day Friday, as the snow made many side streets impassable.
That dilemma also ruled out cab service to those areas.
The dense snow brought a halt to streetcar service until mid-afternoon Friday. "Men were at work with a scraper to which was attached six horses all day yesterday, trying to clear the track and snow was piled up several feet on each side of the track," the gleaner reported on Saturday.
Residents, struggling to stay warm as outside temperatures hovered at the zero mark, were making numerous visits to their backyard coalhouses for buckets of the fuel. Consequently, coal dealers were having a banner week with orders coming in "fast and thick." The paper reported that dealers were doing their best to accommodate everyone but simply hadn't been able to get to them all.
In demand, too, were the county's plumbers who were summoned to take care of pipes that had burst from the plummeting temperatures. Plumbers told the Gleaner that "twice the number that is generally employed could have been used."
Groceries weren't seeing many customers, but they were hearing from them. Everyone was calling and requesting that orders be delivered to them.
Also getting frantic calls were representatives of charitable organizations who were asked to provide food and fuel for the poor.
Whether the crime rate slowed isn't known, but it's for sure the wheels of justice were turning more sluggishly. The newspaper noted that "Judge J. W. HENSON stated that if there was not a great difference in conditions by Monday he did not see how he could hold a session of the circuit court as the witnesses from the county could not reach the city."
Little did the winter-weary citizens know that the siege of bad weather was going to hang on for awhile.
Local historian Maralea Arnett relates in her county "Annals and Scandals" that January 27, 1912, would see a frost-bitten thermometer reading of 23 below zero here.
Reprinted with permission.
Contributed by Netta Mullin, HCH&GS
Copyright 2002 HCH&GS