Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Slogging through the 1950 Storm Had Its Rewards Gene Scott

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Slogging through the 1950 Storm Had Its Rewards Gene Scott

Article excerpt

Thanksgiving Day in 1950 was like most other Thanksgivings at our house on Duncan Street in Lawrenceville.

Later that day, it got a lot colder, but there's not much else I remember except it started to snow.

My brothers and sisters and I went to bed with full stomachs and a little bit of wonderment. By the next morning, it was snowing like crazy. It snowed all day and the next.

Those who ventured out that day after Thanksgiving had harrowing tales to tell. My sister Anne went to work in a Downtown office that day, hoping the storm would abate before she headed back.

By midafternoon, more than a foot of snow had fallen and the company let her start home early. Halfway back, the 95-Butler streetcar was stalled in its tracks by the deep snow. Like many others, it remained stalled for a week or more.

Anne had to walk the last 2 miles home while it kept snowing. She stopped to warm up at the only businesses that were open, the bars - 17 of them. Anne didn't get home until midnight, eight hours after she left Downtown, but thank God for all those bars.

I was supposed to work that Saturday. The snow, nearing 3 feet, was finally slowing down. I decided if my sister could make it to work in all that snow, I could do it, too. So off I went to the factory shipping office a mile and a half away at Hubbard and Co., next to the Sharpsburg Bridge. Everyone at home laughingly assumed I would be back in 10 minutes.

At first, it looked as if I wouldn't make it past the end of our street, with my short legs and being so skinny, too. But the first two blocks were downhill from our house and easy compared with what lay ahead. When I hit Butler Street and level ground, I was plunging down in the drifts and crawling back up.

It never occurred to me why no one else was out and about, even as I passed three or four of those stalled streetcars, all covered with snow and ice.

Halfway there, as I wearily trudged past a block of storage buildings that were called the "40 garages," I started to get discouraged. …

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