Winter rouses memories of snowstorms that broke records


January 26, 1994|By PAT BRODOWSKI

We've had our share of big snowstorms in Carroll County. Last year's Big Blizzard on March 13, for example. Can you remember these other record-breakers?

Palm Sunday, 1942. Westminster lands 32 inches of snow.

The double trouble in 1958. In February, we got 15 to 18 inches. In March, 34 inches of wet snow slopped upon thoughts of spring.

What do Carroll countians do when the snow lands deep? Long-time residents Charlotte Collett, Hannah Stevens and Marie Eburg recall the problems and pleasures of snowstorms.


"They'd close Maple Street and Park Avenue [in Manchester] for sleigh riding. They didn't salt it or anything," remembers Charlotte Collett, a Manchester town councilwoman. "If you started at the top, you came down all the way to where the pharmacy is now."

And when the ice was thick, folks went skating.

"At the North Carroll Pond, I remember the firemen of Hampstead and Manchester would shine floodlights from the tops of their trucks for skating at night," she said.

One year, she remembers, snow drifted over Manchester's York Street. Near the carnival grounds, where the roadbed is several feet lower than lawns edging it, the wind-driven snow piled up to the level of both sides, she said.

"I'd say it was 4 or 5 feet deep," said Mrs. Collett. Route 27 was under construction then: "They finally used that road construction equipment to open York Street."

With roads impassable, milk trucks couldn't get through -- to the farm or the store. One dairy farmer had a solution.

"Willard Huff came into town [from Water Tank Road] with his milk on a wagon. I think it was a farm sled," said Mrs. Collett. "He was just giving it away. You took your container out and he poured it in. I think that's an important part of this weather: the sharing.

"And when I lived on a farm as a kid, out in the Alesia-Millers Station area, they didn't have a highway-cleaning crew. The farmers themselves did it."

Her family plowed for Baltimore County.

"They turned in their time to [Baltimore] county, and the county would send a check for their time. You don't trust people like that any more," she said.


A storm of 1965 or '66 is one Hannah Stevens remembers. "I've only been here for 39 years," she says, in her Hanover Pike home in Greenmount. The year of the storm, she commuted to work in Wilmington, Del. She came home for the weekend and was snowed in until Wednesday.

"We had a storm that drifted and closed Route 30," said Mrs. Stevens who has long been active in Hampstead volunteer organizations.

"In the end, the farmers opened the road. They had to get their milk out. Word came over the radio that there was one lane at the bad drifts. What the farmers had done was take the tractors out and lift the drifts.

"You'd go down Route 30 and, at one of those places, you blew your horn. It was like driving through the mountains.

"It was beautiful because the drifts were carved like sculptures; it was marvelous," she said. "Those wind sculptures of snow have stayed in my mind."

Mrs. Stevens at one time led winter camping in Maine, arriving for a weekend with a cadre of inner-city teen-age girls to a winter lodge in a hemlock forest.

"We brought out enough snowshoes for everybody. They would walk all over themselves, yelling, laughing. The language was a little blue, shall we say," she recalls. As soon as the show shoes became familiar, they went outdoors.

She would take them through snow to where the hemlocks had been uncut for generations. All was silent in the forest. Rabbit tracks trickled between the ancient trees.

"The first time, they got very quiet," remembers Mrs. Stevens, as they stopped beneath the towering, snow-laden hemlocks.

"Then one said, 'This is just like walking into a cathedral.' "


Marie Eburg, who grew up in Hampstead, remembers sledding from the town train station to where the new Hampstead Elementary School now stands. After school, family and friends would pour water along the path to freeze a fast track for their sleds.

"At night, we stuck poles with oil pots [for light] all along the snow bank. We kids would start at the station. It was a lot of fun at night," she said.

She couldn't recall ever receiving a "snow day" off from school.

"My mother put a lunch in our basket and we went," she said. "We walked to school from Houcksville Avenue to the four-room school [behind] where the [old Hampstead] school sits now. There were two rooms in front, two in back."

Mrs. Eburg's great-grandparents, the Fringers, owned the farm where Spring Meadow Farms Market is today. To visit, she would often walk from Hampstead to the Fringer farm. One memory of the farm stands clear. Great-grandmother Fringer baked bread in an outdoor oven and served it with damson plum preserves.

The sleigh rides were great fun, too. Hanover Pike in her childhood was a dirt road, Mrs. Eburg said.

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