As you may have noticed, fellow Mainers, we’ve had a bit of snowfall lately. And while this has been a doozy of a storm, I’m here to tell you about when Maine had it worse.
Introducing: The Great Blizzard of 1717
The Great Blizzard of 1717 (Also called “The Great Snow”) was a series of snow storms that struck New England almost exactly 300 years ago. The storms began late in February, and ended on March 7th. The result? Five feet of snow on the ground (possibly up to 8ft in places), and drifts that covered some houses and reached to the third story windows of others.
Back then they didn’t have any of the modern conveniences such as city plow trucks, or personal snowblowers. They had to make do with shovels and elbow grease for the areas around their homes. As for the roads? The local roads were impassible even by the postmen (and that’s saying a lot!) for a week or more, and the expanse that lay between Boston and New York City became impossible to navigate for much longer. The storms proved so bad that for generations, people in New England began to refer to events as either being before or after The Great Snow.
There were some happy stories to come from this storm, despite its challenges. Tunnels and paths were dug and maintained from house to house so that people could check in after their neighbors. The postal service ended up strapping on snowshoes to deliver the mail. There was even a story recorded of a couple of pigs who dug their way out of a snow bank 27 days after the last storm. (They survived on roots and plants they were able to dig up!)
We New Englanders can be good at looking in after our neighbors, finding the bright side, and strapping on the snow shoes when there’s no other way. I’m trusting that you’ll find the bright side in this storm as well – be it time spent with loved ones indoors, or a chance to catch up on your reading through the power outages.
Stay safe and warm everyone.
What about you? How have you been faring through this blizzard? What stories do you have of finding the bright side in all this snow? Share in the comments below and join in the conversation.
For further reading on the Great Blizzard of 1717: