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The Eye of the Storm:
A Journey into the Natural Disasters in Connecticut

The Blizzard of 1888

The Blizzard of 1888 hit the northeastern United States with a fierce intensity that etched itself into people's memories. An unrelenting fury of heavy snows, bitter cold, and high winds pounded the region from Washington, D.C., to the Canadian border in a storm that lasted for three days in mid-March. The storm took people by surprise, and many were unprepared for the resulting isolation and destruction. Snow was measured in Connecticut between twenty and fifty inches, but high winds caused snowdrifts up to twenty feet in several areas. In one twenty-four hour period, thirty-one inches of snow fell in New Haven with forty-five inches as the total by the end of the storm. Railroad service was halted, businesses had to shut down, and citizens of the state were imprisoned in their homes while the storm raged. It took days for many to dig themselves out. Over 400 people across the east coast died in the storm, and damage was estimated at $20 million.

Digging out from the Blizzard of 1888
New Haven, Connecticut
Digging out from the Blizzard of 1888
New Haven, Connecticut
Photo CD ID 3151 IMG0094

< Boys and men dig out from the mountains of snow on an unidentified street in New Haven.

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Asylum Street in Hartford
Asylum Street in Hartford, Connecticut, after the Blizzard of 1888
PhotoCD number 2824 img0085.pcd

< Huge piles of snow block Asylum Street in Hartford, Connecticut, after the Blizzard if 1888. This photograph, taken by John Orgill, looks east from Trumbull Street.

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Bank Street in Waterbury
Bank Street in Waterbury, Connecticut, after the Blizzard of 1888.
Photo CD number 2824 img0098.pcd

< This view of Bank Street in Waterbury, Connecticut, was taken after the Blizzard by Adt & Brothers.

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Horse-drawn sleds used for snow removal
Horse-drawn sleds used for snow removal in Hartford, Connecticut, after the Blizzard of 1888.
Photo CD number 2824 img0046.pcd

< Horse-drawn sleds were used to aid in the removal of snow after the Blizzard of 1888. This view shows Jewell Street in Hartford, Connecticut.

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The great snow blockade, Meriden
The great snow blockade, Meriden, Connecticut, after the Blizzard of 1888.
Photo CD number 2824 img 0030.pcd

< A locomotive, most likely belonging to the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, gets through the snow at the station in Meriden, Connecticut. This photograph was taken by J.F. Green after the Blizzard of 1888.

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Snow tunnel in Bridgeport
Snow tunnel in Bridgeport, Connecticut, after the Blizzard of 1888.
Photo CD number 2824 img0035.pcd

< Despite the 400 lives lost in the Blizzard of 1888, some found humor in unexpected ways after the storm ended. This photograph was taken between Water and Main Streets in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

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Link to other essays in this Journey:

>> Introduction: The Eye of the Storm
>>
The Flood of 1936
>> The Hurricane of 1938
>> The Hurricane of 1944
>> The Floods of 1955

>> Guideposts
>> Suggestions for further reading