On the Porch

We have recently endured a major snowstorm in our region. On March 31, 1896, southwest Minnesota experienced a late March snowstorm after having mild spring weather. The following weather-related information is from the social news section of the Lyon County Reporter on April 4, 1896:

Tuesday’s snowstorm was accompanied with thunder.

The old settlers were reminded Tuesday of the October blizzard of several years ago.

The late storm was worth thousands of dollars to this county, in supplying needed moisture to the grain fields.

The telegraph wires were all down Tuesday night, and no trains came in from the east.

Monday night and Tuesday night we had a spell of weather here. Rain all night and snow all day. March came in like a lion and went out like a hippopotamus.

A good many of our citizens never saw a worse blizzard than that of last Tuesday. We haven’t had a bad a one for eight or 10 years, and March 31, 1896, will go into history as a wild and wooly day in Minnesota. Snow drifts Wednesday morning were up to the tops of fences and travel was pretty nearly suspended for a time. The fact that this blizzard came out of season following very suddenly a spell of mild spring weather, reminded the old settlers of the blizzard of October 1880. That storm followed a summery mildness and came at an unknown season for blizzards, but the two or three days that kept up the sensation were about the worst on record. Winter preparations for stock had not been made, and many cattle and sheep died from the long and severe exposure. At the close of the storm the snow drifts were a wonder. In Marshall, for instance, there was a drift in front of the block opposite our present office that reached to the second story windows, and Main Street had such a drift between the Lyon County Bank and Healy’s store that it was tunneled and travel was through this tunnel for several days. Street travel was entirely suspended. A thaw soon removed this obstruction, but the effects of the storm were recorded in many photographic views that were sold and re-published all over the country.

The photograph featured this week is of a stereograph from the museum’s collection. The image shows Marshall after the 1880 snowstorm. The names Will Hunter, Frank Pierre, and Ed Healy are written on the back. The Lyon County Historical Society is a non-profit, member-supported organization. For more information on membership, research, volunteering, or the museum’s collection, please contact us at 537-6580 or director@lyoncomuseum.org. Like our page and follow us on Facebook!