Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Snowstorm 1956 Wesleyville, PA

Thanksgiving Snowstorm 1956 on Station Road in Wesleyville, PA. Photo ©Dr. Barbara Chambers 2012.
The great Thanksgiving Snowstorm of 1956 was so big that it is still talked about to this day. The storm dumped 27 inches of snow on Erie County, Pennsylvania over the Thanksgiving holiday. The City of Erie came to a standstill. The snow was so deep that the National Guard was called in to deliver food and clear the streets in November of 1956. 

The picture above shows Hill's Market at 2013 Station Road in Wesleyville, PA. As you can see, cars were stranded on both sides of Station Road (Route 430). Some people had to shovel a path to the street to unbury their cars. Station Road ends at the traffic light at Buffalo Road (Route 20). The big white house is in the center of this photo is located at 3216 Buffalo Road. Plubell Hardware was located on the southeast corner of Buffalo Road and Station Road. It has since been torn down.

How did your family survive this winter storm? Please click here to leave a comment.

Check out this photo of the: 1956 Thanksgiving Snow Storm in Erie, PA.

Enjoy more fun photos of Erie, PA from the warmth of your home at: Old Time Erie

17 comments:

  1. My Grandfather video taped (8mm film transfered to video) a bit of the snow storm, particularly the helicopters bringing in food, station road by Kelly's Market (?). Tom Atkins in the past number of years runs the footage on Thanksgiving Night. I have spoke with quite a few people that said most of the snow fell while they were eating dinner. They said that it was that quick.

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  2. I've seen that footage. Very cool! The one shot goes right past my grandparent's old house at 2320 Station Road. Thanks for your comment!

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  3. I was 9 years old at the time. We had Thanksgiving dinner at my aunt's on east 4th street in Erie. Dad's 1950 Plymouth got stuck where he parked it, so my uncle John drove us home in his 1950 Olds "98". What a tank! The whole city was immobilized for days. We have had worse storms since then, but now everyone has four-wheel drive and the streets dept. has the equipment to handle the snow. I really enjoy these posts. Keep up the good work !!!

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  4. Judy Foster HendrixNovember 23, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    I had just turned 17 the month before that storm. It was our last Thanksgiving in Erie before moving to Phoenix the day after Christmas. We had Thanksgiving at my Aunt's on Chelsea Avenue. She thought we should not head home, but my dad was determined and it was a slow drive to 38th and French Street. We ditched the car in a snow bank north of 38th, where my Father forged a path for a block and a half to our house on 37th Street. He always said it was a fitting farewell to living in snow country!

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  5. My Grandparents talked about that storm every Thanksgiving. My Grandmother is 100 years old now and we talked about it again Thursday after we watched Tom Atkins on the news! In spite of the snowstorm my Grandparents, Mother and Uncle drove from their home on Hess Ave. to Grandma's sister's house in the Glenwood area, along with my other Great Aunt and Great Uncle, for Thanksgiving dinner. They managed to make it back to Hess Ave. again later and even drop off my G. Aunt Sarah and and G. Uncle Val at their house! The car didn't get stuck until back on Hess. The snow was so high my mother's skirts floated on top of the drifts.

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  6. I was five years old then but have some memories of being stuck at some ones house on Thanksgiving due to the huge snowfall. At that age I only remember bits like watching my dad try then give up shoveling out the car and having to sleep on the floor that night.

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    1. I was five as well. While I don't remember Thanksgiving day itself, what I do remember is the pile of snow that was as tall as our house. I have pictures of it somewhere, with me standing in front of it.

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  7. Our family never made it to Grandma´s house on 718 W. 5th St. the blizzard level of snow and accumulation had forced cars to stop in their tracks on HWY 20, I think. We were stranded near Conneaut and W. Springfield OH, having started our trip from Huntington IN early that morning. Though we stayed in the car for some time with Dad exiting to clear the exhaust area of the muffler many times during the snowfall, eventually we were evacuated to farm homes in the area. Carrying food snacks, any heavy blankets and suitcases we had in the car, we walked single file to what I remember as a lovely white farm house with big bedrooms and lots of canned food in a pantry. My 2 year old brother and I,( then 6) slept with Mom crosswise in one bed, my 9 year old brother with Dad in the other bed in the same bedroom. The owners shared the house with another family and us, though I don´t remember them. Mom continued to correspond with the owners for decades with annual Christmas cards. My folks said several people suffered heart attacks removing snow and were carried out by helicopter. Milk was made available to families with children...dispensed somehow by local farmers, via tractors? to the houses, I guess. After 3 days in this lovely home and no Thanksgiving with Grandma Daisy in Erie, we reloaded our car once the snowplows cleared the highways and returned to Indiana. I still remember the enormous walls of snow that created walking and driving tunnels. We talk of being marooned during this snowstorm as if it were yesterday. We kids are now 58,62 and 65...Mom, an Erie native, now living in Virginia, is 92.

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  8. ..make that between Conneautville and Springboro, PA. Sorry about the facts.

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  9. My wife and I were supposed to have Thanksgiving dinner with family in Harborcreek. We were stranded in our own house at 721 West 21st Street. We hadn't made preparation for a Thanksgiving feast of any kind.She was very pregant with our first child (twin boys we later found out! ) We decided to walk from 21st dowm to 18th street and purchase whatever was available at a little market. Thanksgiving dinner that year for us was pancakes and sausages in the quiet of our own kitchen. We've never forgotten that one!

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  10. I will always remember the Thanksgiving 1956 snow storm! I was 10 and we lived way out at 3334 W 41st St. It had already snowed so much that we couldn't get the car out of the garage, so my Uncle Dick Dietly drove out as far as he could and met us as we walked to his car so he could bring us into town to 2701 Auburn Street for our family Thanksgiving Dinner. I remember looking out the living room window and not being able to see the streetlight because it was snowing so hard. After dinner, my Dad, Uncle Dick, Cousins Rick and Bruce and I shoveled as fast as we could and couldn't make headway on the snow in the driveway. We were stuck there for the night - all 14 of us, or so. And, on Friday, too. My Uncle had a hardware store in town, and I went with him to open up so he could sell shovels and supplies. My Dad hitched a ride with a bread truck as far as it could get him to our house so he could feed the animals, keep the coal furnace going so the pipes wouldn't freeze, and try to dig out the car. The county roads hadn't been plowed yet, so he waited until Saturday when he could finally make it back to town and bring Mother and me home. I do remember fondly spending time during that blizzard getting to know some of Uncle Dick's family that I had spent little time with before. As an only child, I think that that was the longest time I had ever spent with so many people in my life! Little did I know it then, but by the next Thanksgiving my parents and I had moved to San Diego, CA, where we never did have another snow storm! Now, as I write this, fifty-seven years later, I live in Salida, CO, and it's 2 days before Thanksgiving 2013. I am looking out my window at almost a foot of snow on a sunny barely-above-freezing day. Most of those people may be gone, and the others I haven't seen for a long time, but I will always have fond memories of that special time and give thanks for the experience.

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  11. I lived on East 10th Street back then and if my memory is still good I believe that we still had school on Monday. I know that my brother and I walked to East High School as there were no school buses like today. Today's kids are a bunch of panty waist, afraid of a little snow. I drove cross country for close to 40 years and have driven in worse storms then this. Today every one wants things given to them.
    I remember the guards at 6th and Parade coming into Jerry Page's Mobile station with there tanks for fuel then getting them stuck trying to break through the piled up snow in the middle of Parade Street, just after the state of emergency was declared I now live in Northeast Florida and it has been at or below freezing the past several nights. I enjoy it and and still do not wear anything but a light weight wind breaker I have been in Florida since the late 60's so I am not a new comer and still use to the cold.

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  12. I was 9 years old back than .At that time my oldest sister was dating a guy whom she married later.We lived in McKean and he came out for dinner and had to walk the last mile because the roads were so bad and the snow drifts on our road were like 12 or 14 feet high. Our family was one of the families that had to have food brought in.We also heated our home with coal and the national guard had to bring us coal in a half tract.I believe I remember my mom saying that the national guard had to deliver food to some people in yhe country by helicopter because they couldn't get out.

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  13. On Thanksgiving my wife and I with our 1 year old daughter picked up my sister , her husband , and their 1 year old daughter and drove from Erie to our Mom and Dad's place in Mc Kean and didn't get back home on 22nd and Peach till Saturday . At about 6 PM on Thanksgiving Day we started to get ready to return home when my Dad told me to look outside . When I saw how much snow had fallen and drifted I changed my mind . So there we were nine of us snowed in their 2 bedroom home . Some of us slept on a sofa bed in the basement . Their house is on a dirt road which didn't get plowed till Sat. So we had walk 4 1/2 miles to Mc Kean to get groceries . My brother in law shoveled a path in waist deep snow to the road . Later on my Uncle plowed out our driveway with his tractor so we could get out as soon as our roads were plowed .

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  14. Michael SaccamozzoneMarch 9, 2014 at 11:15 PM

    The 1956 St. Gregory's football team was coming home from their Thanksgiving day football game in Hollidaysburg, Pa south of Altoona and the closer we got to Erie the deeper the snow was getting. The school bus got as far as the outskirts of Waterford and we were bog down and could not go any further We all spent the night in the bus. The people who lived there brought us hot coffee and cookies thank you. Some of the girls went to one of the houses and called their parents to let them know we were safe. What we didn't know was that it was announced on the Dave Garroway Today show that we all were safe. When we arrived in Erie (Friday) we were greeted by the local newspaper people and they took our picture as we got off the bus. I think I still have that picture some where. If I recall right we were rescued by a greyhound bus that tooks us back to Erie. That was a lasting experience!!!

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  15. Greetings to you all from Overland Park, Kansas, (just across the state line from Kansas City, MO.) This is just a post to share something of peculiar interest. I have a set of the 1970 issue of Collier's Encyclopedia. This morning I was thumbing through a volume and read an article on snow. The article mentions the 1956 storm in Erie. Just for fun, I did a web search on it and was pointed to here. I went to vpike.com and typed in the 2013 Station road address and a nice "now" photo appeared to contrast to the "then" photo pictured above. Warmest Regards, Tom in Overland Park, KS.

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  16. No wonder I remember a lot of snow growing up! I was 8 years old and use to go to the Hill's market everyday!!!

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