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Do you have your own story of the winter of 1948-1949? Send it to us! Send your memories to email@example.com
Winter’s fun (right?). But sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.
Salt Lake City Main Street, 1949
In 1948-49, the most severe winter on record beat up the West. Even Las Vegas got 17 inches of snow. Though other winters saw more snow, wind, extreme cold, and little thawing made the snow pile up. And up. And up. Think about that next time you want to complain about winter!
Three days of ferocious snow
Early in January 1949, a vicious three-day blizzard broke windows, damaged roofs, and blew snowdrifts six to ten feet high on roads and streets. After that the temperature fell to below zero. The drifts crusted so hard that snowplow crews struggled to remove them. Sardine Canyon, between Brigham City and Cache Valley, stayed closed for a month. People got stranded, even in Salt Lake City–18 families in Salt Lake’s Canyon Rim area had to be dug out.
Livestock starved and froze. The state launched “Operation Haylift,” dropping bales of hay from military cargo planes. The Sons of Utah Pioneers, perhaps thinking of the next year’s hunt, lobbied for the state to also feed deer, pheasants, ducks, and quail. Meanwhile, skaters took advantage of strong ice at the Liberty Park pond, and children played on the huge snowdrifts.
Snow Plows in Utah, 1948
On January 15, another blizzard struck, bringing more minus temperatures. Some people had a novel–and irrational–idea: The city should truck in salt water from the Great Salt Lake or water from hot springs to melt the snow on the streets.
And another, big-time!
Then on January 22 the mother of all blizzards roared in. Wind-whipped snow and slides closed roads all over the state. In Millard County, where the snow drifted as high as the telephone wires, a couple of men spent 36 hours stranded in a truck waiting for a snowplow to dig them out. Avalanches trapped skiers at Alta and Brighton–though a few decided to simply ski down Little Cottonwood Canyon to the valley.
A TRULY big chill
After the storm quit, the cold air hit: -25 degrees in Salt Lake City. Woodruff reached -45. Schools all over the Wasatch Front closed because gas supplies could not meet the demand. Coal companies could not deliver coal, and Utah Power and Light cut the power to its generators. The big freeze continued for several days, and then again on February 5, headlines read: “New Blizzard Throttles Utah.” And so it went, snowing all the way into April. The one thaw came in late February, and it brought its own miseries: flooding. An ice jam dammed a canal, flooding houses around 800 West and between 1300 and 1700 South.
Yep, it was a hard winter, but people rose to the occasion. They did what needed to be done. And many were heroic in their efforts to help others get through a bitter cold time.
From Mark Eubank
We asked meteorologist Mark Eubank if 1948-49 was the snowiest winter on record. It was not. Here is what he said:
First, let’s talk about WHEN we get the snow.
Winter is a specific period comprising three months or about 90 days. Meteorologically, winter includes the months of December, January, and February. Since it can also snow in the Fall and in the Spring we have a snowfall year, which typically runs from September through May. So when we say a certain season was extra snowy, we need to define the time period.
Most people tend to think of the “winter” season (December thru February) when they remember stormy years. I think that is true because much of the Spring snow melts quickly.
Winners of the “Most Snow” award:
Here is a list showing the top five “winters” and the top five “snowfall years.”
Snowiest Utah “Winters”
Snowiest Utah “Snowfall Years”
The top two snowfall years had heavy Winter snows PLUS a lot of snow in Fall and Spring.
The Winter of 1992-93 was exceptional. In fact, it ranks at number one, plus there was a lot of snow in the Fall.
Cold + snow is what we remember
The reason the Winter of 1948-49 is so noteworthy is because the snowfall was accompanied with exceptional cold! In fact, 1948-49 is the combined coldest-snowiest Winter ever measured in Utah. That combination kept the snow around for most of the Winter, and in addition the wind blew the snow into huge drifts.
Winters in Utah can be cold and dry, or cold and wet. Or they can be warm and dry or warm and wet. The warm and wet Winters are quickly forgotten, but the cold and wet Winters are the ones that leave lasting impressions.
While the Winter of 1992-93 was the snowiest, it didn’t even rank in the top 15 for cold.
Winners of the “coldest” weather award:
Coldest Utah Winters
Post by Kristen Rogers-Iversen, Associate Director, State History
PLEASE NOTE: If you find an error in the database, please contact the cemetery, so that the official record can be corrected. To ensure that our database matches the official record, we do not correct records in the database unless the update comes from a cemetery.
The Utah State Cemeteries and Burials database is used by cemeteries, researchers, genealogists, and individuals to locate the sites of burials and cemeteries throughout the state. We work with all cemeteries throughout the state to make this information available to the public in one comprehensive location.
The Utah Cemeteries and Burials Database is recognized by Family Tree Magazine as one of the Best State Web Sites for family history research.
About the data collection
This state database contains names and other information about people who are buried in Utah cemeteries. Data is collected in three ways:
1. We give small grants to cemeteries to help them digitize sexton records. (Cemeteries do not computerize the information on grave markers). The cemeteries then submit the data to the database.
2. We encourage cemeteries that already have their records in digital format to donate their data to the database.
3. Private groups and individuals sometimes offer to survey a cemetery. If you would like to do this, please see our tips for cemetery volunteers. You must have permission from the cemetery and contact us about format requirements and the submission process. We will not accept data unless they are in the proper format.
4. Access to the database is free to the public through our online search. We do not offer back-end access or data files. If you would like a cemetery’s complete database record, please contact the cemetery directly.
5. Data is provided by cemeteries. If you find an error in the database, please contact the cemetery to verify the information and ask them to send us an update. We are unable to correct individual records without the cemetery’s updated file.
Utah Division of State History Preservation Pro Update October 22nd, 2013
This memo is intended to update Preservation Pro users and our agency partners on what the archaeology records staff has been working on and completed during the recent months.
Archaeological report spatial data uploaded August-September 2013: 310
Archaeological site spatial data uploaded August-September: 464
Site forms scanned in August-September: 1800 (focused on Uintah County).
Site Form Access Bug
We’ve received numerous reports concerning issues accessing site forms scans- thank you for the feedback. Our IT staff is reportedly exploring the issue and searching for a solution. In the interim, if you are needing one or two site forms from counties already scanned (BE, BO, CA, DA, DC, DV, GR, IN, UN) please contact archrecords and we’ll see what we can do. We encourage anyone experiencing the issue to “report a bug” via the feedback tab to escalate the issue.
Site form scanning update:
We are currently working on scanning Uintah County. This county was chosen due to the high traffic these records are receiving. We are over 50% complete with that county. Our Department recently purchased a high volume scanner to expedite the project. We currently have nine counties (BE, BO, CA, CB, DA, DC, DV, GR, and IN) scanned.
Additional Preservation Pro development update:
Last month we were finally able to get a ‘landownership’ identifier added to the system. We hope it’s been of use. If you have other functionality you’d like to see added please use the “report request feature” in the feedback tab.
Preservation Pro and the Proposed “New IMACS”
We are currently preparing for the potential rollout of new site recording standards and forms in Utah. Given the large changes to the form, and our software and financial constraints, we’ll be significantly modifying the data we retain in Preservation Pro. Our focus will be on providing digital site forms (pdf) and basic tabular data on every submitted site. In working with key agencies we feel this will add more value to the system. More information is coming- but if you have questions please feel free to contact us.
New Records Email Address:
For those of you who haven’t heard, we’ve recently launched a new email address for records needs: firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a group email address that we hope will provide quicker and better service for records needs. Please update your email address book.
Send us your shapefiles!
Thank you to all who have generously responded to our requests for spatial data. We continue to accept digital spatial data as an addition to your usual paper-based submission packet. A CD or other portable media attached to the report is best (addressed to us), but we can be flexible on other the delivery methods. We know such submissions were discouraged in the past, but change is here!
Bargain and Sale Deed (B&S Deed) Deed that conveys the land described therein, but without any warranties whatsoever.
Deed An instrument in writing that, when executed by the grantor and delivered to the grantee, conveys the described real estate from the one to the other. Generic “deeds” are not commonly used; “warranty deeds” are more common (see below).
Easement The right, privilege, or interest that one party has in the land of another; an encumbrance or limitation on the property. It is extinguished by release, abandonment, or when the necessity no longer exists (e.g., right-of-way for road, driveway, etc.).
Grantee A person to whom real estate is conveyed; a buyer.
Grantor A person who conveys real estate by deed; a seller.
Instrument A written legal document created to effect the rights and liabilities of the parties (e.g., deed, mortgage, lien, etc.).
Lien A special encumbrance; a charge against property whereby property is made security for the payment of a debt or charges such as a judgment, a mortgage or taxes; a lien is an asset and therefore may be assigned. Often used by suppliers and contractors who have not been paid.
Lis Pendens Suit pending. Usually recorded in order to give notice of pending litigation to potential buyers or lenders.
Mayor’s Deed (MD) Deed given under the original dispersal of the property in a town by the mayor.
Mortgage (Mtge) A written instrument recognized by law by which real property is pledged to secure a debt or obligation; a lien on real property.
Quitclaim Deed (QCD) Deed given when the grantee already has, or claims, complete or partial title to the premises and grantor has a possible interest that otherwise would constitute a cloud upon the title. (Not used for conveyance purposes.)
Rod A measure of length containing 16-1/2 feet. A term often used in older legal descriptions of property. Another archaic term is “chain,” which is 100 feet.
Sheriff’s Deed A deed given when property is sold by court order to satisfy a judgment.
Tax Deed A deed given by the tax collector to the county and which terminates all rights of redemption.
Tax Sale Sale of property after a period of nonpayment of taxes.
Tax Title The title by which one holds lands purchased at a tax sale.
Trust Deed (TD) A conveyance of real estate to a third person to be held for the benefit of a beneficiary, which is ordinarily repayment of a loan made to the trustor; similar to a mortgage.
Warranty Deed (WD) The most common type of deed used to transfer property. It contains a covenant that the grantor will protect the grantee against any claimant; contains covenants of title against encumbrances and of quiet enjoyment.
Utah’s history is more diverse than you think! Check out the Summer 2014 issue of the Utah Historical Quarterly to learn more about where Utah has been, and how we’ve come to where we are today. Join the Historical Society for your own copy.
IN THIS ISSUE
This Was the Place: The Making and Unmaking of Utah By Jared Farmer
William Hope Harvey and the Ogden Mardi Gras By Val Holley
A Personal Tribute to the “Real” Historic Twenty-Fifth Street By Fred Seppi
Conquering the Black Ridge: The Communitarian Road in Pioneer Utah By Todd Compton
The Palmer and Driggs Collections at Southern Utah University By Janet Seegmiller
The history of Utah—and the very human desire to understand the past—has kept the staff of Utah Historical Quarterly busy for more than eighty-five years. As the new director of the Division of State History and as the editor of the Quarterly, I see Utah’s history as Tip O’Neill saw politics: it’s all local. In other words, the success of the Quarterly is tied to our ability to understand, listen, and respond to you, the reader, and to the citizens of Utah.
With this in mind, during the last year we have reached out to Utah’s leaders, to our readers, and to the broad history-loving community in Utah, and we have decided to make some changes to UHQ. In addition to long research articles—which will always constitute the bulk of the Quarterly—we will periodically publish essays, primary documents, updates from archives around the state, and a historic image spotlight, among other features. This issue, for instance, includes information about two valuable collections at Southern Utah University and a charming photograph from a party held in the midst of the Great Depression. Most noticeably, the Quarterly has a fresh, new graphic design. Throughout its long history, UHQ has gone through several redesigns, the last in 2000; a gallery of representative covers is available online (see below).
The Summer 2014 issue of UHQ also marks our first effort to present a mixture of web and print material, with an extended version of Jared Farmer’s essay, “The Making and Unmaking of Utah.” The online version of this piece contains nearly one hundred images that support Farmer’s text and tell stories in a way that print cannot match. Look for web extras at the end of this and other articles. This is a humble beginning to what we hope will become a robust online resource for those who love accessible, thoughtful history.
We have reorganized the Quarterly’s office into two equal and complementary sections. Dr. Holly George will remain largely responsible for print content, and Dr. Jedediah S. Rogers—who joined UHQ’s staff as this issue went to press—will pursue digital content. Both sides of the Quarterly will be offered as a seamless reading experience.
Though much is changing with UHQ, much will stay the same. We remain especially committed to publishing peer-reviewed articles that explore the breadth and depth of Utah’s past. For instance, in addition to the pieces mentioned above, this issue features three articles that offer something of a variation on the theme of the “making of Utah.” In our second article, Val Holley tells the story of William Hope Harvey, a booster determined to draw attention to Ogden by mounting a lavish Mardi Gras celebration there in 1890. The third article carries the history of Ogden forward to the mid-twentieth century, with the reminiscences of Fred Seppi about his childhood experience of watching life on Twenty-Fifth Street. Finally, Todd Compton describes the struggles of nineteenth-century pioneers to build a road through the Black Ridge area of southern Utah.
Web extra: View UHQ’s past graphic designs at history.utah.gov/past-uhq-designs.
John L. Kessell Miera y Pacheco: A Renaissance Spaniard in Eighteenth-Century New Mexico Reviewed by Steven K. Madsen
Allan Kent Powell, ed. Nels Anderson’s World War I Diary Reviewed by Douglas D. Alder
Robert S. McPherson, Jim Dandy, and Sarah E. Burak Navajo Tradition, Mormon Life: The Autobiography and Teachings of Jim Dandy Reviewed by Farina King
Linda Scarangella McNenly Native Performers in Wild West Shows: From Buffalo Bill to Euro Disney Reviewed by Robert S. McPherson
Allen V. Parkham and Steven R. Evans Lewis and Clark among the Nez Perce: Strangers in the Land of the Nimiipuu Reviewed by John D. Barton
The Utah Historical Quarterly has been publishing the best Utah history scholarship since 1928. The journal is filled with articles, memoirs, primary sources, book reviews, and photos. Members of the Utah State Historical Society receive UHQ four times yearly. You may: