R'ville in the Past Lane

Recalling the blizzard of 1914 that buried Windsor

Courtesy of Cathy Zahn/Special to the Sun Photo of a postcard in the Robbins House archives showing the locomotive that was stalled in high snowdrifts during the blizzard of March 1914 near Windsor.

Courtesy of Cathy Zahn/Special to the Sun
Photo of a postcard in the Robbins House archives showing the locomotive that was stalled in high snowdrifts during the blizzard of March 1914 near Windsor.

March 1, 1914 is just a date in time, but for those who lived in Robbinsville, it was the date of the big blizzard of 1914. And what a blizzard it was!

Country roads remained impassable weeks after the snowstorm, and in some communities, saws had to be used to make cuts in the now-frozen snow so that wagons and cars could pass. The Trenton Evening Times ran a photo on March 29, 1914 showing a Cole automobile traveling “through a cut near Robbinsville” where the snow was as high as the roof of the car. According to the caption, the car driven by William Cubberly was able to make “remarkable progress” despite the high snow.

Newspapers that month gave detailed reports of towns such as Princeton and New Hope, Pennsylvania shoveling out from the blizzard and the huge snow banks left along the streets. On March 13, the Trenton Evening Times reported on the wedding of Robbinsville farmer William White and Jennie Walker, who climbed into a touring car and were seen “disappearing through the snow banks to Trenton.”

People were trapped on snowbound trains throughout New Jersey during the March 1, 1914 blizzard. One dispatch had women and children stuck on the trolley between Burlington and Roebling. The Trenton Evening Times reported how delighted the people in Hamilton were when trolley service resumed days after the storm even though there was still no electric or telephone service.

The biggest local snow emergency occurred in the Windsor section of the township where some 70 stranded train passengers walked four hours in the blizzard to the Windsor Road House.  The passengers had been on a train that had departed Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon, March 1, 1914. During the blizzard, somewhere between Windsor and Hightstown, the train stalled, drifts started to cover the locomotive and the engine’s fires went out. The passengers tried to dig the train out, but soon gave up and walked the two miles to Windsor. The house could only accommodate 10; so most of the passengers slept the night on the floor.

 

About Cathy Zahn

Columnist Cathy Zahn is a genealogy expert and third-grade teacher at Sharon Elementary School. She can be contacted at caseywilkz@aol.com. | View all posts by Cathy Zahn


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