I hope you’ve been coping with the wild roller coaster ride of temperatures we’ve experienced the last few weeks, from the teeth chattering cold to days we could break out the barbecue grills. Worcester residents had an adventure in coping with the winter weather 100 years ago, while a few others from the village had it a bit easier.
It had been a hearty winter so far, as The Worcester Times reported on Jan. 21, 1914, “Worcester people will have plenty of nice ice next summer. The local iceman, Harry Shafer, has his house filled with the genuine article, about fifteen inches thick.” The local ice harvest had been a success, no doubt.
From the same issue came a not so good experience with ice as, “The cold weather last week caused considerable damage at the Wieting,” the theater and library which had opened in 1910. “Water pipes and fittings popped open and Jack Frost was so strenuous that two sections in the large boiler which heats the building were broken. New sections were promptly ordered, but until they arrive the opera house cannot be used.”
So with one less thing to do in the village for awhile, staying at home was an option. For a few days in February, that was about all many would probably want to do.
The Times reported on Feb. 18, “The heaviest snowfall that Worcester has experienced in recent years is in town. The storm started briskly last Friday night and continued until Sunday morning, when the ground was covered to a depth of about 26 inches. The railroad traffic was badly tied up and but little freight moved over this division until yesterday. All the passenger trains that were able to get through had two big locomotives. Snowplows were sent over the road and did their best to clear the tracks, but the cuts in the vicinity of Altamont and Slingerlands would drift full about as fast as the men could clear them.” Rural mail carriers weren’t able to get through for several days.