Remembering the Past: Elizabeth Winter Memories

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By Diane Norek Harrison

ELIZABETH-Here are some winter memories from William Frolich. He’s describing the aftermath of a snowstorm that dumped over two feet of snow on Elizabeth near the end of 1947.

“Some of the buildings in the area suffered damage from the weight of the ice and snow. Here and there could be seen collapsed roofs, and flattened garages that had not been able to withstand the load. News articles suggested that it might be a good idea for an owner to clear the heavy weight off of any porch roof, and it was reported that one owner cleared both the snow and himself off the roof. Fortunately, he was not seriously injured.

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“In the middle of Elizabeth, a large snow-loader was put to work clearing all of the snow and ice from Broad Street. A rotating augur at its front chewed up the frozen mixture on the pavement and passed it onto a conveyor belt that carried it upward to where it fell onto a second conveyor that carried it sideways and dropped the snow into a waiting dump truck. When the truck was full, it was driven off, and another truck took its place. A fleet of trucks was kept busy, traveling between the snow loader and the Elizabeth River, where the snow was dumped. This snow removal operation continued at a slow walk pace along the curbs, clearing the street to the pavement.

“As time went by, things slowly returned to normal. There were still huge piles of snow in cleared parking lots, and the private curb-side spots were still guarded with garbage cans and other items that suggested, ‘Don’t even think of parking here; this spot is reserved!’ Auto repair shops did a good business replacing broken springs caused by the many ruts and potholes in some of the poorly-cleared streets. Most of the sidewalks had been cleared, but shoveled the snow was piled high beside them.

“Then one day, after the weather had warmed slightly, someone from the State Department of Highways sent a gang of heavy snow plow-equipped trucks, three trucks wide, along Westfield Avenue, Route 28 in Elizabeth. These trucks cleared the roadway, but threw huge chucks of frozen ice and snow unto the adjacent sidewalks, an unwelcome sight for every resident returning home after already a day at work. Their comments were many, and loud, but ‘unprintable.’”

If you would like to see my column continue and you have memories or material about any of the five towns listed below, please send it for my 2010 columns. I’m hoping to hear from new contributors.

If you have your own memories or material from Clark, Elizabeth, Linden, Rahway or Roselle, you can email dianenorekharrison@juno.com or send copies of your material to me c/o CMD Media, 1139 East Jersey Street, Suite 503, Elizabeth NJ, 07201.


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