Friday, March 5, 2010

Snow Fighting in the Big Bend

From "History of The Big Bend Country."


Early in January 1890, Lincoln county, in common with all of eastern Washington, was visited by perhaps the worst snow storm in its history. For more than a week the settlers of the county were without communication with the outside world. Railroads were blockaded and many passengers on the various trains were snowbound in different towns.

The drifting snow blockaded the railroads as effectually as though a deluge had obliterated the tracks and it was only by persistent labor that the wheels were again set in motion. The wind began blowing January 1st, and whirled the light snow across the country. Every cut, no matter how deep, was piled level full, placing an impregnable face to the locomotive. Trains on the Central Washington and Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern roads arrived in Davenport from Spokane Falls Wednesday night, January 1, and from that time until the 6th no train was able to make its way through. January 3d the powerful snow plow of the Central Washington left Davenport, urged on by three engines, and a passenger train followed in its wake. At Reardan the monster plow plunged into a cut and there stuck fast. Two other engines were almost pulled to pieces and considerably damaged in an endeavor to extricate, or force on the plow. This condition of affairs continued until Sunday, the 5th, when a rotary snow plow began work out of Cheney. This monster cork-screw worked a clearing until it reached a point a few miles east of Reardan, when it, too, was disabled and taken back for repairs. Returning on Monday it had a track open and traffic was resumed east of Davenport. The western end of the route was then attacked and opened in the course of a few days. The rival road, Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern was not so successful in opening its track, having no snow-plow, and spring had opened before it was in running order. The town of Wilbur was cut off from all outside communication for 31 days.

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