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Clean Machine
Jan. 10, 2018 #31-9 a2z
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Blizzard hits city hard, impedes traffic

Editor's note: The year was 1917. Our Throwback Thursday takes a look back at our most popular stories from this month in history, from the quirky to the heartbreaking.

It might feel too cold to leave the house, but the winter of 1918 was a different beast altogether. With temperatures reaching -20 degrees in parts of Kankakee County, some cities in the tri-state area saw as many as 20 inches of snow fall in a single day.

This story was published unabridged Jan. 7, 1918, under the headline "Blizzard Hits City Hard, Impedes Traffic." The following week, the city still would be shut down and running low on supplies such as milk and meat. Workers clearing the streets were sent home for fear of frostbite, and a man in Gilman died after collapsing in the snow.

Business in Kankakee was at a standstill today as a result of one of the worst blizzards and snow storms in several years.

Local street car service was at a standstill until about noon today. The Bradley-Bourbonnais line, however, managed to get passengers to and from Bradley and Bourbonnais. Taxicab lines had difficulty in making their way through the snow and private automobiles were abandoned in many cases with the exception of the occasional flivver, which forced its way through the drifts and deep snow. Bobsleds, although a scarcity of late years, were brought out in some instances and ploughed through the snow at a snail's pace.

Commenced Sunday morning

The storm, which is reported as being general throughout the central states, started early Sunday morning and white flakes, together with sleet and rain, came down in such quantities as to be blinding to the pedestrian. The storm continued throughout the afternoon and night until about 12 inches of snow had fallen, which is considered by many to be the heaviest fall of snow in this section in many years.

Wire service hampered

Not only were the railroads hampered by poor wire and telegraphic service, due to the sleet, which accompanied the snow Sunday, but also the telegraph and telephone companies report many wires down. The Central Union announced service through to Chicago early this morning by way of Joliet.

Train services abandoned

Between Kankakee and Chicago, apparently was hit the hardest by the blizzard and many trains were abandoned entirely. The Chicago terminal, along the lake, seemed to suffer the most and thousands of workers were employed throughout the night and today, shoveling the trains out of mountains of snow in which they were buried.

Train No. 3, due in Kankakee from Chicago at 8:07 o'clock Sunday night, was the first train to arrive in Kankakee today, getting in here at about 4 o'clock this morning. On this train, Chicago papers were brought to this city. The fast mail and other southbound trains were abandoned.

Street car traffic

The city street railway company was forced to abandon service early Sunday afternoon and although snow plows were brought into use early in the evening, the high winds, whipped into a gale, caused the snow to drift quickly and soon filled the ploughed tracks until traffic was abandoned completely and was not opened until noon today.

Churches and theatres suffered Sunday evening from the storm and scant audiences were the result.

Snow plows were brought into action by Superintendent of Streets Krueger early Sunday evening and opened up the sidewalks for the time being, but like the street car tracks, the wind soon drifted the snow into the paths and necessitated their being re-plowed this morning. Snow plows were kept going several hours, both by the municipal authorities and the street car companies.

Business at standstill

A small army of workmen were busy in the business sections of the city throughout the morning, shoveling snow from the doorways and from in front of business houses, pilling the snow in the streets, but with all their efforts, citizens in general remained indoors throughout today.

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