Wednesday, November 17, 2010


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Des Moines Register Thursday Jan 10 1957 page 3

snow had drifted halfway up a parking meter on sidewalk along Eighth street in downtown Des Moines Wednesday night. Snow was blow by wind which reached 25 miles an hour.
Visibility was only about a quarter-block when this picture was taken at 3p.m. Wednesday of cars, all with their lights on, coming across University avenue bridge. Snow measured 6 inches by 5p.m.
A policeman tried to untangle traffic jam at Eighth street and Grand avenue about 5:30p.m. Wednesday. With six inches of snow on the streets, rush hour traffic became stalled in a large area. Scene looks east on Grand. Staff photo by Bob Long.

The heaviest snow in seven years fell on Des Moines Wednesday. THe unexpected snowfall ranged up to 8 inches in depth in Des Moines and other points of central and southwest Iowa, 5 inches in the south and east, and 1 to 2 inches in the north.
At least two Iowa highway deaths were attributed to the storm.
Drifts Pile Up
Zero cold and a biting wind that piled up drifts added to the hazards of the storm.
In Des Moines, the snow began falling at noon and 6 inches lay on the ground by sundown.
The city public works department sent out all available equipment to clear streets and try to keep traffic moving.
City Engineer John Tippee said 12 sanders went to work as soon as the storm showed signs of developing into near-blizzard conditions.
"They weren't able to do much good," Tippee said. "As fast as they spread the sand, new snow covered it."
Too Cold For Salt
Salt spreaders in the downtown area didn't work very well, either, Tippee said. The salt doesn't melt snow very well unless it's about 20 degrees or more," he said. "It was just too cold to be much use."
Cleared by 9 p.m.
Traffic began to pile up in the loop streets shortly after 5 p.m. Four hours later it was finally moving at a near normal pace.
However, at midnight one motorist counted 66 cars stalled and abandoned along Fleur drive between the Raccoon river bridge and Park ave.
Traffic on Fleur was moving, but subject to occasional temporary blockage.
Ingersoll A Trap
Ingersoll avenue was a trap for thousands of motorists. Between Seventeenth and Forty-second street, Ingersoll runs up a valley. Hills to either side prevented motorists from escaping the jammed avenue. Traffic finally got moving about 10 p.m.
S.W. Ninth street also was jammed until about 10 p.m.
Some drivers left parking lots in the loop about 5 p.m. for the usual 20-minute drive home, and reached their homes about three hours later.
Neverless, the crews worked all afternoon and into the night.
At midnight, snow plows were sent into action in an effort to have the main traffic arteries and the business district clear in time for the morning traffic rush.
Police tow trucks were hauling off cars abandoned by their owners as the plows approached.
Twenty-four plows were working through the night-nine were bladers, nine garbage trucks equipped with blades, and six were sand trucks with blades.
SNow removal equipment probably will b used later today to clear the loop.

Des Moines Iowa Thursday Morning January 10 1957
Worst Jam in D.M. History Stalls 20,000 CArs
Police switchboards received calls at the rate of 700 an hour, many of them from wives wondering if their husbands had been involved in an auto accident.
Only a handful of collisions resulted from the slippery streets, and none resulted in injury.
Icy Hills
Icy Hills on Ingersoll, Sixth, and Second avenues trapped many of the first motorists out of the loop. As their car wheels spun helplessly against the ice, hundreds of other cars stacked up behind them.
At one time, Grand avenue was a solid mass of cars from the statehouse west to Eighteenth street. Walnut and Locust streets were almost as bad.
Luckless drivers on side streets in the loop were unable to get into the traffic streams on the main east-west streets.
Police Helpless
Harried police were almost helpless in the early hours in the face of the huge jam. Later they managed to untangle the traffic by detouring cars off streets where the jam was the worst.
At one time, officers made a one-way street for southbound traffic on Second avenue between Grand avenue and Walnut street. The street is normally a two-way artery.
At one place on S.W. Night street, police reported that tow trucks from three service stations were pushing stalled motorists over an icy spot and charging nothing for their work.
Chief's Car Caught In Traffic Jam
Chief of Police Howard Eide was trapped in the traffic at E. Fifth and Locust streets. The battery of his police car went dead and a tow truck rescued him.
The weather failed to discourage Municipal Judge Ray Harrison from holding his usual Wednesday night "honor class" for problem drinkers. About 30 persons showed up in the Municipal Court Building, including two who drove from Marengo and one who came from Ames.
Eight Roosevelt High School boys stationed themselves on Ingersoll avenue near Thirty-ninth street, pushing cars that had trouble making it up the icy incline.
A woman reported she boarded a bus at Sixth and Grand at 5:25p.m. and reached her home at Thirty-first street and Ingersoll avenue at 8:45p.m., having walked the last six blocks.
Push 50 Cars
Three boys, 15 and 16, pushed at least 50 stalled cars near Sixth avenue and Keosauqua. The boys refused to accept any money for their efforts.
The Iowa Motor Club, 2217 Grave ave, reported receiving more than 500 calls for assistance between 6 and 10p.m. last night. THe club offices remained open throughout the night.
"It took us more than a half hour to move just a half block," said Mel Boyd of 1317 Wade st. He and his wife and the family dog had been stalled at Eighth street and Grand for most of that 30 minutes.
"We're not sore," Boyd added. "We just relaxed and laughed about the whole thing."
Boyd said they got home just before 7p.m. after a trip of almost 2 hours.
18 minutes a block
Ralph Torgersen of 4002 Wakonda Parkway said it took him 18 minutes to travel from Seventh to Eighth street on Grand avenue.
"It really isn't this bad," he said. "It's just that people don't know how to drive. Someone up front has the plug in the bottle."
Al Guggedahl of 4049 Kingman boulevard said it took him 35 minutes to travel 4 blocks.
"Never saw anything like this," Guggedahl said.
Patient Delayed
Patrolman JAck Beardsley, driving a squad car, was able to move only 2 blocks along Eighth street, from Walnut to Grand, in "about thirty minutes." He was taking a woman patient to Broadlawns General Hospital in the police car.
Louie Rand of 4301 Fleur drive said he had left his home at 4p.m. to drive to the loop.
"It took me an hour and 50 minutes to get this far," Rand said at Eighth and Grand. "It took an hour to come down Fleur drive. It was terrible there too."
"I'm 50 years old and lived here all my life. This is the worst traffic jam I've ever seen in Des Moines."
Cabbie's Lament
"I've been 55 minutes getting from the Kirkwood Hotel," said M.E. Staton, a Yellow Cab driver, immobile at Eighth and Grand at 5:45p.m.
"I've been driving a cab for 10 years and I've never seen anything like this."
Gesturing toward his passanger in the rear seat, Stanton said, "I've had this man since 3:30p.m. coming from the airport trying to get to the (Greyhound) bus depot."
The passanger, C.B. Jensen of Cedar Falls, had been out to the Rose Bowl in California. "I'm trying to get to Cedar Falls," he said.
All The Way
Virgil A. Pinegar said it took him two hours and 25 minutes to make the 2 1/2 miles from Solar Aircraft Co., 1901 Bell ave. to his home at 1312 Des Moines St. He said traffic snarls and stalled cars caused him trouble every foot of the way.
"I sat through 20 to 25 changes of traffic lights without moving," Pinegar said.
C.P. Brown, 5909 N. Waterbury road, left the Des Moines Club at 4:30 p.m. to go home. At 7 p.m. he was drinking coffee in a stand a half-block distant from the club. His battery had failed on Grand avenue-with the car in the middle of the street.
Brown finally went to Hotel Savery, where he met friends who were waiting to be picked up. They took Brown home.
Hotels Busy
There was a snowslide of business at hotels here.
Persons driving through made up the bulk of stranded transients. A few weren't able to leave by air, and a few less stalwart individuals elected to stay at a hotel rather than try to get to their Des Moines home.

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