Editorial: Elburn Herald’s coverage of 3 of the biggest snowstorms

By on February 3, 2011

As the storm begins to leave the area, those of us at the Elburn Herald are in similar situations to many of you—stuck at home, with little to no ability to leave. With press time approaching, the final portion of the process of putting this edition together are being done remotely, from our homes and with intermittent Internet connections.

Assistant Editor Ben Draper put together a recap of our coverage of previous storms, and a common theme of those events are how the community came together to help those in need.

We are certain that more of those stories occurred Tuesday night and Wednesday, as the storm raged through the area and roadways closed down. We intend to write about them as soon as full communication and travel is restored. Until then, read below and see how the Kaneland area has responded in the past.

“The big snow”—1967
From the Feb. 2, 1967 issue of the Elburn Herald
In January 1967, the largest single snowfall occurred in northern Illinois.

Locally, residents trudged through the snow to deliver milk to those with babies and insulin to those with diabetes.

A dozen cars were left buried on Route 30 when they were abandoned, as more snow was dumped on them by the passing snow plows.

Six truckers spent the night in the Elburn Community Center, with cots furnished by Don Henderson, while Mrs. Leslie Howard, Mrs. E. T. Samuelson and Mrs. Virg Stonecipher provided sleeping bags.

The local farmers united throughout the week to clear out snow.

“It was a grand snow, and its challenges were met in a grand manner—with verve and determination. We would be happy to see more such challenges in modern life,” according to the Elburn Herald.

“Record snow fall and high winds”—1979
From the Jan. 18, 1979 issue of the Elburn Herald
On Jan. 13, 1979, more than 20 inches of snow was dumped on the Kaneland area.

High winds made drifts reach rooftops, and locals were seen sledding off them.

The president declared Kane County, along with 21 other counties, as emergency areas.

Multiple buildings had roofs collapse, including the Country Kitchen and a bin at the Elburn Co-Op. Allen’s Hatchery lost an entire building.

The Elburn Herald also reported a lot of community support, much like the 1967 snowstorm.

Neighbors helped each other the best they could.

“Already proclaimed the worst winter ‘old timers’ can remember, the outlook is bleak with more snow promised for (the upcoming) weekend. This generation will perhaps be able to rival our grandparents stories if walking to school over frozen drifts as high as hedge rows as they in turn relate the blizzard of ’79 to their grandchildren,” according to the Elburn Herald.

“Storm of ’99 initiates winter”—1999
From the Jan. 7, 1999 issue of the Elburn Herald
On Jan. 1-3, 1999, 22 inches of snow enveloped the area. To make matters worse, temperatures plummeted in the days after the storm to -20°.

Residents of the Meadows apartments were trapped in their building when the contractor in charge of plowing their lot pushed the snow in front of the main entrance. Luckily, no emergencies were reported.

The drifting snow made it impossible for mail carriers to do their duties during the storm.

But days of warnings beforehand left most of the area prepared—snowmobilers and sledders were ready to take advantage of the copious amounts of snow.

Elburn’s Public Works department was heavily credited with handling the snow very well.

With more snow forecast the following week, Elburn Village President Jim Willey was quoted as saying: “Please keep the faith. Our common enemy is the snow, not each other … stay calm and work with us to clear all the snow from both our streets and driveways.”