The Blizzard of '78 My photos Slideshow Blizzard links
Video
  One very memorable event that occurred on February 6, 1978, was a snowstorm that dumped 3 feet of snow on Boston in 36 hours. This storm, which spanned a series of extremely high tides, was subsequently named the "Blizzard of '78." It totally shut down Eastern New England, and Massachusetts went under a "State of Emergency" for 6 days which banned all private vehicles from driving on the roads. Just about everybody who lived through this has an interesting story, since many of us got stranded in one place or another (my boss didn't make it all the way to his suburban home from Boston and ended up spending the night in a convent). I took these photos during and after the storm and shared them years later.

On the Monday evening of February 6th when the storm started (I was 29-years-old and living in Boston), I was taking the subway from Cambridge to Boston to get home to my apartment in the Fenway. When I went down into the Central Square subway station the snow was really coming down, which was not unusual in February in Boston, but when I came out of the Kenmore Square subway station near home I was really surprised to see how much snow had fallen during the time I was underground. I trudged through the snow to my apartment on Queensberry Street, and when I went to bed I knew we were in for a major snowstorm. My apartment lost its heat and electricity so I spent the next several nights wearing long-johns in a down sleeping bag and (precariously) using my gas oven for heat.

Route 128, a beltway going around Boston, had become a giant parking lot full of cars stuck in the snow, many of them 4-wheel-drive vehicles blocked by other cars. It was 3 days before I could get to suburban Weymouth to see my girlfriend Patti (who's been my wife since '79), walking 5 miles from Quincy (the last stop on the Red Line in those days). I had bought a car just before the storm, and when I went to pick it up at the car lot after the blizzard I found the entire engine compartment packed with snow (and a very wet ignition!—I would have taken a photo of this but cellphone cameras didn't exist yet). One ironic twist of this storm is that it occurred just 2 weeks after another massive storm had dumped 21 inches of snow on the city, setting a (short-lived) 24-hour snowfall record.


Car antennas
The day after the storm ended was nice and sunny, and all the cars that had been parked on the streets when the storm hit were completely buried, with only their antennas sticking up through the snow. You could walk everywhere, including in the middle of the streets normally full of whizzing cars, and across the frozen Charles River (which I recklessly did). Most non-essential businesses in Boston were closed, and the entire week was like a holiday. The snow was being removed from the roads and it was stashed in parking lots, which ended up having these enormous piles of snow.

Boston has been my home since coming here for college in 1973, and we just recently bought and remodeled our third home in the Boston area, so I think we will always live here. I guess snowy winters will always be a part of my life, but hopefully none as bad as this (although we did have one real bad snowstorm in 2015 at our last house).


My 15 minutes of fame
In 2007 I was contacted by Alan Earls, who came across this webpage (some text changes have been made since then) and wanted to use my photos in a book he was doing about the storm. Greater Boston's Blizzard of 1978 was published and I am given credit under each of my photos in the book. Alan interviewed me for an article which then appeared in the Hingham Journal. Cool!

 



My photos . . .

  This storm was so severe that no private vehicles were allowed on the roads and I was able to roam freely around Boston and Cambridge with my camera.
Here are some of the photos I took. Click any image to start a slideshow of the photos at that point in the sequence.
 

    Photos taken during the blizzard
  1 2 3
4
5 6 7 8
 
This is Queensberry Street, including my apartment building (3,4).
Note the walkers towering over cars in 7.

    Photos taken the day after the blizzard
  9
10
11 12 13 14 15
16

17
  18 19
20
 
9 Peterborough Street looking West
10 A Back Bay sidewalk after shoveling
11 Queensberry Street after plowing (same view as 2)
12 Looking West on Boylston Street where it intersects with Park Drive
13 Looking East on Boylston Street towards Prudential and John Hancock buildings
14 Looking South on Mass. Ave. towards Symphony Hall (my school, Berklee College of Music, is on the left)
15 Crossing the Mass. Ave. bridge over the Charles River (from Boston towards MIT in Cambridge )
16 Looking West from Kenmore Square on Brookline Ave. as it crosses the Mass. Pike (Fenway Park is almost visible on left)
17 Mass. Ave. in Central Square, Cambridge, looking towards Boston
18 Charles River, which I actually walked across
19 Fenway
20 Charles River


Blizzard links

BlizzardOf78.org – nice description and great photos (including some of mine)
Blizzard of 78 - Hull MA - Nantasket Beach – very thorough site with many stories, photos, and links
The Northeast Blizzard of 1978 – includes newspaper articles, newspaper photos, & videos
Northeastern United States blizzard of 1978 – Wikipedia's description of the storm
"Blizzard of 78" on Google – lots of good links
I Survived the Blizzard of '78 – a Facebook page with many photos
Boston's Top 10 Biggest Snowstorms – as of January, 2015