Snowstorms of February 1969 – History Mystery, February 2016

Question – February 15, 2016

Mother Nature has surprised us this month with two snowstorms in close succession. So far, the snow total for Wellesley this February is 13.5 inches, a far cry from the 50.9 inches that fell in February 2015! While we all remember digging out last year and during the Blizzard of 1978, there is one more February that produced record amounts of snow for the Town of Wellesley.  In fact, there were so many snow days that February in Wellesley that April vacation was canceled for students! Do you recall the year that this record February snowfall happened?  Return on February 29th for the answer.

Answer – February 29, 2016

Three successive snowstorms battered the town of Wellesley during the month of February, 1969. Snow piled up during a span of three weeks, producing a total of 61 inches! Familiar headaches accompanied each snowfall such as loss of power, closed retail stores, lack of train service and closing of schools.

Students may have enjoyed the days off, but the cancelations proved too many. In addition to having off President’s Day, elementary students had an additional seven snow days and junior and senior high students amassed six snow days that February. Due to all the snow, the school committee voted to take away a day off on Good Friday and cancel April vacation for Wellesley students. Much to the dismay of the children and possibly their parents, school was in session from Tuesday, April 22nd to Saturday, April 27th. Not only did students lose their vacation, they had to go to school on a Saturday!

Mail service also faced disruptions from the snow, but especially in Wellesley. On Monday, February 24, 1969, Wellesley was set to be the first community in the Boston area to have all mail carriers cover their routes by truck. Prior to this change, mail carriers collected mail for their routes at a storage box and could walk or drive assigned routes. With the new technique, each carrier would drive a truck and keep mail for the route stored in the truck.

Officials from Boston were in Wellesley to inspect the new mail delivery method, but the storm proved too powerful. The trucks could not maneuver in the roads. Mail carriers were forced to deliver mail on foot for a few more days, but the new truck delivery system was in operation within the week.

Ellen Murphy, Volunteer Research Assistant

Townsman, Feb. 27, 1969, page 1.