Photo from Rebecca Nevin-Gales/ the Basket Historical Society
This photo shows an unusual means of conveyance when streets were not routinely plowed of snow.  The scene of the half track truck with skis is from downtown Livingston Manor (date uncertain, possibly c. 1920.)  Those pictured are Ernest F. Treyz, G.H. Treyz, E.F. Davidson and Paul Cousins. 

Before there were plows

A combination of February snowstorms and winding rural roads make us all thankful for snow plows during this season. However, the technology used today to deal with the harsh weather came along gradually. Generations before us had very different experiences in the winter.

In March 1888, an infamous blizzard—often referred to as the “Great White Hurricane”—hit the Northeast. Drifts reached up to 50 feet high, and the storm caused 200 deaths in New York City. Horse-drawn plows proved to be no match for such storms, and the blizzard prompted cities to create more organized plans for snow removal.

With the invention of the automobile in the early 20th century, it became more critical that roads were clear throughout the entire year. In the 1920s, the first snowloader was used in Chicago, a device that scooped snow onto a conveyor belt, which deposited the snow into a dump truck. The snowloader paved the way for modern-day snow plows, making large-scale snow removal far more efficient.

In this season of winter storms, it’s a relief to have snow plows to keep our roads clear and our drivers safe.

The Basket Historical Society preserves and presents the history of the Upper Delaware area. If you are interested in becoming a member or finding out more contact us at


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