In early America and even in the first half century of the establishment of the Republic the ability to move around in snow was fraught with obstacles. The best way was with sleighs, wagons wheels were removed and long strips of metal or more usually wood, were attached to the wagons to run along the ground. Deeper powdery snow was ideal for movement just like for a skier. This idea worked well in the countryside and even along most rural roads where there was little traffic. This kind of transport worked even if the snow was slushy, icy or even muddy. In cities, not so much, because of the traffic ripping us the still mainly unpaved streets. What was most hoped for then was that powdery snowfall. On November 1, 1819, 7” of snow fell across New York City. New York at the time was the largest city in the United State and the only US city with more than 100,000 in population topping out at 120,000. It had become the center of American life and business, so it was important to get around. The powdery snowfall was ideal – except for one thing – it came too early in the season. No part of the transportation system was ready for such an early season snowfall – powdery or not – and wagon and carriages were not able to make to switch from wheels to tracks and so transportation came to a halt for several days.
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices