By Mark Weyermuller -
Do you remember where you were 50 years ago today? That's me and my mom on January 26, 1967 standing on Cedar and Rush Streets in Chicago. I'm not sure why a delivery truck full of scotch got stuck right there. It's probably the day after as Chicago received its largest recorded snowfall of 23 inches in just one day. Just two days before Chicago has record temperatures in the high 50's so this was completely unexpected.
The other photo is me standing on Goethe and Astor. Interestingly in the background are Maxims in the historic Astor Hotel and behind that is the Pump Room in the Ambassador East Hotel. Those were sites years later for many political fundraisers for national candidates, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Mitt Romney.
Another historic snowstorm with political implications occurred years later on January 13-14, 1979. It was predicted to be 2-4 inches but ending up being 29 inches. Mayor Michael Bilandic was highly criticized for the slow removal, especially at O'Hare Airport which was closed for five days. His primary opponent, Jane Byrne, used this as a major campaign issue and propelled her into becoming the first woman mayor of Chicago.
Another memorable blizzard shut down Lake Shore Drive for several days leaving hundred of cars between Oak and Fullerton Avenues. More than 20 inches of snow fell in some parts of the Chicago area, starting February 1, 2011. Power outages, school and business closings, motorists stranded on roadways, and public transit disruptions complicated life in the city and suburbs.
Nowadays with any threat of snow, the mayor orders plows and salt spreaders hours before, partly as a sign of readiness. Who knows what this costs, but Chicagoans don't like being stuck in the snow.
Chicago is known for terrible winters yet when they are over, I believe the residents here look back nostalgically on them. They even brag about surviving those days. When will be the next historic winter blizzard?
Mark Weyermuller is a small business person, real estate professional, and conservative activist in Chicago. He is a citizen journalist and regular contributor to Illinois Review. Mark can be heard weekly on the radio in a "man on the street segment" at 10:31pm as a regular guest on the Stephanie Trussell Show heard Sunday nights 9pm-midnight on WLS 890-AM.