The BIG Snow of 1950

Every time it snows, we hear stories of the BIG snow of 1950. It started the day after Thanksgiving a little over 48 years ago, do you personally remember it? From Thursday to Saturday thirty three inches of snow fell upon Ellwood City setting a record that still has never been matched. It may be hard to understand fully today but nearly all commercial activity was shut down, everything. Streets were blocked, barns were inaccessible, and some folks could not even get their front door open. Remarkably the town never lost electric service but telephone service was limited to emergency use only.

Some people still argue how, but R.J. “Denny” Schill jumped into action and contacted someone, somewhere, somehow and got the roads cleared. In November 1950, the Turnpike was in the process of being extended to Ohio. Mr. Schill pulled some strings and got a couple of giant earth movers to come to Ellwood City from the construction site in Koppel to clear the streets. To fully understand how big these machines are, compare the height of the people standing close by and the tires alone. The tires are taller than the doorways of the local shops. These monsters quickly got Ellwood City moving again, long before New Castle even had a plan.

Another great thing these pictures give us is a snapshot of some of the business in 1950 and a picture of the Dambaugh building (or McKlinsky Building) on the corner of Lawrence Avenue and Sixth Street that burnt down. The first picture shows the machine on Sixth Street between Lawrence Avenue and Crescent Avenue. If you look hard you are able to see Young’s Pontiac Dealership, City Drug Store, Zeigler Furniture, and the A&P Market in the background before it built the building last occupied by Shop N Save and Foodland.
The second picture is taken on Lawrence Avenue in front of Ellwood Electric and offers an even better view of the Dambaugh building. Notice the beautiful street lights and the billboards painted on the building beside the Municipal Building even back then. I believe you can still see the Oswald sign today.
If you would like to share your memories of the big snow or of one of the business in the pictures please email me at or leave a comment below.

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