Chicago Blizzard, January 26, 1967

Chicago’s historic snowstorm of 1967
More than 20,000 cars were abandoned in 23 inches of snow

This post is for my husband who always admonishes me, “That’s a blog, Linda!” He launches ideas at me because I tell him I don’t have anything to blog about. Today after watching the five o’clock news, he was hyped and ready to talk about the famous snowstorm of 1967 that fell for 29 hours and dropped 23 inches of snow across the city of Chicago.

My husband, Carter, had just graduated from school in the last of the semi-annual ‘January’ graduations. Home from school, he went out to shovel the walkway and drive. He remembers that the main streets were crowded with delivery trucks, automobiles, and buses. People couldn’t pass and they were asking the kids to help shovel them out. A busy poultry store on the strip near his house delivered to grocery stores, and their delivery trucks were unable to pass. The drivers encouraged residents to make use of what was in the trucks they were about to abandon. Carter remembers other abandoned trucks, especially the Hostess cupcake truck.

I wasn’t fortunate enough to be home and my school was at least four, five blocks from my house. I walked home, huddled up with other girls, through a wide open field that lay between my house and the school. In places, the snowdrifts were up to my thighs, and the wind whipped up my skirt and between my legs. In those days, the fashion was mini skirts, coats, and vinyl go-go boats. On a regular winter day we girls would’ve been cold, but on this day, we were in serious trouble. Brrrr! Boys were armed with snowballs and they didn’t understand how vulnerable we were. I remember being pelted and going down at least twice.

Buses weren’t running, cars were left where people abandoned them, and people who wanted to get home were obstructed by cars that couldn’t move. More than 20,000 cars were stalled and abandoned overnight. This was the beginning of the infamous “Chicago Dibs”. The meaning of dibs is that after residents have dug out their parking places, they position chairs, tables, cones, or any piece of furniture they can carry in parking places in front of their homes and dare freeloaders to try to take advantage of their hard work.

I don’t remember if my parents were late getting home, but my husband says his mom didn’t get home for a couple of days. Her sister lived closer to her city job and she stayed with her. School was canceled for several days and the city was doubly impacted by another snowfall that dropped an additional ten inches that following week.

We Chicagoans never get tired of asking people where they were during the 1967 snowstorm.

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Educator, Author, Blogger, and supporter of Independent Writers. One mystery novel, The Neon Houses, Find me on Twitter @boom_lyn.

6 thoughts on “Chicago Blizzard, January 26, 1967

  1. Hi Linda. I signed up for your blog and read this awesome story of your horrible winter. 1967 was also the summer of the so-called race riots in Detroit. My mother woke up to a backyard full of black crows. She saw it as an omen. And then the riots came. They hit Livernois street called the Avenue of Fashion, where rioters were breaking out windows and causing all kinds of mayhem. I remember radio personality DJ Martha Jean the Queen trying to calm everyone down throughout the day. I was outraged seeing trucks full of soldiers driving down our street, on the sidewalks in their jeeps. Can you imagine my shock at seeing them. They had guns in their hands looking like schoolboys wondering why they were there. It was the most shocking thing I had ever seen. And it wasn’t really a race riot. It was freeloaders taking advantage of a bad situation. There were white and blacks stealing from stores. The Avenue of Fashion would never be the same.

    1. Wow, Shirley! That sounds scary. Did the Avenue of Fasjion recover? We had streets in Chicago that were burned and destroyed after Dr. King’s assassination! They never came back. I’m glad my post stirred up a memory. Thanks for commenting!🤗

      1. It never fully recovered even though a lot of wealthy people live in the area. John Salley NBA basketball player took up residence in the area called Palmer Park and Palmer Woods when he played for the Detroit Piston’s championship games, always up against Michael Jordan.

  2. I also walked across a wide open field. It was Hamilton Park in Englewood. Just curious if that is the open field you are referring to?
    I was a seven year old at the time and it took me hours to get home. That was back when children could usually walk home alone safely from school.
    My children are skeptical about my version of the story. It’s comforting to hear another person describe that day. It could easily be a full length movie.
    Thank you for sharing.

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