City faced some quirky winters in 1909-1910
On Saturday night, Feb. 13, 1909, it began to rain and by early morning the wind shifted to a cold north-easterly — the combination of the cold wind and driving rain greeted the early morning risers with quite a spectacle on Sunday morning.
The Bellevue Gazette described the scene:
“When people looked outside they beheld a world not our own. Trees and shrubbery were transformed by fairy hands into a crystal coat of ice, which glittered and sparkled in the wintry air like a myriad of diamonds.
The scene was a gorgeous one. Telephone and telegraph wires were strung in every direction and looked like ropes of crystal. Bellevue, like the rest of northern Ohio, was in the clutches of the worst sleet storm in its history.
The poles bore their burden bravely, but as the wind picked up, the weight of the ice coated wires caused them to sway and snap. There followed a mighty crash when the poles carrying a broken and tangled mass of wires fell to the ground. About a dozen poles on Monroe St. went down. Of the 1,100 subscribers of the Bellevue Home Telephone Company over 900 were without service. All of Bellevue was without electricity for a week.
Men with lanterns patrolled the streets and most people stayed indoors because of the danger of the fallen wires.
The sights in the country and the residential districts, where there are trees and shrubbery is one no artist’s pen can depict. The master decorator, Jack Frost, with his icy hand has transformed the trees into huge clusters of gleaming crystals, and every bough and branch glitters and sparkles in the wintry sunlight like brilliant jewels. It is one of the most interesting phases of nature and the sight is sufficient to stir even the dullest imagination in a burst of admiration at the deft and skillful handiwork of nature.”
The following year on April 16, 1910, John Roush, a local weather prophet, predicted a severe snowstorm. Most people laughed at Roush as they mowed their lawns and some were getting their gardens ready for planting. On April 18, a howling blizzard, that raged for some 24 hours, struck Bellevue vindicating Roush. The remarkable feature of the storm was the fact that it came at a time when vegetation was in full bloom due to unseasonably warm weather in March.
The beautiful shade trees that were the pride of Bellevue were badly damaged and some ruined. The new fangled auto-delivery wagons plowed through the snow and slush with ease aided by chains put on the wheels. The mechanism of automobiles had been improved to such an extent they could go under most unfavorable road conditions. The blizzard was the worst since May 23, 1883, when nine inches of snow fell in the area. The fruit crop in the surrounding area was nearly ruined.
The Pickett Cherry Farm, west of town, salvaged some 500 bushels of cherries when ordinarily a good crop would yield from 5,000 to 7,000 bushels in a season.
The peach orchards suffered the most. The old trees had limbs broken off while the young trees fell to the ground under the weight of snow. The storm also played havoc with telephone and electric wires being down, inconveniencing a good portion of the community.
Roush appeared at the Gazette office in October 1910, and proclaimed the winter of 1910–1911 would be a warm mild one. It was cold and rainy 29 of the 30 days in November and the temperatures dropped into the teens and the low 20s in December.
Roush, the weather prophet, was not seen on the streets of Bellevue the whole month of December.
Bellevue Historian Bill Oddo writes a weekly column for The Bellevue Gazette.