This winter has been a most remarkable one for the vast quantity of snow and continuous winds, entailing heavy losses on business interests and great inconvenience to the people generally.
Winter began early in October and continued more or less until the middle of January when blizzards made their appearance on the ranges and have continued almost uninterruptedly ever since and with greater or less severity all over the country.
Business men in New York were unable to reach their offices for three days at a time, on account of snow and blockaded street traffic. The inhabitants of New Orleans went skating, a pastime indulged in by but few generations in that latitude. An oyster famine was threatened for a time because the ocean waters froze over the oyster beds.
Locally, the storm has raged along the Park Range with great severity, absolutely suspending traffic and closing down many business enterprises. While the quantity of snow has not been so noticeable in the South Park and low lands, in some parts it has been great and it is estimated that the loss of the cattle and sheep interests will run from 10 to 25 per cent throughout the mountain states and the quantity of snow on the mountains is unprecedented. Snowslides are of frequent occurrences. They have come down the mountains burying the railroads under hundreds of feet of snow, trees and rocks.
A miner, near Kokomo, (1) had taken a dinner pail and proceeded about one-hundred feet from hut home, when a snow slide swept his dwelling out of existence and his wife and children into eternity.
Half the town of Silver Plume was swept away by a snow slide and more than a dozen people killed. Deaths from exposure are of almost daily occurrence. The losses incurred by the railroads are almost incalculable, revenues practically ceased and thousand of dollars were daily expended in a vain endeavor to open the road, but where an opening was made on one hour the wind would fill it up with snow the next. The Midland failed to run a train to Leadville for more than a month. The Rio Grande would have its road open probably a day out of a week. On the South Park, no train has been run from Como to Leadville since the 25 of January, and for more than a month Grant has been the terminus west of Denver. A train lies covered in the snow in Ten Mile canon, the crew walked to Como on snow shoes. Food is being carried to Kokomo by men on snowshoes, a distance of nine miles from a station on the Rio Grande road. The people of Breckenridge are endeavoring to build a sleigh road from there to Como as supplies are running very short to the city of Leadville itself has been for days without railroad communication. Miners of the time were engaged in opening the road to admit coal etc., all available, was immediately rushed in and the road instantly closed again by snow. The mines are closing down for lack of supplies. In this County the Hill Top, London and other mines closed long ago for this reason, although half has not been told. The wildest romancers could not imagine or describe the expense, hardships and suffering that have actually been incurred in the Rocky Mountains the past two months and the end is not in sight.