Weather or not, at Smith

March 2, 2010

Last week’s heavy snowfall took a toll on a number of trees on the Smith campus.  This week we hear the constant grinding of the wood chipper as limbs are removed and paths are cleared.   The storm wasn’t the first to wreck havoc on campus or in town:

“Dear Father–…We are having one of the worst snow storms, in fact THE worst that I ever remember and Edith and I had the pleasure of walking home in it this noon.  We did not realize until we came to go out to dinner how the wind had increased in violence since this morning, nor how deep the snow was.  All I know is that we found ourselves out in a white blinding whirl of snow with no paths to walk in and a wind that took away our breath…One of two girls just in front of us lost her rubber in the snow and fell down and could not get up till a boy ran up and helped her…” [March 12, 1888, unidentified Smith student to her father]

Main Street, Northampton, during the Blizzard of March 1888

While the snow last week did not pile up to the height of the snow seen above, trees were the primary victims on campus.   When the Hurricane of 1938 swept through campus, the trees were especially hard hit.

Front campus along Elm Street, September 1938

Scenes like this one along Elm Street were replicated on all sides of the campus.

In front of Sage Hall, September 1938

Below, trees obscure the front of Sage Hall and block the side entrance to the College along Green Street.

Side campus to campus next to Lilly Hall

As I look outside I see a stack of wood from the American Beech tree that was split in half near the Lanning Fountain.  A large toppled pine tree rests in the waters of Paradise Pond blocking the walking path near the Tea Hut.

There are signs of spring around.  The crocus are blooming in the Botanic Garden and the Bulb Show begins at the end of the week.  We enjoy the sunshine as we get ready for “mud season” but know in our hearts that the weather will change in a minute and the storms of winter may not be over quite yet.

Comments about the weather can be found in numerous sources in the College Archives including student letters, journals and diaries, as well as published sources.  The images for this posting came from files in the Northampton & Local History Collection.  Come and explore what the College Archives has to offer!