STARTS HERE. I recall
going to this program, I was nine, about to turn 10 in April. I had always remembered it as being a Junior play however,
and on a Thursday night instead of a Friday.
When we came out of the Auditorium, the snow had just started
falling with the biggest flakes I had ever seen before or since.
April 11th Jacksonian.
Hogs found after two weeks,
Still Alive When the big blizzard hit
two weeks ago last Saturday a lot of livestock was lost by suffocation
from being covered up in snow drifts. Ivan Davison found a
number of dead hogs at his place just east of the Fair Grounds, and
decided his registered boar, covered with about 15 feet of snow would
also be dead.
But he didn't know of
what good stuff that hog had been made of. Last Saturday, two weeks
after Mr. Pig was covered up, Ivan and his grandson Marion Roseberry
were looking after the former's hogs, and hearing a noise in one of
the sheds started digging in the snow which by that time had melted
down to about a third of its original height. Soon here came the
hog from under the snow- a bit shaky and not nearly so sleek and fat,
but evidently otherwise in good shape.
March 20th, Jacksonian
and Queen Of Music To
Reign Over Panorama
Music Friday Evening
The "Panorama of
Music" will be presented Friday Evening, March 22 at the
April 4th, Jacksonian
Panorama of Music,
Large Crowd Attends
The Panorama of music
under the able direction of Loetta Legg and sponsored by the Cimarron
B. P. W. Club was successfully presented to a large crowd at the
Cimarron school auditorium last Friday evening March 22nd, just before
the beginning of the big snow storm.
March 27th, Jacksonian
This Vicinity was hit by a
blizzard last Saturday night of the longest duration of any ever remembered here. The temperature however did not drop below around 30
degrees, which was very fortunate, because hundreds of motorists were
stranded on the highways and had the temperature dropped to zero or
below, many would probably have frozen.
The storm which started Saturday
afternoon (It actually started just as
the Panorama of Music program was ending, Friday night.) lasted until around midnight Sunday night, with heavy snow
and a strong north wind. Previous
to the blizzard around an inch of rain had fallen, and all Saturday
morning a wet snow fell, bringing another nice lot of
Old timers here in Cimarron say
the drifts are the biggest they have ever seen here, many
high as fifteen feet.
Many automobiles were completely covered, with not even the top
Below I have a picture that I
took of a car one block from my house after the owner and some of the
guys had dug down to it. This car was between drifts and I would
guess the drifts on each side were another four foot or more above
This car was stuck and buried five blocks west
of main street, one block west of our home.
Carol Rohrbaugh, Judy Rohrbaugh and Judy Hunt in a drift on east side
of Cimarron during the Blizzard. Picture taken by Mabel
Highway 50 through Cimarron was
blocked both east and west of town late Saturday afternoon, with
hundreds of motorists stalled on the highways.
A report from Wiley Parker, who
keeps the official govern-rain gauge here in Cimarron gives the
March 20,----- 0.35 inch of rain
March 21,----- 0.51 inches of
March 22,------ 0.10 inches rain
March 23,-----1.10 inches of
moisture; 11 inches of snow
March 24,-----1.10 inches
moisture; 11 inches of snow
March25,----- 3 inches of snow.
This makes a total of 3.16
inches of moisture and 25 inches of snow, since last Wednesday.
My Dad, Charley Thomas, was the
Gray County Sheriff when the blizzard hit. I remember not seeing
him much during the first few days of the blizzard. I also
remember when he did come home that he and mom went to town and got
groceries. I remember them pulling them home on a new sled, our first
that I ever
From noon Saturday until around
5:00 p.m. Sheriff Charley Thomas, using his pickup picked up all
of the stalled motorists west of town to 1 mile west of Ingalls, and
several east of town, and finally stalled his pick-up in a snow drift
and had to walk back to Cimarron. Approximately 50 people were brought into Cimarron.
Sheriff Thomas then boarded an east
bound train and picked up everyone on highway 50 between Cimarron and
Dodge City, except those whose cars were stalled a mile and a half
east of town. These folks were too far from the railroad track,
and the storm was too bad for them to reach the train. About 30
men, women and children were picked up, besides two State highway
employees: two highway patrolmen, Cecil Johnson and Ernest Magby,
and all of the National Guard Unit that had been dispatched from Dodge
City with the highway troopers.
Sheriff Thomas then caught a west
bound train back to Cimarron. About 35 people who had been
picked up earlier in the day boarded this train and went to Garden
Shortly before noon Sunday,
Sheriff Charley Thomas, Jack Newsom, Don Phelps, Si Davis, Jr. and
Clehbert Flowers, with blankets and food started east on highway 50,
in an effort to reach the motorists stalled 1 1/2 miles east of
town. They got as far as the Ernest Winkleman place just east of
the city limits, and were so exhausted that they turned back, knowing
they could never reach the cars.
About 2:00 o'clock Sheriff Thomas
decided to try again, this time he took only three younger men
with him. Junior Eskam, Glen Hagen, and Jack Newsom.
Richard Eskam took them to the railroad tracks, two blocks east of the
depot in the power wagon, and the four men followed the railroad track
east to the Ross Miller crossing, then followed the telephone line
north to 50 highway and on east on the highway to the stalled cars.
Sheriff Thomas said, "these boys
had 'plenty of guts', not one of them mentioned turning back, and
the going was plenty rough, and we were never able to see over 20 feet
They left blankets, food and
cigarettes to the folks in the stalled cars. Five of the men
returned with the rescuers. They came back to town on the
highway. Three of the men stopped at Homer Lee's and the other
two at Paul Eichmans.
pictures of my family and neighbors on a drift that would have been just west
of where Vivian's restaurant is now.
Monday morning Richard Eskam and
several others scouted around and decided they could get the power
wagon in behind the Babe Lee place along the railroad tracks.
They brought 16 persons who had been stalled in their cars nearly 40
hours back to Cimarron. They were taken to the Veterans Memorial
building, where George Akin and Galen Truax had a hot breakfast
waiting for them. Dr. Jackman was on hand to administer first
aid to those who needed attention.
After getting the folks back safely
Sheriff Thomas got L. R. Byler's Power Wagon, put chains on all
four wheels, and Marvin Tull, foreman of the Road Construction Co.
here working on the bridge, and several of his employees, and their
D-4 Cat, with a dozer in the front and the following Cimarron
Men: Richard Scott, Jim Allen, Chet Cossman, Stewart, McShively,
(may have been Si Davis Jr.),
(I believe this to be Lawrence Downtain) Herb Settles, Clehbert Flowers, Bob Norden, Junior
Eskam, Ivan Wilson, Gerald Reipl, Leslie Meredith, Kyle Lacy, Joe Crick, Ansel Houk, and Richard Eskam, Harry Romler and Bill Schadegg
and they went to Ingalls in a round about way to see about the folks
stalled in cars there.
When they reached there around
noon, Harold Batman, Jack Evinger, Fred Rowan, Pete Warfield, and
several other Ingalls folks with the aid of a half track, and a road
maintainer had brought one load of folks in, and were on their way
after the rest of them. Norbert Irsik had also broke thru from
his farm to them and had taken some of them to his home.
The Cimarron men waited until all
were brought into Ingalls before starting home so they could bring
anyone, who might need a doctors attention. Only one man
required a doctor's attention. Four men were brought back to
Some of the livestock losses
reported include: Ivan Davidson lost nine hogs; Tuffy Trainer lost
nine head of cows and calves; Clifford Benton lost two calves; Charley
Steele lost 50 sheep.
Sheriff Thomas has been a very
busy man since the storm started. Saturday getting very little
sleep, as he was either out rescuing someone or on the phone almost
continually from Saturday noon to Tuesday noon. Russell Unruh,
who works for Sheriff Thomas at the Mobil Service Station, which is on
highway 50 and which was set up as the Sheriff's headquarters, never
left the station from Saturday until Tuesday, he didn't get much sleep
either as the phone rang continually, with folks trying to get thru to
relatives and other folks calling here trying to locate someone who
Telephone operators, Judy
Leatherwood and Irene McConkey did a wonderful job at the telephone
office handling the hundreds of emergency calls that came
through. They were on duty steady from Saturday night until 8:00
o'clock Monday morning.
George and Myra Akin kept the
Western Cafe open all of the time, never going home at all Saturday night,
and fed a lot of folks who were stranded here.
Many other folks in Cimarron,
too many in fact to mention all of their names, did a wonderful job in
helping out here during the emergency.
The following is from the next
Snow from the Big Blow of 1957,
or the spring blizzard that hit this section is about gone but many
interesting phases of it are coming to light all the time. When
the Jacksonian came out last week with the statement that there was 25
inches of snow here, everyone laughed. But those who were in
neighboring towns where as much as 18 inches was said to have fallen
saw nothing compared to the drifts here in Cimarron.
A group of helicopters from Ft.
Riley and attached to the 5th Army Corps were in Southwest Kansas
during the big storm. One came from Dodge City to Cimarron,
where Leigh Warner and Chuck Barhydt boarded it at the ranch west of
town and scoured the country looking for lost Warner cattle. The
helicopters were single engine affairs, with a 21 passenger capacity.
Many tree limbs were broken over
town by the heavy wet snow, and quite a few TV antennas were bent to
the ground. The drifts were higher in some places around town
than they had been for a generation. Orval Harold spent
most of the time during the storm at the Sheriff's headquarters
helping out on the Sheriff's two way radio. He said he wasn't to
well up on the code, so when no one was around to ask, he reverted to
the radio code he had learned in the army. He said the boy on
the other end must have had some army radio training too, he read him
all right, and when he had finished said, "O.K. Roger and
City Engineer Charley Hoyt and
his crew of workmen were out all during the storm looking for broken
power lines that could cause serious trouble, hooking the tractor on
the city water well and attending to many other items.
Tuffy Trainer, who lives in a
basement house northeast of town was in town during the storm, and his
house was completely covered with snow, he tunneled down to the door
and got in after the storm was over. He said it was mighty cozy
down in there, but a little dark.
Mr. and Mrs. Gene Houk and three
children of El Paso, Texas,
(Gene Houk wrote and it was
Amalrillo, Texas) were enroute to Cimarron to visit his
parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Houk. The storm caught them near
Minneola and they were stranded in their car Saturday night and
Sunday. They came on to Cimarron Tuesday, and Mrs. Jeff Houk
returned home with them for a visit.
Gary Drussell, amateur radio
operator here in Cimarron, spent most of the time during the storm,
contacting people in different areas and sent out 25 messages, with
distances varying from Dodge City to Syracuse N. Y. He was on
Sunday during the storm from 7:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. and Monday from
1:00 until 9:00 p.m. He also monitored a number of
emergency messages on net. Gary say he will be glad to take or
send any messages that he can without charge.
Mr. and Mrs. George Greenwood
and three children left Cimarron Saturday afternoon to return to their
home northeast of Cimarron. When they turned east, they got
their car stuck in a snow drift. Raymond Mitchell came along in
his pick-up, and picked them up. After going about a mile further the pick up slipped off in the ditch, and they were unable to
get it out, so the six of them spent from Saturday evening to Monday
morning in the pick-up, which was sitting on a slant in the
ditch. The groceries Greenwoods had purchased in town were in
their car a mile down the road. They say it was anything but a
Almost everyone in this area who
had cattle, lost from one or two to a great many in the storm.
Frank Renick probably lost about as many as anyone. Many of his
cattle drifted into the Arkansas
river and suffocated. Cimarron was snow bound from Saturday
until the following Wednesday morning, and folks who had forgotten
how, tried out their baking ability.
Milk ran short and it was
rationed to families with babies only. Out in the country the
REA lines were out practically everywhere, and folks who pumped their
water by electricity, cooked with electricity, etc. found that they
were back to primitive living.
We've heard of two flat roofed
rural-homes that had so much snow on them that they threatened to cave
in Leonard Flowers of south of Ingalls heard the roof crack and pop, and moved out.
The snow drifted around many
doorways so badly that the doors could not be opened, and in several
instances folks were shoved thru a window so they could get out and
clean the snow from in front of the doors.
Mrs. Albert Kruse who lives
about a mile north of the water tank went outside for a minute during
the storm, and her door blew shut. She had no other way to get
into the house, and knocked out a window.
Folks in Cimarron and along the
highway, and many in the country, took care of folks who stopped in
because they could not go on further.
Mayor Frank Luther says the
cooperation of folks in general just couldn't have been better, and he
wants to thank everyone of them.
Max Ames and Ike Kirkland of
Dodge City, REA employees were marooned in their pick-up truck 1/2
mile east of the Millard Jantz home from Saturday noon to Monday noon
when they walked to the Jantz home. A helicopter from Dodge City
picked the two men up at the Jantz home Tuesday afternoon.