Tag Archives: The great Blizzard

The Blizzard of 1888.

16 Jan

From The Tenement Museum

blizzard-of-1888The Great Blizzard of 1888 banished New York’s overhead electric and telegraph lines underground, forever changing the face of the city. 

During the late 19th century, New York’s rapid growth spawned a tangle of electric and telegraph lines above the city’s streets. Between March 11 and 14 1888, a historic blizzard deposited 23 inches of snow on New York City. The towering piles of snow, driving winds and bitter cold shuttered businesses for nearly two weeks and damaged property to the tune of approximately $25 million.

The weight of the snow and ferocity of the winds also snapped the city’s power and telegraph lines, which confounded cleanup efforts. During his inaugural address in 1889, newly elected Mayor Hugh Grant vowed to rectify this situation by burying lines below ground. After battling cost-conscious electric and telegraph companies, Grant finally forced the lines underground in the fall of 1889.