13 thoughts on “SW Jefferson Street, 1937

  1. I don’t think Portland got very many days cold enough to bring more than a light dusting of snow back in those days. Cities that did get snow on a regular basis had snow plows on their garbage trucks and were ready to go. In Portland we just stayed home, waited a day and it melted.

  2. In my lifetime I have seen a lot of snow and ice in Portland. The lambs that winters have become the last 20-25 years were not the norm in the past. Unless you were raised here and over 35 years old or moved here before 1975-80(probably less than 1\4 to1\3rd of today’s population) you wouldn’t know it. I remember walking to school in the 50’s & 60’s many times in below freezing temperatures and the week long periods of snow on the ground. In the last really big one in ’68-69(34 inches) there was snow plied up in parking lots all over Portland until March. And the ice storms. The last big one was in the very early 80’s and it took almost a week to get things back to normal. With over 3 to 4 times the number of trees today if one hit it would take weeks not days to get back to normal. Winter was a lot colder then. Four winter total from 1947-52 was 86.4 inches, the decade 0f 1871-80 was 204 inches total. Some winters were very low or non existent in snowfall but when hits watch out. Frankly I worry more about ice storms(freezing rain)than snow storms.

  3. That one kid looks like he could be right out of little Italy in New York. We used to get at least one curb depth snow fall every winter when I was a kid in the 60’s. Then in 78 and 79 (I think) I remember back to back silver thaws. The second one was really bad. One to three inches of ice coated streets, trees etc.

  4. I walked to school in the 40s & 50s and winters definitely were colder and snowier back then. Weather records confirm this. It snowed often enough that there were designated sledding streets around town that would be closed to motor vehicles when the snow was deep enough. Also, there was a rope tow for skiing on the west side of Mt. Tabor with the upper terminus on the rise just south of the present-day soap box derby track.

    Houses had little, if any, insulation then and it wasn’t unusual to find ice on the inside surfaces of windows during cold snaps. This was especially true if your home had an anemic heating plant, such as the sawdust burner in the home in which I grew up.

  5. Oh yes, Winters were much worse back in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s! I remember the sledding streets and the huge icicles hanging down from the roofs. There were lots
    days off from school because of the snow and it was deep enough to make forts
    and tunnels. Afterwards there was always the dreaded ‘Silver Thaw’ where the deep
    snow was covered by inches of ice! Winters here now are wimpy.

  6. All of the comments true I remember Feb 1960 walking to school with little puffs of dry powdery snow dusting about only to be sent home because a more or less blizzard was coming . Out of school for several days . Much snow

  7. I moved to Portland in the summer of 1979, and the first few winters there was always an ice storm the first full weekend of January. I lived on Marquam Hill the first winter, and every day of that first full week of January I’d wake up listening to transformers blow. I’d take a shower by candlelight, and by the time I got home from work the power would be back on, because we were on the same road as the VA Hospital.

    I don’t have a link, but I recall seeing pictures of people skating on the Willamette when it froze over in the 1930s.

  8. The first year I was here, 1973, there was an ice storm on Thanksgiving. I remember wondering it that was normal and if it was cold and snowy during the winter. I was used to Midwest ice storms in the January-February months, so Thanksgiving seemed way too early for icy weather.

  9. We moved to Oregon in 1976 and left eleven years later for jobs in Georgia. We “counted the days” until we could retire back home in Oregon, which we did 27 years later. All through the decades in the Deep South I held onto my big padded Oregon winter coat, figuring I’d need it again when I got home. But the winters since our return have been too warm for me to need to wear it.

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