Thursday through Saturday mark the 50th anniversary of 1957 blizzard

History Making Snow Comes in March of 1957

Livestock losses high, mild temperatures avoid human deaths

The following account of the “Blizzard of ‘57” was taken from the 70th anniversary edition of The Boise City News. Though The Boise City News had no local deaths to report, there were deaths in the area near Texhoma, Guymon, and Dalhart , Texas , and a boy from Boys Ranch, near Amarillo , Texas .

The most severe snow storm in Panhandle history struck Friday, March 22, 1957, about 4 p.m., and raged for 56 consecutive hours with winds reaching 70 miles per hour much of the time. The storm was heaviest in the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles, and an extensive portion of Western Kansas , Nebraska and Eastern Colorado . Temperatures during the storm period were barely below freezing point most of the time. Otherwise many lives probably would have been lost. A 14-hour electric power failure Sunday morning caused considerable inconvenience but service was restored during the height of the storm in spite of the almost im-possible conditions for repair crews. Service was not restored in Keyes and Felt until after the storm abated.

Highways in all directions out of Boise City were blocked, in spite of prompt action by city, county and state highway department workers and volunteers.

The magnitude of the storm was emphasized by one drift near the Larus Etling residence in East Boise City, in which the snow piled up to a depth of 15 feet by actual measurement. In the same neighborhood 28 head of purebred Hereford cattle belonging to Dorsey Sparkman, perished under mountainous drifts in a feed lot. A huge motor road patrol in the third block on West Main Street was covered almost completely. About 65 passengers from two Continental Trailways buses and a number of stranded motorists in the vicinity, assembled in one of the stalled buses and waited the storm out from Saturday morning until about noon Monday. The incident was on U.S. 287 Highway six miles southeast of Boise City . The bus drivers assembled the crowd in one bus in order to conserve fuel for heat.

Six young men, who were members of a telephone line crew, stranded in Boise City , heard of the plight, and gathered up all the milk, sandwiches and candy bars they could carry and set out a foot at 11 o'clock Sunday night while the storm was still raging. After delivering the food the men returned to a cafe east of the overpass at about 6:30 Monday morning. Later that morning a rescue party of one school bus, a pickup and six farm tractors got all the occupants of the buses to town, and the local chapter of the Red Cross went in action to feed them in the American Legion room. The Red Cross and Legion also provided sleeping equipment in the Legion room for many who were stranded and unable to find sleeping quarters, although many transients had been taken in by Boise City residents. The Santa Fe Railway had sent a relief train out of Amarillo Sunday in an effort to reach the stranded highway party, but it became stuck in heavy drifts two miles north of Kerrick , Texas still 17 miles short of its objective. The stalled train was pulled out Tuesday and rail service into Boise City was restored that night.

There were many other cases of truck drivers and other transients being stranded in their cars or at nearby farm or ranch houses during the storm.

Losses of cattle and sheep in the county were estimated at 25 to 30 per cent. Death among herds was due principally to suffocation and trampling.