Democrat Herald masthead, 1924

The following articles originally ran in the Friday, Dec. 26, 1924, edition of the Albany Democrat.

Arctic storm at Mill City blows down giant firs

MILL CITY — The extremely severe east winds continued throughout Wednesday, accompanied by bitterly cold weather. The light dry snow that fell Saturday night is drifting badly, and gave the appearance of a new snow storm.

Hundreds of trees were blown down the mountains. Frank Powell, Gates, trackwalker for the Southern Pacific Company, gave a graphic description of the storm in the canyon between Niagara and Halls, where his territory lies. In making regular rounds, he saw huge trees falling in every direction, four and five in the air at the time. One monstrous fir, falling approximately 500 feet and bringing another large snag with it, fell about 10 rain lengths from Powell, snapping out four rails of the Southern Pacific tracks and bending them like a child would a piece of string. Powell feels lucky that he wasn't a little further on his way.

The Santiam River is frozen over in a number of places even where the current is swift, and at Mill City, under the railroad bridge, the area grows larger each day. Skating enthusiasts are enjoying good sport in the Hammond Lumber Company pond.

Weather works hardships at Peoria

PEORIA — The weather has caused lots of work for everyone. Some have had trouble keeping their water pipes from freezing. The telephone lines have been out of commission and Peoria has not been able to get Halsey part of the time.

The Willamette River has been full of floating ice. Ed. Gump, the ferryman, was crossing the river in a boat when he was caught on the ice and carried about a mile down the river, before he was able to get the boat off the ice.

Because of the cold weather, the revival meetings, which were to start Monday night, will not commence until tonight.

When Edgar Kitchen and Miss Mara Crothers were returning from a dance at Willamette Hall, the cable in the ferry broke and the north wind blew it upstream. The boat caught in a snag. The car had to be left on the ferry boat until next day.

Scio people are hard hit by freezing of water pipes

SCIO — The thermometers still register around zero in the vicinity. The room in the school building which is used by the third, fourth and fifth grades has been so cold that the pupils have been dismissed.

The Scio condensery is receiving milk but is not attempting to operate the condensing plant while the weather remains so cold. The water mains across Thomas Creek are frozen and residents on the south side are without fire protection.

An effort was made to thaw the pipes by steam from a threshing machine engine. Monday night the ice became so thick on the flume that it was impossible to keep the grates open at the power plant and the city was without lights or power until about noon Tuesday.

Real 'white Christmas' is reported at Brownsville

BROWNSVILLE — Oldtimers scratch their heads in vain to recall as cold a Christmas day as yesterday for three below zero was the mark noted on the thermometers in town. Lakes and ponds are all frozen over in this vicinity. The river is frozen over and the millrace running through town bears a thick coat of ice which in places extends from bank to bank. Practically the entire 8 inches of snow which has accumulated here since Saturday remains intact and as white as ever and is partially encrusted by the repeated freezings.

The gatherings of families and friends from far and near for Christmas dinners and trees marked the white Christmas here and in the evening the Los Angeles Bible Institute appeared at the Presbyterian church.

Meanwhile, in Albany ...

Despite the gathering of clouds in the local skies and some hallucinations to the effect that today was warmer than its immediate predecessors, the U.S. weather forecaster refused to allow the people of Albany and other parts of Oregon hope of a break in the cold wave, at least for the time being. The barometer, they say, indicates continued cold.

This forecast is somewhat substantiated by the fact that today's minimum temperature at 1 o'clock this afternoon was but 13 degrees above zero on the official thermometer. F.M. French, local observer, said that the barometer here is still standing at high mark with no hint of dropping.

This morning was the coldest of this season, and since 1919. The thermometer dropped to three degrees below zero this morning. Yesterday morning it registered as low as two degrees below. It may go lower yet tomorrow morning.

Today's minimum at Albany was the coldest here in five years and equaled the 1909 record, which was also three degrees below zero.

Yesterday's maximum was 25 degrees above zero. Yesterday's minimum was two degrees below zero. Both yesterday's and today's cold weather was attended by fog, which dressed trees, grasses, weeds and wire fences with a thick coating of frost resembling new snow in appearance.

The cold weather is not yet causing great trouble to the Mountain States Power Company (NOTE: This company merged with Pacific Power & Light in 1954), aside from the freezing of the Albany canal near and in town. All of the ice within the city limits was blasted out two days ago, and now there is two inches of new ice to be broken up. This was being removed today. The ice is carried down the canal and over the spillway into the Calapooia River. The company is keeping the ditch level high enough at the end to enable the pumping plant to operate.

Higher up there is said to be little ice for the reason that the water's velocity is greater.

Later reports from the Pacific Ocean, however, indicated that a change may be forthcoming soon.

The freezing of water pipes was more general today as the frost worked more deeply into the ground.

Although filling more and more with floating ice while the solid ice sheet at either bank is gradually creeping toward the center, the Willamette at Albany still maintained an open channel here today. That the river may freeze over at any time is believed highly possible, unless there should be an unexpected rise in the temperature tonight.

NOTE:  Left unmentioned in this edition was a stove explosion (don't worry; it was salvageable) that morning at Theo Hoflich's Vine Street home. His wife was slightly scalded in the incident. The culprit: frozen pipes.

This meteorological terror subsided within two days, thanks to the heroic arrival of warm winds, higher temperatures and a rainstorm. (cf)

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