The Blizzard of '78 My photos Slideshow Blizzard links
  One very memorable event that occurred on February 6, 1978, was a snowstorm that spanned a series of extremely high tides and dumped 3 feet of snow on Boston in 36 hours, and was subsequently named the "Blizzard of '78." It totally shut down Eastern New England, and Massachusetts went under a "State of Emergency" for 6 days which banned all private vehicles from driving on the roads. Just about everybody who lived through this has an interesting story, since many of us got stranded in one place or another (my boss didn't make it all the way to his suburban home from Boston and ended up spending the night in a convent). I took these photos during and after the storm and shared them years later.

Please note: any of the following Street View links (Google Maps) are to current views, not the way it looked in 1978.

My apartment
On the Monday evening of February 6, 1978, when the storm started, I was 29-years-old and living in Boston, and I was taking the subway from Cambridge to Boston to get home to my apartment in the Fenway. When I went down into the Central Square subway station the snow was really coming down, which was not unusual in February in Boston, but when I came out of the Kenmore Square subway station near home I was really surprised to see how much snow had fallen during the time I was underground. I trudged through the snow to my apartment on Queensberry Street and when I went to bed that night I knew we were in for a major snowstorm. My apartment lost its heat and electricity so I spent the next several nights wearing long-johns and sleeping in a down bag and (dangerously) using my gas oven for heat.

Route 128, a beltway going around Boston, had become a giant parking lot full of cars stuck in the snow, many of them 4-wheel-drive vehicles blocked by other cars. The MBTA (mass transit system) only ran in the subway portion below ground and it was 3 days before it ran above ground and I could get to suburban Weymouth to see my girlfriend Patti (my wife since 1979), walking 5 miles from Quincy (the last stop on the Red Line in those days). I had bought a car just before the storm, and when I went to pick it up at the car lot after the blizzard I found the entire engine compartment packed with snow—and a very wet ignition! (I would have taken a photo of this but cellphones with cameras didn't exist yet.) One ironic twist of this storm is that it occurred just 2 weeks after another massive storm had dumped 21 inches of snow on the city, setting a (short-lived) 24-hour snowfall record.

Car antennas
The day after the storm ended was nice and sunny, and all the cars that had been parked on the streets when the storm hit were completely buried, with only their antennas sticking up through the snow. You could walk everywhere, including in the middle of streets normally full of whizzing cars, and across the frozen Charles River (which I recklessly did). Most non-essential businesses in Boston were closed, and the entire week was like a holiday. The snow was being removed from the roads and it was stashed in parking lots, which ended up having these enormous piles of snow.

Boston has been my home since coming here for college in 1973, and in 2015 we bought and remodeled our third home in the Boston area, so I think we will always live here. I guess snowy winters will always be a part of my life, but hopefully none as bad as this (although we did have one real bad snowstorm in 2015 at our last house). For the first time I have a garage to park in so I won't have to brush the snow off my car after storms.
In 2007 I was contacted by Alan Earls, who came across this an earlier verstion of this webpage and wanted to use my photos in a book he was doing about the storm. Greater Boston's Blizzard of 1978 was published and I am given credit under each of my photos in the book. Alan interviewed me for an article which then appeared in the Hingham Journal. Cool!

My 15 minutes
of fame


My photos . . .

  This storm was so severe that no private vehicles were allowed on the roads and I was able to roam freely around Boston and Cambridge with my camera.
Here are some of the photos I took. Click any image to start a slideshow of the photos at that point in the sequence.

    Photos taken during the blizzard
  1 2 3
5 6 7 8
This is Queensberry Street, including my apartment building (3,4).
Note the walkers towering over cars in 7.

    Photos taken on the sunny day after the blizzard
11 12 13 14 15

  18 19
9 Peterborough Street looking West
10 A Back Bay sidewalk after shoveling
11 Queensberry Street after plowing (same view as 2)
12 Looking West on Boylston Street where it intersects with Park Drive
13 Looking East on Boylston Street towards Prudential and John Hancock buildings
14 Looking South on Mass. Ave. towards Symphony Hall (my school, Berklee College of Music, is on the left)
15 Crossing the Mass. Ave. bridge over the Charles River (from Boston towards MIT in Cambridge )
16 Looking West from Kenmore Square on Brookline Ave. as it crosses the Mass. Pike (Fenway Park is almost visible on left)
17 Mass. Ave. in Central Square, Cambridge, looking towards Boston
18 Charles River, which I actually walked across
19 Fenway
20 Charles River

Blizzard links – nice description and great photos (including some of mine)
Blizzard of 78 - Hull MA - Nantasket Beach – very thorough site with many stories, photos, and links
The Northeast Blizzard of 1978 – includes newspaper articles, newspaper photos, & videos
Northeastern United States blizzard of 1978 – Wikipedia's description of the storm
"Blizzard of 78" on Google – lots of good links
"Blizzard of 78" photos on Google – same as clicking on "Images" on above link
I Survived the Blizzard of '78 – a Facebook page with many photos
Boston's Top 10 Biggest Snowstorms – as of January, 2015
Photos: Looking back at the Blizzard of '78 – igreat photos with captions; I hope this page remains