Photographs of the Seattle snowstorm of 1916, 1916

Overview of the Collection

Collector
University of Washington. Libraries. Special Collections
Title
Photographs of the Seattle snowstorm of 1916
Dates
1916 (inclusive)
Quantity
48 photographs (1 folder) ; 3 ½" x 5 ½"
Collection Number
PH1404
Summary
Photographs of the aftermath of one of the largest snowstorms to hit Seattle between January and February 1916
Repository
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
98195-2900
Telephone: 2065431929
Fax: 2065431931
speccoll@uw.edu
Access Restrictions

Entire collection can be viewed on the Libraries' Digital Collections website. Permission of Visual Materials Curator is required to view originals. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Languages
English

Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

January 1916 in Seattle, Washington, was unusually cold with 23 inches of snow already on the ground when, on the last day of the month, snow began to fall relentlessly. As it continued to fall, between 5 p.m. on Tuesday, February 1 and 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 2, a record 21.5 inches blanketed Seattle. The United States Weather Bureau in the Hoge Building on the northwest corner of Second Avenue and Cherry Street documented the snowfall, the largest recorded 24 hour accumulation – a record still standing as of 2016.

A front page article in the Seattle Daily Times , February 1, 1916 issue describes attempts to clear the snow, yet “despite the efforts of the toilers, it was found almost impossible during the morning hours to keep crossings clear. Passing automobiles pushed snow piles back on the cleared spaces as rapidly as they were cleaned, churned the snow and slush into a plastic mass which rapidly molded itself into giant snowballs, and skidded and balked on hills to the absolute ruination of tires and tempers.” The Times article continues on page 2 noting “The King County Humane Society has issued an appeal to all teamsters to have their horse sharp-shod to prevent their slipping.”

The following day, the headline of the February 2 issue of the Seattle Daily Times read “More Snow Predicted, City Schools Close; Street Cars Tied Up; All Trains Stalled And With Traffic and Business Suspended, Weather Man Holds Out Little Promise of Improvement.” The photographs in the collection provide a graphic representation of the havoc created by the several snowstorms during the end of January through February, 1916

The aftermath of “The Big Snow of 1916” as it was called, lasted for weeks as it was a wet snow and came to a miserable end -- a mess of mud that mangled bridges and carried away homes.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

In 1916, Seattle was hit with what came to be known as "The Big Snow of 1916." The photographs in this collection document the aftermath of the ongoing snowstorms for the several days between the end of January and the beginning of February in downtown Seattle and a few other local neighborhoods.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

View the digital version of the collection

Restrictions on Use

Status of creator's copyrights is unknown; restrictions may exist on copying, quotation, or publication. Users are responsible for researching copyright status before use.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Transferred from PH 1296 Seattle Subject File - Snow, 2016.

6 postcards donated by Julie Truskowski, August 16, 2019.

Processing Note

Processed by Arlene G. Cohen, November 2016 and November 2019

Transferred from the Seattle Subjects - Snow file, 2016.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

 

Downtown Seattle and surrounding neighborhoodsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box item
1 1
  Shoveling snow after snowstorm near an alley between downtown buildings after the storm
Written on verso: Seattle, Wash.-Storm conditions Feb. 2d, 1916.
February 2, 1916
Numbered streets and cross streets
Box item
1 2 between January and February 1916
1 3 between January and February 1916
1 4 between January and February 1916
1 5 between January and February 1916
1 5a
  2nd Ave. and Pine St. after snowstorm showing buildings and automobiles.
James B. Barton, Seattle (photographer)
Caption on image: Feb 1916, J B Barton.
February 1916
1 6 between January and February 1916
1 7 between January and February 1916
1 8 February 2, 1916
1 8a February 3, 1916
1 8b February 3, 1916
1 9
  3rd Ave. from James St. looking north after snowstorm showing the Hotel Rector building, and automobiles in the street
Written on verso: The Big Snow, January 1916. 3rd. Ave. Looking North from James Street (handwritten).
January 1916
1 9a between January and February 1916
1 10 between January and February 1916
1 11
  4th Ave. looking east on Union Street after snowstorm showing a closeup of a trolley and the Antlers Hotel
Written on verso: Seattle, Wash.-Storm conditions 4th and Union. Feb. 2nd, 1916.
February 2, 1916
1 12 between January and February 1916
1 13 between January and February 1916
1 14
  5th Ave. and Pike St. looking west after snowstorm showing the Coliseum Theater, the Northern Bank Building, street cars, horse drawn vehicles and an automobile
Written on verso: Looking west Seattle, Wash. 5th Ave. and Pike St.-Storm conditions, Feb. 2nd, 1916.
February 2, 1916
1 15 between January and February 1916
1 16 January 1916
1 17 January 1916
1 18
  9th Ave looking down Union St. after snowstorm showing horse drawn wagons
Written on verso: Seattle Wash. looking down Union Street from 9th Ave. Feb. 2nd, 1916.
February 2, 1916
1 19
  9th Ave looking down Union St. after snowstorm showing stairway and people shoveling snow
Written on verso: Seattle Wash. looking down Union St. from 9th Ave. Feb. 2nd, 1916.
February 2, 1916
1 20 between January and February 1916
1 21
  14th Ave. East and East Madison after snowstorm showing the Renton Hill Market, a street car and people shoveling snow
Renton Hill is roughly the southern part of today's Capitol Hill and the adjacent part of First Hill, centered roughly at 18th and Madison and named after lumberman and merchant Captain William Renton (1818-1891).
between January and February 1916
Named streets
Box item
1 22 between January and February 1916
1 23 between January and February 1916
1 24 between January and February 1916
1 25 between January and February 1916
1 26 between January and February 1916
1 27 between January and February 1916
1 28 between January and February 1916
1 29 between January and February 1916
1 30 between January and February 1916
1 31 between January and February 1916
1 32 between January and February 1916
1 32a between January and February 1916
1 33 between January and February 1916
1 34 between January and February 1916
1 35 between January and February 1916

Other areas of SeattleReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box item
1 36 between January and February 1916
1 37 between January and February 1916
1 38 between January and February 1916
1 39 between January and February 1916
1 40 between January and February 1916
1 41 between January and February 1916
1 42
  A jitney after snowstorm stuck in the snow in a residential neighborhood
A jitney is a privately owned vehicle that picks up and drops off passengers anywhere for very low fares.
between January and February 1916
1 42a between January and February 1916

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Blizzards--Washington (State)--Seattle--Photographs
  • Snow--Washington (State)--Seattle--Photographs
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)

Geographical Names

  • Seattle (Wash.)--Photographs