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The Blizzard of 1978: Photos of Boston Buried under the 27.1 Inches of Snow

Boston was buried under 21 inches of snow on January 21, 1978. The storm came a couple of weeks before the February 6 storm, which made things worse. The heavy Snowfall clogged the narrow streets of Boston. The city was buried under mounds of snow for a few days after the storm. Boston Firefighters had to dig out hundreds of fireplugs throughout the city as part of their duties. It was one of the worst storms in the city’s history.

The storm surge rose 15.2 feet above normal low tide during the blizzard. Many homes in coastal communities in Massachusetts Bay were destroyed. Many low-lying towns experienced severe flooding. During the afternoon rush hour, the storm intensified, and people were trapped in their cars on Boston’s highways. Ninety-nine people tragically lost their lives during the storm. About $1.3 billion (at that time) worth of property was destroyed. A state of martial law was declared, and vehicular traffic was banned for several days. The National Guard used boats to rescue people from the highways in flooded areas. For days, heavy machinery, dump trucks, and tow trucks were used to dig out streets and remove abandoned cars.

Boston saw another storm in which 27.1 inches of Snowfall over 32 hours from Monday morning, February 6, to the evening of Tuesday, February 7. The storm killed about 100 people, injured 4,500 others, and caused more than $500 million in damage in the Northeast.

Below are some photos that document both blizzards.

#1 Stacy and Lisa Zinck shopped near Gallivan Boulevard in Dorchester on Feb. 10.

#2 Vehicles were snowbound on Route 128 South in the aftermath of the massive blizzard on Feb. 8, 1978.

#3 A rescue vehicle moved through the flooded streets in Hull on Feb. 9.

#4 Boston’s Washington Street was buried in snow on Feb. 6, during the blizzard.

Boston’s Washington Street was buried in snow on Feb. 6, during the blizzard.

The storm dropped more than 27 inches of snow on Boston over 32 hours and 40 minutes, between Feb. 6 and 7.

#5 A huge wave at the height of the storm crashed into the cliffs in Scituate.

#8 Edward J. DeSantis, Park District Superintendent, walked through flooded Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester on Feb. 7.

#9 Mrs. Joseph Conley leaned on the only remaining fixture at her destroyed house in Scituate as she left with Mrs. Edward Dailey, with whom she is now staying on Feb. 10.

#10 A boat was washed up in Doliber’s Cove in Marblehead, where water came up to homes during high tide.

#11 Pedestrians braved the wind and snow of the blizzard while crossing Commonwealth Avenue in Boston on Feb 6.

#12 Cathy Silva salvaged belongings from a Minot Beach home on Feb 9.

#13 David Rimilty, 14, peered into a car buried in sand on Mass Hill Beach in Scituate on Feb. 9, after the blizzard.

#14 Three people pushed a disabled car as a skier passed on Kelton Street near Commonwealth Avenue in Boston.

#16 Helen Reynolds and Dorothy Carusone returned home from picking up milk in Dorchester.

#17 Cleared streets and driveways in Wakefield following the blizzard.

#18 Nancy Erickson sat in the living room of her parents’ damaged summer home on Edgewater Drive in Quincy (Hough’s Neck.) Nancy’s mom is in the doorway.

#19 Waves crashed up on Front Street in Marblehead on Feb. 7.

#20 Residents looked at the section of the broken sea wall along Winthrop Shore Drive in Winthrop after the storm.

#22 Falling and drifting snow surrounded a car on Morrissey Boulevard during early morning hours of the blizzard on Feb. 7.

#23 Thousands of people waited for welfare vouchers in the snow on Hancock Street in Dorchester on Feb. 11 following the blizzard.

Thousands of people waited for welfare vouchers in the snow on Hancock Street in Dorchester on Feb. 11 following the blizzard.

The state of emergency issued prevented delivery of public assistance checks and most offices had been closed for days.

#24 More than 25 houses, including this one, were demolished on Scituate’s Peggotty Beach during the blizzard.

#25 A dinosaur sculpted from snow was built in Harvard Yard in Cambridge.

#26 One child pulled another on a sled along a snow-covered road in Newton on Feb. 9.

#27 Homes and streets were flooded along Jerusalem Road in Hull.

#28 Kate Figueroa held her son Casey, 2, as they looked out at the extreme high tides and flooding in Plymouth on Feb. 7.

#29 The entrance to Town Way at Peggotty Beach was strewn with rocks and house debris on Feb. 8.

#30 A man and woman wait for a rescue team in Revere on Feb. 8.

#31 Army personnel from Fort Devens were stuck in five feet of slush trying to rescue the couple in Revere.

#32 A crew member unloaded a lost boat in Marblehead Harbor that washed up on the Causeway.

#33 Gandolf, an Irish Setter. watched Martine Carroll, 14, walk down Trenton Street.

#34 A Tractor Travels Down A Snowy Street

A Tractor Travels Down A Snowy Street

A tractor travels down a snowy street as Beacon Hill digs out after 1977-1978 blizzard, Boston, Massachusetts, 1978.

#35 A commuter fights his way to City Hall MBTA Station passed mangled umbrella during a storm in Boston, 1978.

#36 Two people dig out their car after a snowstorm in Boston, 1978.

#37 Lyon Street in Boston’s Dorchester is impassable, 1978, two days after a severe snow storm that approached the record snowfall on the city for a 24-hour period.

#38 Belton Street in Boston’s Dorchester is plowed out on Jan. 22, 1978, two days after a severe snow storm that approached the record snowfall on the city for a 24-hour period.

#39 Pedestrians walking down the middle of Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts, during the during the ‘Blizzard of ’78’.

#40 A snow plough at work in Boston, Massachusetts, during the during the ‘Blizzard of ’78’, February 1978.

#41 Pedestrians walking down the middle of Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts, during the during the ‘Blizzard of ’78’.

#42 Pedestrians walking down the middle of Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts, February 1978.

#43 Pedestrians walking down the middle of Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts, 1978

#44 An ambulance in a snowstorm during the ‘Blizzard of ’78’ in Boston.

#45 A snow plough at work in Boston, Massachusetts, during the during the ‘Blizzard of ’78’.

#46 The Northeastern United States blizzard of 1978 hits Boston.

#47 People walk down Washington Street near Bromfield Street in Boston on Feb. 6, 1978, during a record-breaking blizzard.

#48 Business in downtown Boston’s shopping district – not to mention this lone automobile – ground to a halt during the snow storm Tuesday, during the “Blizzard of 78”.

#49 People walk by closed shops at night Washington Street near Bromfield in downtown Boston following the historic “Blizzard of 78”.

#50 People walk by cars trying to make it through the heavy snow and low visibility on Feb. 6, 1978.

#51 Boston’s Washington Street is buried in snow on Feb. 6, 1978, following the historic “Blizzard of 78”.

#52 Three people push a disabled car as a skier passes on Kelton Street near Commonwealth Avenue in Boston on Feb. 6, 1978.

#53 Pedestrians brave the wind and snow of the Blizzard of 78 while crossing Commonwealth Avenue in Boston on Feb. 6, 1978.

#54 A snow drift on Preble Street near Ward Street in South Boston covers a car up to its windows at 10 a.m. on Feb. 7, 1978.

#55 Falling and drifting snow surrounds a car on Morrissey Boulevard during the early morning hours of Feb. 7, 1978.

#56 Car owners, MDC workers and the National Guard dig out cars buried in snow on Day Boulevard in South Boston after the “Blizzard of 78”

#57 S.S. Peter Stuyvesant, a ship used as a cocktail lounge for the adjacent Anthony’s Pier 4 restaurant, capsized yesterday during the “Blizzard of 78”.

#58 The Peter Stuyvesant, a famous landmark docked by Anthony’s Pier 4 in Boston, starts sinking during the “Blizzard of 78”.

#59 It’s a wintry scene on Summer Street, as people use cross-country skis to get around Boston on Feb. 7, 1978.

#60 Cars are covered by snow drifts on Washburn Street in Boston on Feb. 7, 1978.

#61 A Metropolitan Police District car is stuck in the snow in Columbia Circle in Boston on Feb. 7, 1978.

#62 Park District Superintendent Edward J. DeSantis walks down Morrissey Boulevard in Boston on Feb. 7, 1978.

#63 An aerial view shows cars buried in snow on Farragut Road in South Boston on Feb. 8, 1978.

#64 Aerial view of the Fenway in Boston, covered in snow Feb. 8, 1978.

#65 Senator Edward M. Kennedy and an aid, Edward Martin, walk down Broadway after a blizzard in Boston on Feb. 8, 1978.

#66 Two men stand outside a store on Boylston Street in Boston that is advertising wood on Feb. 8, 1978.

#67 An aerial view of the snowy streets in South Boston on Feb. 8, 1978, following the Blizzard of 78.

#68 An aerial view of a homemade, outdoor rink in Columbus Park in South Boston on Feb. 8, 1978, following the Blizzard of 78.

#69 A young man glides down Revere Street in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston on Feb. 8, 1978.

#70 A person skis down the snowy MBTA Green Line tracks on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston on Feb. 9, 1978, during the “Blizzard of 78”.

#71 Paul Shea, art director in Waltham’s public school system, paints a snowy scene on Park Street in Boston following the “Blizzard of 78” on Feb. 9, 1978.

#72 Pedestrians climb through tall piles of snow left behind by the “Blizzard of 78”, while crossing the street near Commonwealth Avenue in Back Bay on Feb. 10, 1978.

#73 A truck filled with snow passes pedestrians on Boylston Street in Boston at 2 p.m. on Feb. 10, 1978, following the “Blizzard of 78”.

#74 Firefighters Pat Moni and Dick Laureana of Engine 22 dig out a hydrant on Massachusetts Avenue in Boston following the “Blizzard of 78”.

#75 Mrs. Howard Kirk and her daughter, Jane, residents of Boston’s Back Bay, join hundreds of others strolling on Boylston Street days after the “Blizzard of 78”.

#76 Pedestrians take a sunset stroll along a snow-covered Newbury Street in Boston following the “Blizzard of 78”.

#77 Pedestrians walk up Bolyston Street in Boston in the aftermath of the “Blizzard of 78”.

#78 Pete Cole is surrounded by customers looking to buy the milk he is delivering to a store in Boston at midnight on Feb. 10, 1978.

#79 An aerial view of school busses stranded in the rear parking lot of the Howard Johnson Motel in Boston on Feb. 10, 1978.

#80 Thousands of people wait for vouchers in the snow on Hancock Street in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston on Feb. 11, 1978.

#81 People walk down Boylston Street in Back Bay on Feb. 11, 1978, following the Blizzard of 78.

#82 People start to dig out Pleasant Street in the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston on Feb. 11, 1978, following the Blizzard of 78.

#83 People shovel out Pleasant Street in Boston’s Charlestown area around noon on Feb. 12, 1978.

#84 Downtown Boston comes back to life after a week’s vacation following the historic “Blizzard of 78”.

#85 Pedestrian traffic on Boston’s Washington Street on Feb. 13, 1978, following the historic “Blizzard of 78”.

#86 A plow clears snow from Ridgeway Lane in front of the Old West Church in Boston’s Beacon Hill on Feb. 14, 1978.

#87 Jimmy Hanlow, working for H&H Buildings, breaks ice off a building on Washington Street in Boston on Feb. 18, 1978.

#88 A would-be motorist has his work cut out for him on Hallam Street in Dorchester on March 4, 1978.

#89 Boston’s Castle Island toppled into the harbor during a record-setting blizzard in February 1978.

#90 Fishing pier at Boston’s Castle Island toppled into the harbor during a record-setting blizzard in February 1978.

#91 Men fish on Boston’s Castle Island pier on April 26, 1978.

#92 Part of the fishing pier at Boston’s Castle Island toppled into the harbor during a record-setting winter storm in February 1978.

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.


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