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THE BLIZZARD OF 1888

On January 12, 1888, a sudden fierce blizzard slashed across the Midwest. The temperature fell to between 30 and 40 degrees below zero. A howling northwest wind swept the plains. The storm raged for 12 to 18 hours and is probably the most severe single blizzard to have hit Nebraska since the settlement of the state.

Sometimes called "the school children's storm," the blizzard caught many children away from home. Many acts of heroism were performed by parents, teachers, and the children themselves.

The story of Minnie Freeman has become symbolic of these many acts of heroism. Miss Freeman, still in her teens at the time, was teaching at a school near here. When the wind tore the roof off the sod schoolhouse, Miss Freeman saved her pupils by leading them through the storm to a farmhouse a half mile away.

Many other teachers performed similar acts of heroism, and at least one lost her life in the attempt. No accurate count of the total deaths from the storm is possible, but estimates for Nebraska have ranged from 40 to 100.

January 12, 1888 Blizzard Club
Historical Land Mark Council
Nebr. 70, south of Ord
Valley County
Marker 66

 


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Last updated 4 June 2004

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