Sunday, November 23, 2014

Snow Plow in Taft - 1908

Rotary Snow Plow
Coming Through Taft, Montana
Postmark 1908
The past week has seen unseasonably severe snowfalls in the Eastern USA. Our post today features a postcard mailed about 106 years ago from Saltese, Montana to Huntley, Illinois. The image shows a rotary snow plow grinding through the small town of Taft, attempting to clear the tracks, after what appears to be a pretty heavy snowfall.  

The card was mailed on April 3, 1908, to Miss Mae Hadley, Huntley, Ill. and includes this message:

Saltese, Montana
Apr. - 2 -08

Hello Mae:
     Taft is a new town 4 mi. N.W. of Saltese. I'll tell you more about it later. We have only 5 ft. of snow here at present. I arrived O.K. Try addressing a letter to me at Saltese Mont. and see what will happen.
     Sincerely,  Will

We wonder if Miss Mae replied and what happened next.

Thank you for stopping by John's Island.

Update -- What does a railroad snow plow look like?

Thank you for all comments. In today's first comment DJan asks about snow plows. Great question and you sure can't tell what one looks from the image on the postcard with the snow blowing in front of it. The White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad has one on display and we snapped the photo below when we were there in Skagway, Alaska, in September, 2014 ... [ see our Skagway post here ]

These big powers can clear a lot of snow off the tracks. No, neither of those people in the photo are John. :-)


  1. Wonder how those rotary snow plows actually worked. It sure looks like it's throwing the snow a distance. I've never seen anything like one of these. I wonder how it was powered a century ago. :-)

  2. Oh a very interesting blog. Thank you for show and tell.

    I too never seen anything like this so this is why I enjoyed your blog.

  3. Hello! I came a'visitin' from The run a round ranch...and perused. I love visiting places from other's experiences...look forward to dropping in more in the future. Cheers, Mac

  4. A rotary snowplow in the wilderness of Montana circa 1908...whoda thought...:) ?

  5. Thanks for the second picture, John. Now it makes much more sense to me, and I realize that it had to have been essential for train tracks. :-)

  6. I learned something today! Never knew about these snow plows on trains. Though I can see they would be necessary, I confess I never gave it much thought before this!

  7. As to our location you can reach The Big River by going sixty miles east OR north...... Triangulate. :)

  8. Wow! Love both photos. The photo in the first card reminds me of when I was a child. Mom has photos of one brother and I in front of cabins with the snow piled almost as high as the rooftops. Though we no longer live in that town it seems they also don't get snow nearly that high anymore. I think this is the first time too that I've seen a photo of a snow plow. Awesome. Have a wonderful week!

  9. Rotary snow plow. That just sounds like an awful lot of work! Think rotary phone times a million.


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