Perhaps Facebook isn’t a complete waste of time. It was there I stumbled onto these fabulous old pictures from late 1961. They were posted by the group “Missouri’s Historic Highways” and were simply too good to pass up.
Seriously, when was the last time you saw a 1954 Buick during the aftermath of a snowstorm or driving beneath a plume of blown snow?
These pictures were taken along US 136 in Gentry County, Missouri, west of the little town of Stanberry in the northwest part of the state. This is a very rural area as the 2010 Census disclosed the population of Gentry County as being a modest 6,738.
If you are wondering why the operator is blowing the snow onto (or across, to be more descriptive) the road, he’s simply blowing it in the direction of the wind to keep it from drifting again. Snow removal is an art that is much more complex than it appears.
The vintage of the snow blower itself is unknown but my guess is it’s an Oshkosh from the 1940s based upon the cab shape and window placement. If anybody has a better idea, please speak up.
Driving RWD vehicle in the snow? Unpossible!
Everybody born after 1986
That’s a rather broad (and nonconstructive) generalization.
I think James is saying that everyone born after ’86 believes that, not that he believes that.
Can’t remember when I last saw a ’54 Buick at all.
I daily drove a low mileage 1988 Toyota Cressida from 2015-2019. Everyone at work told me I was crazy to drive it in the winter. I never got stuck and never spun out. It was fun to pass stuck AWD and FWD vehicles and see the look on the drivers faces.
“Tires is what win races.”
– Harry Hogge
While I have found FWD is much better in snow than RWD, somehow for the last 15yrs my DD’s have been RWD. Mustangs and 2 wheel drive pick-ups. I always got where I was going and passed many a AWD or 4wd stuck in the median or off to the side of the road.
Come to think of it, in the 70+ vehicles I’ve owned, I’ve never owned a AWD or 4wd. Owned plenty of FWD, though.
While I got by for a long time with RWD just fine, I sure prefer having a 4×4. It can make what would normally be white-knuckle driving downright fun at times. Though my wife may not agree. 😉
You could show them to @iowahawkblog on twitter with the hashtag #DavesCarIDService. He’s quite good at that sort of thing.
The top photo is superb.
Indeed it is. It has so many good things going on.
Earlier this morning I spent some time digging deeper into the FB page I referenced above. All the pictures there come from the Missouri State Archive, meaning they should be in the public domain, and there are some good ones, such as an auto carrier full of new 1958 Edsels. We may be seeing more.
We used to own a house in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains at 6800’ above sea level (about 2000 metres) and our subdivision had an old Oshkosh blower that had led a previous life as an airport runway blower. I recall a similar cab profile. When it worked, it could blow a lot of snow but wasn’t really suitable for our cambered, potholed and steep twisty roads. Not to mention any driver we hired had to endure lack of heating and be a good mechanic. It was eventually replaced with a 4wd loader with a plow plus bucket and blower attachments. I looked for pictures of the Oshkosh but came up empty.
An Osh Kosh was my first guess too but I haven’t been able to match it to any pictures. My second guess was a Walter but I can’t match it to that either.
I’m guessing Sterling and that the “Chevy ’32” hood is at least a tiny nod to the lineage in an application where styling took a back seat to function.
The curved glass seen in the bottom pic of a V-blade truck pic looks to be a “Dodge cab” FWD.
Outstanding pics Jason. The first thing I noticed about all three images, is that drifting appeared to be cause of the added accumulation in each photo. For a number of decades, states and provinces have worked to plant trees in these exposed locations like these to help prevent wind blown accumulation and whiteouts.
There is a website that documents the road and construction history of Ontario, and it has many similar pics of vintage road building and maintenance equipment.
The part of Missouri where these were taken has endured a lot of vegetation removal over time and it hasn’t gotten much better, so drifting is a real thing. I’ve seen two inch snows create six foot drifts with the right conditions. This part of the state is also home to a slew of windfarms as wind turbines have sprouted like alfalfa. The terrain is gently rolling so any breeze goes a long way.
I’m starting to see more snowfences around me the past few years along the interstates. Used to be pretty common when I was a kid but seemed to fall out of favor for some reason.
Our area is very flat. The roads are built above grade so they tend to blow clear instead of drift.
Oh, neat! Whoever took that first pic really nailed it.
Doesn’t look like the plow driver has much of a defogger to work with; note the open window. Doesn’t look like he minds much, either. (“That’s the way it was and it was good enough for us! We liked it just fine!”)
Defogger? He doesn’t even have side mirrors!
These images are a great reminder of how far we’ve come in making winter driving considerably less hazardous than it once was. So many advances in weather prediction, road safety and engineering, highway maintenance, tire quality and traction, safety features on cars like ABS, front wheel drive, and all wheel drive. As well as mobile communication, satellite tracking, and driver assistance. Plus, many regions don’t experience the regular severe winter weather that used to be so common and deadly.
Back in the days of rear wheel drive full-sized cars with bias ply tires, and many drivers not aware of how to control skids, deadly accidents from cars being hit broadside by approaching traffic was quite common. Or people being snowbound in disabled cars, with no means of communication for help. Thankfully, we’ve come a very long way.
Outstanding pictures! And Gentry County is one of the 42 Missouri counties that I haven’t been to yet. Someday.
Snow removal certainly is an art. Back in 2000, I lived in North Carolina when we got a 2-ft. snowstorm… pretty much unheard-of there. Cities and the State had snowplows, which typically were used once or twice a year for light snowfall. No one had any idea what to do with 2′ of snow, and some of the mistakes made were amusing to northerners. For example, the State plowed I-40, but not the exits, so no one could get off the highway… the Raleigh airport didn’t have snowplows that could fit through the gates of the parking lots, so those lots never got plowed, and try getting your car out of that situation!
Whenever I feel like complaining about snow removal, I think of having to deal with that mess for a few weeks until it all melted.
No matter how often George tried to explain it, she simply would not believe that Harry had meant the Buick when he mentioned he’d seen George getting blown west of Stanberry.
What great photos, especially the first one.
That Buick probably had Dynaflow, and that helped in winter with its “gentle” acceleration. Add bias-ply, but dedicated, snows, and that heavy car was fine on level, plowed roads. Just keep from jabbing the power assisted brakes too hard.
Is it a 3 or 4 holer?
The colour quality is much than in most photos from the fifties. Any indication of film type or format?
I don’t know, but if I can hazard a guess… Kodachrome.
Kodachrome was such a thing that Paul Simon wrote a hit song about it. It was just that big. No one has written a hit song about their cool easily deleted digital photos that they took on their I phone.