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St. Clair Shores

Published January 29, 2014

A Winter's Drive on Jefferson Avenue in 1947

» click to enlarge «

Source: Cynthia Bieniek, archivist at the St. Clair Shores Public Library
Photo Courtesy of the St. Clair Shores Historical Commission

Through the centuries, the hazards of traveling along Jefferson Avenue during the winter months have plagued motorists, pioneer settlers with their horse-drawn wagons and Native Americans who followed the river path on their old Indian trail. In this 1947 photograph, a car maneuvers the slippery highway near the intersection of Jefferson and Masonic. Open drainage ditches, no curbs, poor street lighting and snow made for a hazardous driving experience. The late historian Gus Blumline remembered the gasoline station on the corner that is partially visible in the photograph. There has been a succession of gasoline stations at this location dating to the present day.

According to the 1882 History of Macomb County by Leeson, the Chippewa and Wyandot Native Americans living in this area pointed out the years 1755 and 1775 as years of great snows. Within pioneer memory, the snow of 1822-23 was the heaviest. It fell to a depth of four feet and was accompanied with such an icy current that large numbers of deer, wolves and bears perished.

The largest seasonal snowfall in the Detroit area, according to the National Weather Service, came in the winter of 1925-26 when a total of 78 inches fell. Severe snowstorms also occurred in 1875, 1878, 1884, 1900 and 1929. This photograph and other images are available to view through the Digital Media Archive on

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