It came with very little warning. The Big Snow of 1967. Experts said it was
not a blizzard because by definition a blizzard had to include stronger
sustained winds. So we all learned to call it the Big Snow---the VERY BIG
In the Tribune that week stories told that NIPSCO had announced that
its atomic generating plant would be the first in Indiana, Liberty High
School was presenting “The Sound of Music,” Westport area residents were
discussing incorporation, local schools offered modern math for adults,
Jackson High School was runner-up to Hebron in the Porter County basketball
tourney, Bethlehem Steel said its five year expansion plan would cost $500
million, 8,542 Americans had died in Vietnam so far and there was concern
about funds for the new Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in the national
In the days leading up to the storm the weather was unseasonably warm with
some temperatures in the 60s. Thursday, January 26, 1967 started as normal.
Commuters took the South Shore with no thought of needing boots. Children
went off to school. Stores opened and the Tribune staff began the
normal routine of getting out a paper.
Snow started in the morning and accumulated fast enough that area schools
closed at noon. The Tribune reported in that day’s paper that Indian
Boundary Road had drifted shut by press time. And it kept right on snowing.
Thursday’s paper was printed but most remained undelivered as roads became
impassable. Friday morning a decision was made not to publish but to begin
covering the storm.
By Monday the mills were running but schools were still closed. Stories told
of people stranded in cars or spending nights in offices, schools and
stores. Helicopters were used in some emergencies and pictures showed people
using horse drawn sleighs, snow shoes, sleds and skis for transportation.
Trucks hauled away huge piles of snow from downtown Chesterton where parking
meters were almost covered. Postponed events including at least one wedding
began to be re-scheduled. Freezing rain hampered clean up efforts.
The Wednesday, February 1 issue of the Tribune told Good Samaritan
stories of people helping people. Some rural roads were still being opened
up. Street departments in the towns began to widen streets and open alleys.
Schools made plans to reopen on Thursday but forecasts predicted more snow.
Liberty school reopened on Friday with good attendance. An ice storm caused
other schools to remain closed and to announce that they would reopen on
Monday, February 6 with some bus routes altered.
They did open Monday in spite of six more inches on snow on Sunday.
In the Wednesday, February 8 Tribune, Superintendent of Westchester
Schools Dr. Karl Speckhard announced that students would not be required to
make up for the time lost to the Big Snow.
Things were getting back to normal but high winds on February 15 damaged the
roof of the new building for American Legion Post 170 on Wabash Ave.
It was Tuesday, February 21 before it was announced that the South Shore
passenger schedule which had been curtailed since the Big Snow was back to
To cap off the 1967 winter season the basketball sectional was scheduled to
start at Goldsborough Gym on Thursday, February 23. The forecast was for
occasional light snow with a high temperature of 26. A shuttle bus was to
operate from the Junior High parking lot on Fifth Street to the gym.
The games were played as planned but a snow storm with strong winds hit the
area during the evening. Fans and players were advised to stay in the gym as
roads were blowing shut. The band Changing Tymes managed to get to the gym
with their instruments and an impromptu dance entertained people. The snack
bar stayed open and Barbara’s Pastry Shop sent breakfast rolls.
Custodians reported that the gym was finally cleared by 5 a.m. Buses from
other schools made their way home with help from various officials. Similar
things happened at other sectional sites in northern Indiana.
Local schools closed on Friday.
The sectional continued as scheduled with Valparaiso beating Chesterton
55-47 for the championship.
Weather did not
interfere but the Saturday afternoon game between Valparaiso and Jackson was
interrupted by a fire alarm.