Record Snow: Snowbound in the Springs

    Snow has been light so far this winter, but that wasn't the case in 1913. Here's a look at how that blizzard pounded Colorado Springs and surrounding areas.

    1913 snow storm
    1913. Photo by Stewarts Commercial Photographers, Courtesy of Special Collections, Pikes Peak Library District 

    It was early December 1913 when a monster snowstorm struck Colorado’s Front Range with a record-breaking fury. The storm descended on Colorado Springs Dec. 4 and worsened, blasting the city “with doubled force” the following day, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. “Automobiles were replaced by sleighs,” the newspaper reported, “and pedestrians took to skis and snow plows.” But it wasn’t merely a cozy day or two in a winter wonderland, especially in the days before deicing fluid and front-end loaders. The storm killed countless livestock, crushed several rooftops—including the Antlers Livery—and shut down the street car system, leaving scores of residents marooned. Manitou Springs and Colorado City were cut off. Repair costs and business losses were immense. The Gazette reported 28 inches of snow measured at the Colorado College weather bureau. National Weather Service data lists 24.6 inches, enough to keep December 1913 ranked today as the city’s 10th snowiest month on record.  

    By the Numbers

    $1.50 Price of rubber overshoes, or “storm boots,” in 1913

    25.6 inches Colorado Springs’ record 24-hour snowfall on Mar. 11, 1909

    45.7 inches Denver snowfall Dec. 1-5, 1913, still the city’s record storm total 

    50 mph Wind speed in Colorado Springs on Dec. 5, 1913 

    $50,000 Cost in structural damage from the 1913 blizzard, equal to about $1.2 million today