Mount Vernon Popcorn Wagon

A dated image of a popcorn wagon on West Gambier Street in Mount Vernon can be traced to a stormy winter week in 1910.

MOUNT VERNON -- If we've seen a little bit of everything in this year's winter, the story was a little different in the winter of 1910.

A report from The Democratic Banner on Tuesday, Feb. 15, of that year stated, “This winter is far surpassing any for many years in snowfall.” It noted that snow had been on the ground continuously since Christmas and that 15 snowfalls had been recorded, including a foot-deep snow the previous Friday.

In total, storms had given the county a total of 71 inches of snow so far that winter -- and that was before the Wednesday blizzard hit.

The storm hit Wednesday night and continued into the following day. Trains and streetcars were brought to a near standstill by the weather, and the post office reported that four of their rural carriers were unable to get through eight to ten-foot deep drifts in the countryside beyond Mount Vernon.

A society news correspondent from Gambier reported that the village saw a total of 16 inches of snow from the storm, “the deepest snow for 50 years.”

The weather took its toll on people. Mr. C.P. Franks, the financial agent for the Ohio State Sanatorium, made a sled trip into town that Thursday morning, but misjudged a turn where drifting snow had covered over the end of a gulley. When one runner of his sled hit the gulley, it projected Franks out of the vehicle.

Landing on his head and shoulders, Franks received a bad cut on his forehead. Franks was driving a number of sanatorium trustees into town, but none of them were injured in the accident.

Franks was treated for his injuries when the group finally made it downtown.

John Wilson of Martinsburg fell on this ice late in the evening in front of his house, injuring his head and back. He called for help, but no one was out and about in the weather. Wilson finally managed to drag himself back into his house where he waited until a neighbor happened in upon him the following morning. A physician was summoned.

A social correspondent in Waterford reported that residents turned out en masse to shovel the badly drifting roads, knowing that if they didn't, the mail carrier would never have a chance of getting through to their houses.

As shop clerks in Mount Vernon dug out their storefronts and made huge piles of snow in the streets, one wit had the inspiration of placing a sign on a wooden stick and stuck in the top of one of the snow mounds: “North Pole, Discovered by Cook.”

This appears to be a reference to the claim, quickly disproven, that the arctic explorer Frederick Cook had discovered the North Pole in 1908. Cook was also infamous for having staged a photograph of him supposedly summiting Mt. McKinley in Alaska.

The snow pile in Mount Vernon must have been his latest triumph.

The big news of the week, even more than the weather, was the huge fire which had burned down the Mount Vernon Bridge Company on Monday of that week (and which we'll delve into in a future column).

More mundane news included the conviction of G. L. Shannon for forgery of a check in Gambier. When asked by the judge why he committed the crime, Shannon replied that cigarettes made him do it. He was sent off to the Ohio State Reformatory to ponder his addiction.

Through it all, the Mount Vernon popcorn wagon kept popping up drifts of tasty delight.

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