The other day I awoke to a misty morning down in the hollow and it reminded me of the old Ozarkian saying that “the fogs of August are the snows of winter.” Naturally, this led my mind to the legendary snow of March, 1968 when my mother was eight months pregnant and living in an apartment on Spring Street. She was afraid that if she went into labor, transportation would be an issue.
I’ve heard and read that local snow fall amounts ranged from 16 to 24 inches, but the main problem was a driving wind that created snow drifts of mind-boggling depths. I did some research trying to ascertain if the old stories were true and found a reference to the snow storm on the front page of the March 13, 1968 Northwest Arkansas Times. It says, in part, that “highway department workers attempting to clear a lane between Berryville and Eureka Springs drove a snow plow into a 17 foot drift.” The massive snowdrift was at the top of Bluebird Hill and the plow became stuck, as did the road grader that came to the rescue.
That morning, Mac Weems was driving to a bulldozing job and encountered the “commotion” on Highway 62 caused by the snowdrift. He turned around and drove down the Old Berryville Highway (now County Road 306, though the bridge that was there then has since fallen into Kings River) to James Garrett’s shop, where his big Allis-Chalmers bulldozer was stored. Later, the area Arkansas Highway Department foreman caught up with Mac and asked if he would get the two graders out and clear the snow drift. Not having his truck and trailer, he had to drive the dozer at a slow crawl up Highway 62 from near Kings River to the top of the hill.
He says the hard part of clearing the drift was being careful not to hook the abandoned cars buried under the snow with the dozer blade. It took awhile, but he was able to clean it up and drove the bulldozer home to his house in Eureka, clearing a few driveways along the way.