The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

September 25th, 2013

Sleet Storm of 1949

Springhill RecordMar. 17, 1949 Sleet Storm Damages Power – Telephone Lines

     Over 400 telephones in the Springhill telephone exchange were damaged and over 100 poles were done following the sleet storm Friday and Saturday which totally disrupted long distance services and put nearly half the local telephones out of order.  It is expected the temporary repairs will get the whole system back into operation by Saturday night, according to a statement given The Record by Mr. Clyde Dickie, who is in charge of the local system.

Toll Lines Working – Five construction crews and two capable crews were rushed to Springhill from Halifax, New Glasgow and Truro, and by Sunday the toll lines were working again after temporary repairs had been effected.  The crews working on the toll lines experienced great difficulty in working on the Westchester Mountain and at Windham where the roads had drifted in and the services of the government snowplow had to be secured before repairs could be carried out.  The linesmen, however, were pleased with the cooperation given them by the highway department in opening roads.

The Local Situation – The local services are still badly disrupted but it is expected that service will be fully resumed by Saturday evening.  Over a 1000 ft. of cable had to be replaced on Victoria Street.  On top of the hills the poles went down like nine pins under the terrific load of ice.  Falling trees added to the strain on the wires and poles and did a great deal of damage.

     On Herrett Road citizens reported tearing their phones from the wall as fire broke out in the coil due to the power lines fouling the telephone wires.  While this situation is dangerous Mr. Dickie felt that as soon as the coil burned out, giving out clouds of smoke and a strong odor, the danger had passed.

Officials Here – Among the Company officials who were in Springhill during the week were Mr. G. Starrett, General Plant Manager, Halifax; Mr. S. Fredericks, General Superintendent of Maintenance for Nova Scotia; M.L. Woodside, District Plant Superintendent; John Boyd, section foreman, remained in Springhill to supervise the work.

Power Lines Down – The power lines also suffered severe damage during the sleet storm and Manager Wm. Pippy told The Record that about a dozen poles were down in the town and about 20 in the rural districts of Leicester and Windham.  Falling trees added greatly to the breaking of the lines.  Service, said Manager Pippy, was quite normal again by Sunday evening, and it was expected the street lighting would be fully resumed by today in all sections.

Extra Crews Here – Two extra work crews were rushed to Springhill to help cope with the storm.  One large construction crew is still here but it was expected their work would be completed by today or Friday. 

     Commenting on the storm Mr. Pippy expressed the opinion that the damage to the local system would cost between three and five thousand dollars.  He felt it was the worse sleet storm he had experienced since coming to Springhill in 1947.  His first experience was on May 1, 1947, the day after he took over his duties here, when a sleet storm tied up the town.  He spoke highly of the manner in which his men carried out repairs under difficult conditions, working twelve hours a day and continuing through Sunday without a let up until service was resumed throughout the town.

     W.E. Heffernan was a well known poet of Springhill.  One of his poems entitled “Dear Old Halifax” was set to music by Bandmaster Lampert and was presented to King Edward.  W.E. Heffernan also composed the “In Memoriam,” a nine verse poem which was read at the unveiling of the Miners Monument on Sept. 11, 1894 by the Governor General and the Prime Minister of Canada.  He also wrote the poem “Hillside Cemetery”.