Photos: 40 years ago today, Fort Wayne’s Blizzard of 1978

A car drives through piles of snow during the Blizzard of 78, (News-Sentinel.com file photo)
Snow drifts on Jan. 27, 1978. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)
The News-Sentinel from Jan.y 28, 1978, blizzard, from Marilyn Ondecker's collection of historic News-Sentinel newspapers. Some of the papers were collected by her mother. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)
The News-Sentinel's nameplate from the Jan. 28, 1978, blizzard newspaper, from Marilyn Ondecker's collection of historic News-Sentinel newspapers. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)
The roof of the lawn and garden section of Ayr-Way north, 3801 Coldwater Road, collapsed sometime in the night of Jan. 28, 1978, because of heavily drifting snow. A spokesman said the wind blew snow from the store's main roof onto the lawn and garden section. No one was injured. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)
Work crews freed of traffic snarls clear Coliseum Boulevard near East State Boulevard. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)
After the snowfall, Fort Wayne learned the true meaning of delay. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)
David vs. Goliath: As hundreds of Fort Wayne drivers learned, sometimes all you really need is just a little extra oomph. When this "giant" semitrailer became mired at the intersection of West State Boulevard and Sherman Street, two much smaller "David" light trucks hooked up with a log chain and, with a couple of good tugs, gave the giant Mack tractor enough of a boost to set its wheels rolling. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)
St. Henry's Catholic School on Paulding Road provided a makeshift ski slope for Jeff Grossman, a student at Harding High School and member of the Fort Wayne Ski Club. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)
Kensill Wrecker Service clears abandoned autos. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)
An Oxford Street resident stakes a claim to a parking space after clearing it. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)
A house in the 1100 block of West Hamilton Road is one of many snowbound homes. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)
City crews haul away snow at the intersection of Main and Calhoun streets. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)
Shoppers pack Rogers' Market Jefferson Boulevard on Jan. 27, 1978. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)
Bob Dick glides along Calhoun Street on cross-country skis. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)
Ann Shrock, one of 37 Archbold, Ohio, teens stranded in Fort Wayne after their bus broke down Jan. 25, 1978, reads to Steve Haby, son of Red Cross volunteer Michael Haby The Mennonite Church youth group had traveled to Fort Wayne for a hockey game and ran into mechanical problems and the blizzard. (News-Sentinel file photo)
Some of the thousands of city residents who took to the streets Jan. 27, 1978 - in search of emergency food supplies - trudge along South Anthony Boulevard near McKinnie Avenue. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)
Fire levels the Inland Chemical Corp. warehouse, 1702 Winter St., on Jan. 29, 1978. Heavy snow prevented a quick response from firefighters and later prevented runoff so firefighters were waist-deep in water. A fire captain was treated for frostbite. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)
Contractors work to remove snow from the Southgate Center parking lot. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)
South Anthony Boulevard was almost a no-man's land in this photo first printed Jan. 28, 1978. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)

As former News-Sentinel editor Kerry Hubartt wrote for the 30th anniversary of the blizzard, the newspaper’s front-page story on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 1978, warned readers with the headline: “Major Snowstorm Fort Wayne-Bound.”

The city got 17 inches of snow added to that already on the ground, which wind blew into high drifts. Two reporters, a photographer and a couple of editors who made it to the office put together a 12-page paper, that couldn’t get delivered.

I remember how it snowed. And snowed. And snowed. When my mother opened our front door the next day, it was blocked by a mass of white snow.

The 9-year-old me didn’t know what a logistical nightmare this Blizzard of 1978, as it’s now known, would be, with streets overrun with snow so people couldn’t get through to work, the grocery, anywhere. I only knew that I had my little orange snow shovel, and I dug a snow cave in the front yard. On the slope in the backyard, I built a snow chair.

A young man came to our door, I seem to remember on skis. He offered to go to the grocery for us. He took money from my skeptical mother, and returned later in the day with the goods from Roger’s.

It meant no school, but I remember trudging along the sidewalk between piles of snow to walk a block to St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 4500 Fairfield Ave., for Mass. We were among maybe a couple of dozen parishioners who made it to services in the large church.

Here are photos our hardworking staff took during the Blizzard of 1978.

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