The Buried History of Snow Removal in Denver


Thanks -- great article and photos! And timely, as we slog through a bit of snow this 1st weekend of March.

This makes us very appreciative of modern snow removal. I am old enough to remember seeing a sand truck drive slowly while two men with shovels riding in the back spread
the sand on the street.

In reply to by LaRene Wolfe (not verified)

Seems like a dangerous job! Thanks for reading and commenting, Larene!

great article i wish they go back to the the rock and sand it works better for the streets instead of that mag chloride its no good

Thanks for reading and commenting, John!

A great piece. It helps to have the lens of history on such matters.

An unfortunate by product of street snow clearing can be seen even on this very day, March 6, 2019. City plowing throws snow, salt, and sand on the curb sidewalks on the west side of Colorado Blvd between 6th Avenue and 1st. Most of these property owners have built fences, some with no gates, along the street. Unfortunately, most do not clear their walks as required by city code. This failure occurs even though Colorado Blvd is a bus route. Denver Neighborhood Services, RTD, and the neighborhood organization could help pedestrians and bus riders, some of whom are in wheel chairs, by addressing this longstanding enforcement oversight. There is a myth that Colorado has no sidewalk on the west side. Not true. The sidewalk is partially covered with sand and dirt, another more servere violation of code.

Great story.
Growing up here I remember a lot of road graders pushing snow to the side of the streets, but not many plows.
Those guys throwing sand out of the back of the trucks made perfect arcs on the streets that melted the snow every few feet to give traction on hills.
They stopped putting sand on the streets when it was found to be a significant source of the brown part of the brown cloud after it was ground into a fine dust by the tires of vehicles.

In reply to by Roger D. (not verified)

Thanks for reading and reminiscing, Roger:)

That top picture says it's snow removal in 1960, and I guess that snowblower attachment looks like something from that era, but the truck looks like it's from the 1930s. I wonder if the City was using such old equipment back then?

I don't remember the 1973 snow, I guess it's for the better if the City only had two plows. It must have been tough to get around. I do remember the 1982 blizzard. I lived in Capitol Hill, parked on the street, and after the snow plow came through our narrow street, it left a ridge of snow and ice either side of its plowing path. I had to try to get enough momentum with my car to get over that ridge every time I had to pull out from a parking spot.

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