Groundhog Day Blizzard, Chicago, February 2011

Cathy Lundeen

Here is what the ELCA Archives looked like as I arrived for work this morning — two days after the Groundhog Day Blizzard of 2011. Most of Chicagoland received at least 18 inches of snow and the city itself and towns along Lake Michigan received close to two feet of snow. We hardy Midwesterners are used to snow, but this was different. Accompanying the snow for most of Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning were 20-30 mph sustained winds with gusts to more than 50 mph. This explains why it looks like the archives has a small ski slope right outside its conference room windows.

ELCA Archives, February 2011

To give you some perspective here is a photograph of the archives taken in February 2003 — much better weather.

ELCA Archives, 2003

We have a lot of photographs in the collection at the archives. We think that between digital images and prints we have somwehere between 300,000 and — a gazillion. Of those gazillion, here are some other snow-themed photographs we thought you might enjoy.

Snowball fight, deaconesses, Baltimore, Maryland, ca. 1916

You might think being a deaconess was all work and no play, but this photograph proves otherwise — they had time to get in a snowball fight or two.

Augustana Synod Superior Conference Convention, 1911

And these guys — talk about tough. Some of these Lutherans are sitting on the snow banks. Let’s hope they didn’t need too many takes to get the shot.