Snow Day!

CJ-3B snowplows at work... and a mystery.


Chicago, 1959

Skokie IL, 1959
This Chicago Sun-Times photo was taken on 21 January 1959, and published on 22 January with this caption:

"Even a snowplow needed digging out. Joseph Sorci, custodian of the Jane Stenson School in Skokie, rescues Jeep from drifts. Many commuters were late for work because they had to shovel paths for their autos before they could drive to the railroad stations."

The photographer was Howard Lyon, who was assistant chief photographer when he retired from the Sun-Times in 1982 with 32 years of service; he died in 1994. Lyon noted on the photo that this school in Skokie, on the north side of Chicago, did not close for the day.

Chicago, 1967The National Weather Service confirms that on 21 January 1959, "A winter storm produced 8 to 12 inches of snow across the northern third of Illinois. Further south, a 70 mile wide area, from Jerseyville to Danville, received 1/2 to 1 inch of ice accumulation. Thousands of homes were without power for several days."

Statistics from the Farmer's Almanac show that the temperature in the area was just below freezing on Wednesday, the 21st, with rain and drizzle observed, as well as snow and ice pellets. The next day it turned much colder, so school caretaker Joseph Sorci was probably glad he got all the snow cleared on the Wednesday.

The biggest single snowfall in Chicago recorded by the National Weather Service was 23 inches on 26-27 January, 1967. Lakeshore Drive after the 1967 storm is seen in this photo courtesy of Chuckman's Chicago Nostalgia.

Chicago, 1967And according to Graphical Climatology of Chicago, the average annual snowfall in Chicago from 1885-2011 has been about 34 inches. The years 1977 and 1978 were the two years with the most total snowfall on record (over 80 inches).

Looks like the kids did get a day off in 1967. This photo of the record snowstorm was taken at Foster and Kenmore Avenues (source unknown.)

Montreal, 1953

City of MontrealMontreal gets a lot of snow (an average of 82.5 inches annually) so the City has a large fleet of snow removal equipment. The Roads Department had at least one CJ-3B in their fleet in the 1950s. The Jeep and its Koenig hardtop must have been almost brand new when this photo was taken in 1953.

Federico Cavedo found the photo at the Montreal City Archives (under CC.)

Snowblower, 1955

Snowblower 1955 Another hardtop 3B outside its garage, this one with a massive snowblower. The lettering on the hood reads "Brede Snow Remover and Loader" and the manufacturer was Brede Products Inc. of Minneapolis. Willys had announced the product in 1953, saying that it could operate in deep snow at 20 MPH, and throw snow 40 to 70 feet. See a rear view (60K JPEG) showing the auxiliary F-head engine used to power the snowblower.


ConnecticutMiddletown CT actually tends to get a bit more snow than Chicago, with the historical annual average being 36 inches.

Middletown got this snowfall in 2012, and Gary Keating took a picture after clearing the basketball court with his 1961 CJ-3B.

OntarioTed Jordan is also in Connecticut, and says, "There's nothing like a Willys to push snow -- I have had a bunch of 'em (470K JPEG) over the years and they work great with the 538's and a set of military weed chains and a ton of weight in the back. They're unstoppable. My little 3B is one of my favorites -- it's actually a Navy Jeep with a big brass tag on firewall, kinda rough but just the way I like 'em!"

New Jersey

MorningOne morning in early 2003, John Belden got up to find the first big snowfall in New Jersey since he got the bodywork and paint done on his 1962 CJ-3B. Although he'd been plowing with the Jeep since 1995, it was going to look a lot sharper now.

See the action shots in First Snow of the Year on CJ3B.info.

CJ3B.info Headquarters

OntarioThis is how I keep the driveway clear so our mail carrier (220K JPEG) can reach the editorial home of CJ3B.info, on Oconto Lake in Eastern Ontario.

See more action shots of my High Hood in the Snow.

Lil Willy

WyomingDave Pete built a snowplow mount for Lil Willy in 2016. This shot comes from Dave's video of Lil Willy plowing in the Wyoming wind.

Ski Jeep

John GreerJohn Greer loves the outdoors and has the perfect vehicle for getting to the trailhead with the cross-country skis. His 1953 3B has a 6-foot Meyer plow.

And a Meyer Mystery

MeyerFred Coldwell and Daron Wanberg located this old photo of a CJ-3B with what is identified as an experimental stainless steel plow made by Meyer Products.

Meyer apparently worked closely with Willys-Overland from the very beginning on snowplows for Jeeps, and the chrome-loaded 3B seen here may belong to Edward Meyer, the inventor of the car-mounted snow plow in 1927.

Check out the rear-mounted Ramsey winch, steering wheel, radio aerial, chrome windshield, auxiliary lighting, and other tantalizing details. Not to mention two spare wheels, with a spare tire mounted only on the one on the driver's side. And the side curtain for the soft top installed only on the passenger side. The exact date of this photo, apparently taken at the Meyer factory, is unknown. Anybody have any further information?

Thanks to all the photographers. -- Derek Redmond

Also on CJ3B.info, see CJ-3B Snow Jeeps.

Return to CJ-3Bs in History or to Unusual Photos on CJ3B.info.

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Last updated 6 December 2020 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond