November is one of those months when Mother Nature can play tricks on us, having crisp sunny weather followed a short time later by cold rains and a mini-blizzard, thus upsetting a lot of travel plans. It has happened before, as in November of 1911, when we are told that temperatures during a windy storm dropped over sixty degrees in one day, seriously effecting many communities in the central Illinois area. The following report about that storm appeared in the November 13 issue of the Daily Pantagraph:
"There was a deluge of rain and a heavy windstorm at Lexington, with wires blown down and trees blown over. At the farm of Joseph Hester, southeast of the city, much damage was done. All of the buildings about the place, except for the residence, were badly depleted by wind and blown over. The chimney and porch were completely blown off the house.
At LeRoy and Saybrook, the lightning was unusually keen, and it hailed and sleeted heavily. The wind and lightning made much trouble for telephone and telegraph companies everywhere.
West of Bloomington, there were reports of tombstones being blown over and orchards being uprooted by the cold wind. The town of Stanford was in the direct path of the storm and much havoc was wrought in property, and several people were injured by flying timbers.
Interurban cars in the Peoria-Bloomington division of the Illinois Traction System were held up by the havoc wrought by the storm. From about five o'clock Saturday until early Sunday, there were no cars running in either direction.” The interurban was a busy means of travel at that time, and if heavy wind and lack of electricity stopped the train, riders simply had to wait for a break in the weather. This storm stalled a Wesleyan ball team as they were returning from Peoria.
“The players attempted to leave on the 7 o’clock interurban but it did not get out until about 10 o’clock; the train got as far as Mackinaw. For about five hours, the players and other passengers attempted to keep warm out in the country in the car while the snow and sleet and rain were being driven by a heavy wind. At about 4 o’clock the power came back on and the train was run back to Peoria, where the team took a rail train back to Bloomington.
An interurban headed to Bloomington from Decatur had only reached Heyworth when the storm hit. “The car was unable to proceed further and here the passengers were compelled to remain for nineteen hours before they could resume their trip. There being no hotel there, the passengers remained on the car or stayed in the interurban depot”...until a local restaurant opened for breakfast.
At one point, Lexington residents were very hopeful that an interurban line would be run to this city. After reading this report, it crossed my mind when the power went out during our recent storm that sitting here in a warm living room was much more appealing than the thought of being stranded somewhere for hours in a cold interurban car. Brrrrr!