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New York Winter Snow Scenes and Vintage Plowing Videos

Upstate New York and particularly the Buffalo and Tug Hill areas are well known for the lake effect snow storms both encounter. The two spots and other areas along Lake Ontario are traditionally blanketed with record snow falls after storms are driven in off of the Great Lake.

In the last twenty-four hours up to six feet of snow has fallen in parts of New York State, so it seems like a good time to start in on our traditional round of vintage snow storm and snow removal photos. The circa 1930 lead image shows a bus stranded on its way to Montreal, Canada, after becoming stuck in the snow on Route 9, one mile south of Clifton Park Village, New York.

Just above you can view an amazing video of a 1940 color film showing a Walter Snow Fighter in Cayuga County, New York. The truck is equipped with a Roto Wing unit used for widening previously plowed roads just before an Epic storm that winter. Later in the season it is seen in early April at Mohawk Hill in Lewis County. The video is courtesy of Plow Chaser. 

You can also view two remarkable videos showing Walter Snow Fighter Trucks that were posted here on The Old Motor last winter.


This image was taken during mid-winter in Central New York State on the Liverpool-Euclid State Highway, following a three-day storm. The location was in Liverpool, which is in Onondaga County. The photo was taken by Theodore H. Schuelke in 1936, with his wife behind the wheel of the car.


Here are a pair of photos taken in New York City.  The circa-1920 image above was taken by Frank M. Ingalls, an amateur photographer. The scene shows a municipal crawler tractor equipped with a snow plow, and a Mack truck behind it.

The street scene image below was taken on 47th Street in New York City by William J. Roege and shows a pair of taxi cabs. Interestedly the Model T Ford on the right appears to be equipped with a plated Rolls-Royce style radiator shell. If you can identify the maker of any of the other vehicles in this post, please send us a comment. All photos courtesy of the New York State Historical Society.


4 responses to “New York Winter Snow Scenes and Vintage Plowing Videos

    • Not to put too fine a point on it, but the round emblem on the radiator makes me think that this handsome coach is, in fact, a YC (Yellow Coach) apparently a “Y” model. Of course, YC’s were the predecessors of the General Motors buses. YC became a division of General Motors in October, 1943 and the name General Motors Truck & Coach was adopted.

      I’m sure glad I don’t have to dig it out.

  1. My home town in the Adirondacks did not get as much snow as the Tug Hill area but it was heavy at times. We had a 1929 or so Walter Snow Fighter about which I have dim memories, but one sticks in mind that they never used anti-freeze in it. The truck was stored overnight in a shed just around the corner from the driver’s home. It was drained every night and he would go over in the mornings and drive it around to his house, and fill the radiator with a hose from an indoor faucet. Another town truck – a dump truck – was kept filled with sand and two guys would stand in the bed and as it drove around, shoveling out the sand in a herringbone pattern, street after street, road after road, after the plow had passed. (Those guys had arms as big as most men’s legs.) Sometimes the Walter would do double duty as a sand truck. It was retired about 1946, replaced with a FWD.

  2. I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen a Roto-Wing before. Seems like the right tool to push those huge banks WAY back. The skilled driver positions the big “V” plow in just the right spot to feed the snow up to the wing without getting much back onto the roadway, whereupon the big auger blows it into the next county. A pretty neat job!

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