1922 – Ice Storm Wreaks Havoc

Unprecedented freezing rain and snow assaulted the Midwest February 21-23, 1922. In Wisconsin the central and southern parts of the state were most severely affected, with the counties between Lake Winnebago and Lake Michigan south to Racine being hardest hit. Ice coated trees and power lines, bringing them down and cutting off electricity, telephone and telegraph services. Cities were isolated, roads were impassible, rivers rose, streets and basements flooded, and train service stopped or slowed.

Near Little Chute a passenger train went off the rails, injuring several crew members. Appleton housed 150 stranded traveling salesmen, near Plymouth a sheet of river ice 35 feet long and nearly three feet thick washed onto the river bank, while in Sheboygan police rescued a flock of chickens and ducks from their flooded coop and a sick woman from her flooded home.

Icy streets caused numerous automobile accidents, but the only reported deaths were a team of horses in Appleton that were electrocuted by a fallen power line.

Sources: Wisconsin newspaper accounts, February 22 and 23, including the Appleton Post-Crescent, the Sheboygan Press, Waukesha Daily Freeman, Oshkosh Daily Northwestern.