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The Great Ice Storm of 1886

Icicles through a Portsmouth window
SEACOAST NH HISTORY
January 28-29, 1886

Telegraph and telephone lines were torn down. Tree limbs could be heard crashing to the ground for two days after the great ice storm. Many of the city's beautiful shade trees collpased under the weight, as much as three pounds of ice for a single ounce of tree branch. Luckily the local Davis Brothers photo team was on the job to create these images of "the storm of the century".

 

 

SEE another 1886 photo

EARLY DAVIS BROS PHOTOS
& Three Newspaper Accountants

Ice Storm Photo AdThey called it the ice storm of the century. Amazingly, the images of snow and broken trees show how little downtown Portsmouth has changed in over a century. These images were quickly captured by the Davis Brothers and the Newell Company, competing photographers who provided pictures the Victorian newspapers could not supply.

Within days of the storm the mounted photos became available in downtown shops for 35 cents apiece. These scenes come to us courtesy of the Portsmouth Athenaeum and the Portsmouth Public Library. We've attached three intriguing 1886 newspaper articles that bring the pictures to life. (JDR with newspaper research by Richard Winslow III)

SEE: One more Ice Storm photo

Click to read each article below, scroll down for photos To read captions, place your mouse over the photo.

THE ICE STORM
Reprinted from the Portsmouth Chronicle
Friday January, 29 1886

DESTRUCTIVE BEAUTY
Reprinted from the Portsmouth Daily
Evening Times Friday January 29, 1886

ICE BOUND
Reprinted from The Portsmouth Journal
Saturday, February 6, 1886

Summer Street, Portsmouth, NH

Market Square, Portsmouth, NH

Middle Street, Portsmouth, NH

 

Photos courtesy of the Portsmouth Athe naeum. All rights reserved.

CONTINUE for more ICE STORM 1886 PHOTOS

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