Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Show Goes On at the Depot in the Blizzard of 1888

Tomorrow, it will be 122 years since the notorious Blizzard of 1888, which we noted on my New England Travels blog with this post last year. One consequence was a disruption in theatre.

A small troupe called the Hi Henry Minstrels, whose star and owner was cornet-playing Colonel Hiram P. Henry were slated to the play the Opera House in Holyoke, Massachusetts, but the high drifts of snow stranded their train between Northampton and the Mt. Tom Railroad station in Smith’s Ferry. Knowing the show must go on, they walked the rest of the way to town, but first stopping to warm up at the Smith’s Ferry depot.

So relieved to have made it even that far, they broke into song and entertained other stranded folks with their medicine show brand of music. It was customary anyway for the Hi Henry Minstrels to play in the streets in a sort of impromptu parade to get people to follow them to the theater. No such luck this day.

The show did go on at the Opera House, but to a practically empty house. One wonders if they had left a larger audience back at the train depot.

Note: Photo of the Holyoke Opera House from Image Museum website.

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