Winter Weather vs. Wedding, 1928

Posted on January 29, 2016 by

This cute, spring-like little chiffon dress seems like an unlikely avenue for talking about a snowstorm, but a search of our collections for the word “blizzard” offered it up nonetheless.

Flower girl dress, donated by Bernice Weinstein. JMM 2003.63.1

Flower girl dress, donated by Bernice Weinstein. JMM 2003.63.1

The dress was made by Etta Cohen Adelberg for her young daughter, Eva, to wear in Etta’s brother Ben Cohen ’s wedding to Zelda Greenberg.  The ceremony was held at Shaarei Zion on Park Heights Avenue on January 29, 1928 … in the aftermath of a city-crippling blizzard that had hit the day before.

Though it does not appear in “Worst Storms” lists today, the January 28, 1928 blizzard was a major one for Baltimore.  The summary article in the Sun, published on the 29th, was dramatically headlined:


Only Annapolis and Frederick Arteries Open After Blizzard.


15-Inch Fall Recorded, Autos Stranded, Cars Delayed, Ships Halted.

It was the first big storm of the season for the east coast, with the Washington-Baltimore area being the worst hit; the infamous Knickerbocker Storm of 1922, in which 98 Washingtonians died when the roof of the Knickerbocker Theater collapsed, was fresh in the minds of Maryland residents.  Thankfully, though the 1928 storm was “rather unexpected,” the Sun reported only one death in the area, an elderly woman in Frederick.

“A hundred snow plows sent out by the State Roads Commission were unable to cope with the drifts which in some paces rose to a height of ten feet,” the Sun reported on the 29th, and automobile traffic was essentially halted – but streetcars and buses were able to operate by the next day, and the city directed some post-storm efforts toward  “[blocking off] some roads through Baltimore’s parks … to allow children to sled in safety.”

And in the meantime, some events went on as planned – like a wedding in Park Heights.

Though Ben and Zelda Cohen were well-known in Baltimore society in the 20th century, in part because of their involvement with Pimlico Raceway (Ben was a co-owner of the track, and they both owned and raced thoroughbreds), I’ve not found any info about the wedding itself, other than the story about the blizzard that came with little Eva’s flower girl dress. I’m dying to know more – were most guests able to get in, thanks to cleared sidewalks and the still-running Park Heights streetcar?  How did Zelda and Ben feel on the 28th, watching the progress of nature’s wedding present?  And was Eva warm enough??

JoannaA blog post by Collections Manager Joanna Church. To read more posts by Joanna click HERE.

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