Saturday, December 4, 2010

Frank Fowlie with his shovel in 1973

This is a photo of Frank Brown Fowlie (1892-1977). It is dated April 8, 1973 and captioned "Frank shoveling." He is standing in front of the Fowlie home on Black Hawk Lake at 117 Denison Beach Drive, Lake View, Iowa. A bit of research shows me that this was a massive snowstorm setting records and dumping more than 15 inches of snow in some parts of Iowa. On April 11, 1973, UPI attributed the storm with 42 deaths in the Midwest. Frank was over 80 years old, so that's some pretty impressive shoveling.

Interesting things in the photo is the Pontiac in the garage. I noticed the license plate number is 117, matching the house number. I wonder if that was a personalized plate or if that was something that was normal at the time in Iowa. Also noteworthy is the green color of the home. Seems like he painted everything that color.

I tweaked this photo a bit by rotating it 5 degrees and cropping off some of the corners. Clara (Ross) Fowlie was in her mid-70s when she took this photo, so I'll cut her a bit of slack for not holding the camera perfectly level...

The connection to the Brassfield surname is that Frank's daughter married Elvis J. Brassfield.

For more about the storm, see an article about disaster response in Des Moines by the Disaster Research Center, in Ohio. Des Moines got 13" of snow and 50 mph winds creating drifts 8 to 20 feet tall. On top of that, the snow was very wet, 50 pounds per cubic ft instead of normal 5-10 lbs pr cubic ft. Pretty heavy stuff for an 80 year old to shovel!

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