Snow in ’49

A picture on this blog of snow in Upland in January 1949 (see it here) was seen by Steve Graves of Northern California, who was poking around online to confirm memories of a childhood snow he witnessed in Chino that was probably the same year.

I’ll let him tell it.

“I lived at the Boys Republic at the time. My father was director. I recall awaking in the morning and seeing snow across the entire valley to Mt. Baldy. There was a layer of dark smoke from the smudge pots laying across Pomona and the foothills.

“I think I was in the first grade. The other staff children at the Boys Republic took two days off school and played in the snow. It lasted well during the two days and didn’t begin melting in earnest until the second day. Sledding the Chino hills was quite fun, as I recall; great snowmen as well. I wish I had a picture of the view from BR to Mt. Baldy across the valley. It was white as far as the eye could see.

“Do you have any resources that I might review to refresh my memories of that event? I know you mention microfilm at the library but I am now far from the valley.

“Thanks for your consideration. By the way, I was interested to see posts by Bob House. I knew his son at Claremont HS and Bob at Cal Poly and from the Claremont area.”

Bob who? Just kidding. As for the snow, if anyone has a photo of the event in question, send it over and I’ll post it here. I’m wondering if Boys Republic might have such photos.

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  • don anderson

    My family moved from Minnesota to the San Gabriel Valley in the late spring of 1949 and folks were still talking about the snow that had fallen earlier that year. Kids had been let out of school, so they were excited about it, too.

    Since we were brand new to Southern California, we had no knowledge of Euclid Avenue, or the Inland Empire, but that must have been when the picture was taken.

    I know that my testimony is only hearsay but here it is, anyway.

    [And we’re glad to have it. — DA]

  • Bob House

    I enjoyed the shout out from Steve Graves, one of Claremont’s more notable “cool guys” in the 60s. Just to clarify, it was me at Claremont High, but my dad, Henry, at Cal Poly. Hi Steve!

    On the previous post you referenced above, I mentioned a Fraser’s post card I periodically see on Ebay of two girls in downtown Claremont in the snow in the late 40s. Also, found this from Claremont Colleges digital archives specifically showing the 1949 snow — quite a bit of it in fact:

  • RK

    Here is a link to some digital stories of Rancho Cucamonga. If you scroll down a bit, Catherine Bridge talks about (accompanied by a couple of photos) “The Day it Snowed in Rancho Cucamonga”. It was back in 1949.

    [Thanks, RK. This is becoming quite the multimedia comment thread! — DA]

  • Dee

    Quite some time back the Chino Champion printed some pictures of the snow fall. If I remember right, it was a picture of what was then called the “goat house” (now a Walgreen’s).

  • Steve Graves

    Thanks to all for the interesting pictures and additional resources.

    Bob, sorry for the confusion on names. Of course I remember both you and your dad. My mother, now almost 91, worked at Cal Poly for several years and remembers your dad well. He was also very helpful to me while I was a student there. As for you…I remember well you and fellow Wolfpack linemen during spring practice of my Sr. year. Wasn’t Ron Cox in your class? He has been my dentist here in Santa Rosa for years and recently (sort of) retired.

    Thanks, too, to David for hosting this most interesting site.

  • I remember not long after the Metrolink San Bernardino line opened it snowed in San Dimas and La Verne. 3 days later, there was still snow along the tracks near Arrow Highway and San Dimas Canyon Road.

  • Robin Towne

    David, the Pomona Library historical images collection contains at least these two images taken from Ganesha Hill on the day of the snowstorm January 10, 1949. My parents and grandparents were new arrivals from Chicago, and used to tell the tale of the only day they saw snow in Pomona.

    Looking south, western Pomona and Chino Hills. The grassy hills look very white.,1208

    From Ganesha Hills looking north over LA County Fairgrounds.,1211

    If the links don’t work, go to the library website, historical images collection, and search: Hills 1949 to find them.

  • Allan

    On Robin’s comment: if the links don’t work, this Basement (Drow) Elf will need to have a friendly discussion with a webserver. Thankfully it seems to be ok.

    The 1949 Pomona High yearbook has a couple of what appears to be snow images as well:,7093,7181

  • Robin

    Let me be more clear. To search or browse the Pomona Library online photographic collections, this is the home page.

    Thanks everyone for sharing the photos you have found. Fun!

    I need a new computer to view the high school yearbooks. Apparently my computer’s operating system is outdated for the new photo category. Oh well.

  • Just ran across your recollection of the snow in 1949. It was a major event in my life. Living in Claremont at the time I was 6 years old and to this day recall the snow that fell. Soon after our family moved to Whittier. That snow began my intense interest in weather. It led to a career as a forecaster in the National Weather Service, which included 36 years forecasting tornadoes for the U.S. from the Storm Prediction Center. I retired last summer and now reside in beautiful Star Valley WY where I am still active through my web site

    Jack Hales

    [Wow! That’s quite a tale, Jack. Career paths are often formed by childhood experiences, and a very unusual weather pattern formed yours. Cool (literally). Thanks for the comment and adding your thoughts. — DA]