During January, 1918, over 42 inches of snow fell in the Chicago area. Northwestern was snowed in three times. As the Alumni News reported later, the snow "interfered considerably with the normal program of the Evanston departments of the University...The streets approaching the campus were buried in drifts several feet deep in places so that the passage of vehicles was impossible."
Classes were only cancelled for one day, however--January 14--when the men students from the College of Liberal Arts and the Engineering School, along with faculty and staff, were enlisted to shovel streets around the campus. (Evanston and NU officials worried that fire engines would get stuck or be unable to get to buried fire hydrants.)
About 250 students met at the gymnasium that morning, scavenged the town for shovels, and set to work. Professor Hatfield marked the roadways with a "miscellaneous collection of curtain rods, weather-stripping, and moulding." The volunteer snow brigade cleared the streets from Colfax to Sherman to Clark to Hinman.