It was a year that set a record for the earliest snowfall and the latest snowfall, when the 1915 Easter weekend found Raleigh in the "grasp of its greatest blizzard."
Cut off from communication with the rest of the world, telephone, telegraph, electric light wires haning in tangled masses around snapped poles; completely obstructing many streets; car system demoralized; and streets themselves standing rivers of half-melted snow; this is the condition into which the severest snow storms on record for the month of April has plunged Raleigh. After groping, working and hoping for a whole day, there is scant promise that Sunday will furnish much relief.
Since the Carolina Light and Power Company turned of its current at the request of Mayor Johnson at 2 o'clock Saturday morning, and since the last click over the telegraph wires of the Western Union at about the same time, Raleigh has been without electric power or telegraphic communication.
Last night, the city loomed up menacingly in darkness complete, save where pale gas lights, lamps and candles flared and flickered. It was a lonely looking Raleigh, too, with few pedestrians on the streets, and they in a monstrous hurry. For places of amusement were closed, and the movies were deserted.
Heavier snows have visited Raleigh on one or two occasions than that which enveloped Raleigh in a thick white cloud for almost seventeen hours. But the snow fall of Friday and Saturday, ten inches in depth, possessed more powers for havoc than even the heaviest. The moisture laden flakes settled one upon another in an automatic sort of packing process. Had it been the usual dry snow of this section, the continuous fall for seventeen hours would have totalled from fifteen to eighteen inches, according to the local Weather Bureau....
When Raleigh waked up Saturday morning, it was to see the city in the clutches of the severest blizzard of its history. The snow melting under foot and falling heavily from above made walking difficult and disagreeable. Telegraph poles stretched across almost every street and sometimes at intervals of every thirty yards obstructed traffic. The work of repairing the damage done was begun immediately. But it was slow, slow toil. Every available man on the systems of the Bell Telephone Company, the Western Union, the Postal, the Raleigh Telephone Company was put to work on the streets.
At eleven o'clock, according to Mr. Paul A. Tillery, assistant general manager of the Carolina Power and Light Company everything was in readiness to turn on power. But to Mayor Johnson, there appeared great danger in this. He directed the following to the Carolina Power and Light Company.
"As mayor of the city of Raleigh, recognizing the fact that there may be danger in having the electric current turned on tonight, after careful thought and consideration, notwithstanding the fact that you state that you are ready to turn on the same, as a matter of the greatest precaution and protection to life and property, I respectfully request that you do not turn on any current tonight." -- The News & Observer 4/4/1915
A traveler who was able to make it in from Durham by rail reported that conditions there were just as bad.
"The engineer told me that he had picked enough wire out of his wheels between here and Greensboro to wire the entire city of Raleigh," reported Mr. Will X. Coley, who came into the city from Durham Saturday morning. It took two hours to make the trip. Cautiously, the train moved along the line, stopping every now and then. Poles were across the track and to have sped on at the usual rate would have damaged the entire train and its load of human freight.
"Everything is out of commission in Durham," said Mr. Coley to a Times representative Saturday morning. "The street cars have stopped and the lights are out."
Mr. Coley reported that he was informed the entire country between here and Greensboro was in the grip of the blizzard. In Durham the storm descended and the wind blew. The Bull City is certainly a sister sufferer with this city and this is one time that neither city has it on the other. -- The Raleigh Times 4/3/1915