For years, York countians have eyed amazing, destructive Susquehanna River ice jams

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York countian L.O. Buckner took a 35mm slide of a January 1959 ice breakup along the Susquehanna in the Wrightsville area. (More photos below.) Background posts: Readers tell about those blizzards of 1993, 1996, Temporary river art collection may find permanent home along Susquehanna and Long Level and Pleasureville fielded bands? and York County’s ‘uncommon,’ deadly snowfall of 1772: ‘The poor animals struck through’ and Ice upon ice pic tells chilly tale of York County’s 1996 blizzard

Jim Buckner of New Canaan, Conn., passed along photos of massive ice piles along the Susquehanna River. He gleaned them from his father’s collection of York County scenes.

“Although I’m a native Yorker, I’ve been away from the city for a half century and don’t know whether changes in the climate cycle have deleted this spectacular, albeit destructive, event from the county almanac or not,” he wrote… .


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His late father was longtime engineering executive at Met-Ed and a longtime York countian.
After he retired, photography became L.O. Buckner’s hobby, and he patrolled York County’s main roads and back roads.
Jim Buckner went through hundreds of his father’s slides looking for images that might pass as historical. He thought these ice breakup photos fit that category.
Of the breakup, Jim Buckner wrote: “But it was quite a show at the time. The two-foot thick slabs of ice boomed like cannon fire as they expanded over the river banks carrying – as you can see – the local real estate with them.”
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Ice on the Susquehanna River has been a topic of interest – and concern – for years. It took out the first bridge spanning the river in 1832. And the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge, built in 1930, was constructed so its supports lined up with those of the piers of the successor bridges to those knocked out by ice.
And many people remember the massive ice islands that jammed Long Level in 1996.
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About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
This entry was posted in Archives, all posts, Bad weather, Events, Explanations/controversy, For photo fans, Genealogy/research, Mail bag, Nostalgia & memories, People, Wheels of York. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to For years, York countians have eyed amazing, destructive Susquehanna River ice jams

  1. Heather says:

    I remember the ice jam in 1996. I live near the river and although we are far enough away that our property doesn’t flood, it was pretty close that year. The water level was right at the bottom of our yard. Craziest thing I have ever seen!

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