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Muddled history of the Snogo

Folklore and facts met head-to-head on the history of Kandiyohi County's Snogo snowplow.

Many in the county Highway Department had believed the plow was purchased in January of 1941 in response to the historic Armistice Day Blizzard in November of 1940. That storm killed 49 Minnesotans and created 20-foot snowdrifts in Willmar.

Minutes from a Jan. 7, 1941, meeting of the Kandiyohi County Board show the purchase of a Snogo plow. This would have been about 1½ months after the storm.

The plow currently in the county's possession has the insignia of the U.S. Corp of Engineers and it was believed the county was able to obtain a 1937 model plow from the government because of the emergency status after the storm. A county document from 1942 shows a price of $10,680.10 if the government demanded return of the plow for the war effort.

It was also well-known that the vehicle had a wooden cab at one time, which made a 1937 model date plausible.

All that led some county officials to believe the current plow was the vehicle purchased shortly after the Armistice Day storm.

But as highway personnel started digging into the records this week, it was discovered in County Board minutes that the old Snogo plow that was purchased in 1941 had been sold on Jan. 3, 1950 -- the same day the county purchased a 1942 model Snogo plow. That is the plow the county currently has in its possession.

The cab on this plow also was wooden at one time, and that in addition to the Corp of Engineers insignia on this plow helps explain why the history of the two separate vehicles became muddled together.

However, serial numbers on this vehicle match the numbers on the registration card that shows the vehicle was purchased in 1950.

Those facts were a little disappointing to Public Works Director Gary Danielson, who admitted he liked the story that linked the plow to the Armistice Day Blizzard.

Dan Burdett

Dan Burdett is the community content coordinator at the West Central Tribune. He has 13 years experience in print media, to include four years enlisted service in the United States Air Force. He has been an employee of Forum Communications since 2005, joining the company after spending two years as the managing editor of the Redwood Gazette and Livewire in Redwood Falls. Prior to his current position, Dan was the presentation editor at the Tribune.

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