Lowell Deeds

The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell

February 7, 2007

Blizzard of 78 at the Registry

by @ 12:00 pm. Filed under History

All of us who lived though the Blizzard of ‘78 have “life long memories”. The storm dumped close to 36 inches of snow on the area with difts as high as 15 feet. Yesterday’s 29th anniversary of the storm of the century “inspired me” to investigation what took place at the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds during the week on the great storm…. Early in the morning on Monday, February 6 it began to “innocently” snow. Obviously, no one could have possibly imaged what was to come. By rush hour Massachusetts was in the midst of a full Nor’easter. The registry of deeds recorded 103 documents on February 6, the first day of the storm…the last one at 3:41 PM. Long time registry employees tell me the Middlesex County Commissioners closed the registry shortly before 4:00 PM that day. On Tuesday, Feb 7 and Wednesday, Feb 8 the registry remained closed…but here is where the story becomes intriguing…the following day Thursday, February 9, 1978 one document was put on record at 9:31AM (a mortgage recorded in Book 2289 Page 269). How could this be? Had the registry re-opened? It didn’t look that way…I checked February 10… no documents were recorded which meant that the registry was again closed. How could there be no documents recorded on Tuesday and Wednesday, one on Thursday and none on Friday. I speculated that maybe there was an indexing mistake and the Feb 9, 1978 document was really recorded on a different date. No… that wasn’t it…I checked the time stamp on the document and it clearly stated 9:31AM February 9, 1978. This morning…perplexed, confused and curious I talked to two people who worked at the registry during the Blizzard. They confirmed that the registry was closed on Tuesday and Wednesday of the week of the storm…but on February 9, 1978 several brave individuals made there way to the courthouse and opened the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds. These employees recorded the “mystery” document…but business came to a close quickly on February 9…after a short 90 minutes of operation the registry closed, again… and employees were sent home…This time the registry didn’t open again until the following Monday, February 13, 1978.

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