|The Great Snow Storm of Jan. 1857. Philadelphia: L.L. Magee, ca. 1857.|
The historical event referred to in this print is the great blizzard recorded in January 16-18, 1857. The Pennsylvania Weather Book describes 18 to 24 inches of snow in Philadelphia during the Great Cold Storm, with drifts from 6 to 12 feet. According to the National Weather Service page on historic winter storms in the Mid-Atlantic, the Chesapeake Bay froze solid and at Cape Henry it was possible to walk on the frozen ocean 100 yards from the lighthouse.