1888: The Children’s Blizzard

This month marks the anniversary of one of the most horrific events in Midwest history, though after 125 years quite a few people don’t remember it at all: the Children’s Blizzard of 1888, which received its name because so many of its 250-500 fatalities were children.

Many factors combined to cause that death toll, which was horrific even in a time without cellphones and modern weather warnings.

  • The winter had been particularly bad, and a sudden reprieve of warmer weather encouraged people to get outside and enjoy it.
  • The Army Signal Corps did not issue a warning for a Cold Wave.
  • The storm hit in the afternoon, when some kids were on their way home from school. Walking.
  • The Little Ice Age was coming to an end at this time, but the cold trend may have been a factor. Also, Krakatoa had erupted in 1883, leading to a definite cold snap that lasted a few years. Did either of these things influence the Children’s Blizzard? I’m not sure, honestly.

It was horrible. Children and adults died less than 100 steps from safety because visibility was so bad they couldn’t see it. A 10-year-old from Avoca died trying to find his house, for example.

More information can be found here, or here, or if you prefer, on Wikipedia.

Please remember this story the next time you are tempted to complain that the National Weather Service exaggerates its storm predictions.

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Worthington Rendering Company

Worthington Rendering Co.

Worthington Rendering Co.

BoingBoing linked to this helpful ad for Worthington Rendering Company.

Click here for the much larger version at the original site; you can read the text that way.

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1940: Captain Lowry Retires

1940: Captain Lowry Retires

1940: Captain Lowry Retires

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1940: Rushmore Man Loses, Finds Money 9 Months Later

1940: Rushmore Man Loses, Finds Money 9 Months Later

1940: Rushmore Man Loses, Finds Money 9 Months Later

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1940: Fire at Rickbeils

1940: Fire at Rickbeils

1940: Fire at Rickbeils

F. Hardy Rickbeil was a cool guy, and I’m glad I got to meet him. The world is the lesser for his passing.

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1961: What’s Your Outdoor Meal?

 

1961: What's Your Outdoor Meal?

1961: What's Your Outdoor Meal?

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1961: Mixing and Musing Rhubarb Jam!

1961: Mixing and Musing Rhubarb Jam!

1961: Mixing and Musing Rhubarb Jam!

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1961: Horrific Crash on Highway 60

1961: Horrific Crash on Highway 60

1961: Horrific Crash on Highway 60

1961: Horrific Crash on Highway 601961: Horrific Crash on Highway 60

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1940: 100 Year Pen and Root Beer Too

1940: 100 Year Pen and Root Beer

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1940: Historic Fire

1940: Historic Fire

1940: Historic Fire

1940: Historic Fire

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