March 2, 2007

When winter would kill you

Compulsory reading today: City Pages' 2004 article on how winter in Minnesota used to kill (lots of) people. Now it just makes for a longer commute a few days a year. Choice quotes:

Like most Minnesotans, you think our long, cold winters have made you a tougher and more virtuous person .... The hardships of the Minnesota winter have been so softened by technology, by the designs of our cities and suburbs and cars and homes, by our colossal commitment to making the Great Indoors ever more cushy, as to be rendered all but unrecognizable ....
... the risk of freezing to death was a major concern for early Minnesotans. Reports of frostbite and self-amputation are common .... the most persistent hazard of the Minnesota winter was not cold per se; it was starvation .... she asked Captain Jouett if he knew which was the best portion of a man to eat .... If you page through 19th-century Minnesota newspapers, you will routinely encounter tales of blizzard survival--and, of course, tales of death ....

Here's how the New York Times reported the effects of the blizzard of January 1873:

Posted by eroberts at March 2, 2007 7:06 AM