Weather rambling — December 1893

Maury Thompson
4 min readDec 1, 2023

Winter weather arrived in the Glens Falls area about three weeks ahead of the Solstice.

“The ice on the five-mile level of the Champlain Canal is an inch thick and on Wood Creek and in the canal, from Fort Ann to Fort Edward, half an inch. Navigation is closed for the year,” The Granville Sentinel reported on Dec. 1, 1893.

“The snowstorm yesterday was the first of any account of the fall and may be set down as the first of the season,” The Morning Star of Glens Falls reported on Dec. 2, 1893.

It snowed again.

“Snow began falling early yesterday morning, and by two o’clock in the afternoon Mother Earth was blanketed by a foot of the ‘beautiful.’ Later on, a rain set in and continued at intervals during the rest of the day,” The Morning Star reported on Dec. 4.

“Several of the streetlights did not show up last night when the current was turned on,” the report continued. “Rain and sleet had covered the lamps with ice, and the carbons could not drop to their proper places. Electrician Cashion remedied the difficulty by loosening the carons from the grip of the Ice King.”

It was expected to be a long Winter.

“Foster, who is second only to our Brady as a weather prophet, stakes his reputation on the prediction that this is to be an unusually cold winter.”

It was 10 below zero at Warrensburg and North Creek on Dec. 5.

Loggers were getting an early start.

“Finch, Pruyn & Co. and the Morgan Lumber Company will send a number of men and teams to the north woods this week to be employed there during the winter,” The Morning Star reported on Dec. 6, 1893.

The early snow was good for commerce.

“The first beneficial effects of seasonable winter weather were felt by our local merchants yesterday. The fine sleighing and beautiful weather were magnets that drew people in town from all directions, and the streets easily presented an animated appearance,” The Morning Star reported on Dec. 7. “A Star reporter at one time during the afternoon counted forty-two rigs between the Ordway building and the Merchant’s bank, most of them from out of town.”

The mood was whimsical.

“Every kind of sleigh was pressed into service, and the tinkling bells made merry music all afternoon. The frosty air brought a brilliant color into dainty cheeks, and the rippling laughter of many mirthful maidans made a charming accompaniment to the melody of the bells. Even those who had to walk seemed to imbibe vigor from the … atmosphere.”

Sleighing also was good up-county.

“About eight inches of snow fell Saturday night and Sunday, which makes very good sleighing,” the Hague correspondent reported in The Morning Star on Dec. 9.

“The sleighing is excellent and almost everyone not having any work to do is taking advantage of it,” the Chestertown correspondent reported.

“Snow, snow beautiful snow! — twelve inches of it,” the South Harford correspondent reported in The Granville Sentinel on Dec. 8. “And there was lots of cuss words used when the boys had to shovel out paths! It was a good deal like digging a ditch through clay.”

There was a brief thaw.

“The thaw on Sunday improved the sleighing considerably, but it has left the sidewalks in an icy and dangerous condition,” The Morning Star reported on Dec. 12.

The thaw did not last.

“Quite an edge on the atmosphere this morning,” The Morning Star reported on Dec. 13. “At two o’clock Pearsall’s thermometer registered four degrees below zero. The driver of the stage reported thirteen below zero at Fort Edward.”

Lumbering had begun in earnest at West Mountain, where “replenishing the wood pile is the order of the day,” The Morning Star reported on Dec. 14. “Ames & Baldwin’s thermometer registered eleven degrees below zero at two o’clock in the morning.”

On Dec. 14 it was 22 below at Patten’s Mills and 30 below at Indian Lake.

“Weather Prophet Brady’s prediction that we would have a snowstorm on December 19 has been verified,” The Morning Star reported.

“The signs are promising for the ice dealers. Teams commenced crossing the river on the ice above the dam yesterday,” The Morning Star reported on Dec. 21.

There was another warming trend.

“The thaw which began Friday (Dec. 22) and continued during Saturday and Sunday materially reduced our supply of snow,” The Morning Star reported on Dec. 25. “With the existing foundation of ice, however, it is not likely that the sleighing will be entirely destroyed.”

“The thaw about ruined the sleighing,” The Hartford correspondent reported in The Granville Sentinel on Dec. 29.

Poor sleighing temporarily shut down logging.

“The people are anxiously looking for an improved condition of the sleighing which has nearly disappeared, bringing lumbering to a standstill,” the West Mountain correspondent to The Morning Star wrote on Dec. 28.

The thaw caused flooding.

“The freshet on Monday undermined about thirty feet of the Adirondack Railway track one mile south of Thurman, and the early passenger train yesterday morning was delayed three hours by the work of making repairs,” The Morning Star reported on Dec. 27.

The thaw was brief.

“The recent heavy thaw and the ensuing cold snap has put the ice on the river above the falls in excellent condition, and hundreds of young people were out enjoying the skating yesterday afternoon and evening. One can skate from the falls for a long distance up the river, and he will find solid, glary ice for most of the distance,” The Morning Star reported on Dec. 28.

“The snow and the warmer weather yesterday spoiled the skating to a certain extent, but it improved the sleighing wonderfully, although it left the sidewalks in a very slippery condition,” The Morning Star reported on Dec. 29.

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Maury Thompson

Freelance history writer and documentary film producer from Ticonderoga, NY