Weather rambling — March 1890

Maury Thompson
4 min readMar 4, 2024

The ice harvest of 1890 was well under way when the calendar turned from February to March.

“About fifty teams are employed here drawing the ice from the lake to the depot. All the hotels are full and business is booming,” the Luzerne correspondent reported in The Morning Star of Glens Falls on March 1.

The ice was softening at some locations, but a good harvest had already been achieved.

“The mild weather has put a stop to the ice harvesting on the canal by Seaman & McDonough of New York. They have housed about 1,800 tons.”

Ice harvesting had resumed at Weaver Pond, near Thurman, and on Glen Lake, The Morning Star reported on March 4, and men had left Sandy Hill, now Hudson Falls, to work on crews harvesting ice on Lake Champlain.

“James Robinson and Robert Butler of South Glens Falls continue to cut ice on Fortville Pond in Moreau and supply to New York dealers.”

“At Lake Champlain the ice harvesters are working vigorously day and night,” The Morning Star reported on March 5. “Baker Brothers have a large force of men at work, and at night the scene of their operations is illuminated by electric lights which have been put up for the purpose.”

One March 6, about six inches of snow fell in downtown Glens Falls, and the temperature on the Rockwell House hotel thermometer plumed to one degree by midnight.

“‘The worst day of winter,’ was the oft repeated remark made around town yesterday, and it was about right,” The Morning Star reported on March 7.

It was not too cold for outdoor recreation.

“Timothy W. Breen and Cornelius Beecher leased the lot at the corner of Glen Street and Grace Avenue and were flooding it to use as a skating rink. Should the weather prove favorable, they will open for business tomorrow afternoon.”

It had been an unusually cold winter.

“One of the oldest citizens of Bolton on Lake George, who has been in the habit of keeping a diary for the last thirty-five years, says, ‘Having kept a diary since 1858, and the records of extreme hot and cold weather in this part of the country, I assert that this is the most singular winter we have had sine 1851, and the oldest residents say that we have never experienced such a winter before,” The Granville Sentinel reported on March 7.

The abundant ice harvest continued.

“The amount of ice harvested in the vicinity this winter by local and city dealers will be enormous. Hundreds of men are employed in the work which will be carried on night and day as long as it is possible. The business is proving a great benefit to the laboring class,” The Morning Star reported on March 7.

”Webster, the ice contractor, has shipped within the last three days sixty-five carloads of ice,” the Hadley correspondent reported in The Morning Star on March 8.

“Men and teams are at work drawing ice night and day. About one hundred teams are employed, and Luzerne has a busy appearance, the Luzerne correspondent reported.

“John Clark, of the Ridgewood Ice Company, is expected here this morning to make several new contracts with ice dealers,” The Morning Star reported on March 10.

“As the weather grows warmer, the ice harvesters in this region continue with doubled vigor. At Caldwell, an unusually busy season has been presented the past few days, the harvesters thus being intent on securing as large a supply as possible,” The Morning Star reported on March 12. “The thickest ice harvested in this section this season was cut at Mooseville yesterday. … It measured twenty inches thick and is of good quality.

In other 19th century March weather news collected from historic newspapers of the region:

1875

“Twelve degrees on Monday, seventeen on Tuesday and eight on Wednesday — all below zero — was the sort of weather enjoyed last week in Glen’s Falls,” The Glen’s Falls Republican reported on March 30.

It was too cold for trout to bite.

“Trout fishing is legal now, but there is little prospect of a trout showing his nose above the snowdrifts of Warren County.”

1877

“And now the days approach when gentlemen of leisure bask joyously in the golden sunlight of the street corners,” The Granville Sentinel reported on March 30.

The laborers, meanwhile, were mired in mud.

”In common with other locals, I am obliged to report muddy roads and mean weather,” the Hampton correspondent reported.

1892

“Fair winter weather, but no sleighing,” The Granville Sentinel reported on March 11. “Sugar making has commenced among the farmers, and from present appearances, a large quantity will be made.”

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Maury Thompson

Freelance history writer and documentary film producer from Ticonderoga, NY