Going Polar, 19th century style


Last week, many of us in the U.S. and Canada were dealing with record low temps as the result of the dreaded Polar Vortex.  The lows in some parts of the U.S. rivaled temps in Antartica.  Crazy.

For those of you who are making the best of winter’s snow bounty, history is on your side.  Here’s a look at how folks in the 19th century played in the snow!


Winter Sports – Coasting in the Country by Granville Perkins, from Harper’s Weekly. February 17,1877

Back in the day, sledding was referred to as “coasting” or “sliding.”  A January 12, 1896 article in The New York Times expounds upon the good “old-fashioned” fun:

. . .
Read the rest at Social In DC.

Have you been sledding this year? Do you have fond sledding memories (perhaps with unconventional, homemade sleds)? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,


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10 thoughts on “Going Polar, 19th century style”

  1. Margot KinbergMargot Kinberg

    Kathy – Those folks knew how to make the most of the snow! To be honest, that’s one thing I really get homesick for: autumn and winter weather. Where I live there isn’t really weather – well, not like that.

  2. PatriciaPatricia

    No sliding for me. I’ve never been a slider, although I have taken a turn or two down a frozen slope on an inflated innertube. That was kind of fun, but I prefer the water version in the heat.

    Fun stuff again, Kathy. Happy sliding!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  3. Sharla RaeSharla Rae

    No sledding out here in SoCAL and I’m glad for it. I’m too old to indulged but back in the day as a kid in MN the 40 below temps didn’t bother us. We girls wore boys long johns and hauled the toboggan down to Sather Hill and away we went! This year when newscasters blabbered on about wind chill of 40 below, I truly laughed. We sledded and ice skated in in 40 below “real” temp! Alas, I’d not dare to freeze my buns off any more. Ha! Thanks for the news articles. I don’t know where you get them, but they are great.

  4. Kassandra LambKassandra Lamb

    I used to love to sled as a kid. There was this long hill behind one neighbor’s house that went down into the woods. The trick was dodging the trees. Failure to do so was quite painful.

    Today, I prefer hot chocolate by the fire and a good book!

  5. Karen McFarlandKaren McFarland

    Wow, did you ever have frigid temperatures Kathy. And we’re having unusually hot weather with no rain. It’s eighty degrees here. In January? Anyway, when it did snow in the mountains, my family and I would head out with our sled. It’s a wonder we didn’t break our neck. To think of riding in a luge makes me shudder. But we’ll get to watch soon at the Olympics. I’m sending our hot weather your way girl! Stay warm! 🙂


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