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60 Below

2/15/2004:

On this date in 1936, the temperature plummeted to 60 below in Parshall – and that’s one state record nobody wants to break.

Lucy Goldthorpe, a young, single schoolteacher, told a reporter about her first year homesteading near Epping. “That winter of 1906-07 was the worst known up to that time in the Dakotas... Livestock froze and people died for want of medical care.”

Lucy’s homestead shack was only a single board thickness. She covered it with tar paper on the outside, and inside, she covered the floor, ceiling and walls with blue building paper. She added layers of gunny sacks over the paper on the floor and then homemade wool rugs.

“A neighbor family returning... ‘from the outside’ brought me fresh vegetables,” she said. “I put the bag in bed with me at night to keep them from freezing (and) stored my food and my little alarm clock in the stove pipe oven; that was the only way I could keep the clock running and be sure of a non-frozen breakfast.”

As they like to say around these parts, Cold enough for ya?

Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm