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The thirties were dirty, dusty, and dry, but it seemed like no year compared to 1936. The 1936 winter was bone-chilling across the US. In North Dakota, the town of Parshall experienced an all-time state record low of -60 on February 16. And when winter gave way to summer, there came stifling heat-so much, that on July 6, in Steele, ND, temperatures rose to 121. So, on this date in 1936, weather was the topic of conversation, the lead news report, and a continuous concern for many.

Yet, Devils Lake residents were proud of their part to play in the year, of which the Associated Press wrote, "observers in one part of the United States or another, have recorded the coldest winter, the hottest summer, the worst flood, the most devastating dust storms and the most severe tornadoes and hurricanes in history."

You see, Devils Lake temperatures were running consistently extreme. In the winter, temperatures dropped below freezing on November 27, and did not rise above until 96 days later, on the first day of March. In January and February, the average temperature was 13 below. And in the summer, they, too, hit temperatures above 100, and landed in the national news.

The Devils Lake Journal proudly proclaimed:

"Central Ohioans, sweltering in the hottest temperatures of recent record, can wax philosophical for a moment at least about the discomfort brought on by the torrid wave in contemplation of the still greater malaise which must affect the Devils Lakians, or Lakites, or whatever the residents of Devils Lake call themselves.

It seems only yesterday that the papers were printing temperature charts showing that the North Dakota city was the coldest spot in the nation....

But, lo and behold, when the tables showing comparative temperatures on the current hot spell were published, the name of Devils Lake ... led all the rest, with the neat mark of 108 degrees."

The article continued; "Municipal pride is a funny thing and manifests itself in strange ways. There are doubtless other respects in which Devils Lake makes its hardy inhabitants proud of their home town, but we're willing to bet that their chests swell, too, at the thought that, by George, they live in not only the coldest spot in the United States, but the hottest, as well."

Thus was the pride of Dakota.

Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker



Devils Lake Journal, July 16, 1936, Thursday evening

Devils Lake World, July 15, 1936, Wednesday