This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

The weather in Phoenix, Arizona

Something that I have been hearing ever since I moved to Phoenix as a teenager is that it used to be much cooler. That the nasty heat was a result of paved roads, too many cars, that sort of thing. And so I've done some research. And yes, Phoenix is hotter than it was *back in the day*, but it has been a brutally hot place for a very long time.

I collect old photos of Phoenix and I love to look through old newspapers. This morning I was noticing the weather reports in 1911. The Library of Congress has the Arizona Republican newspaper going back to its beginning, in 1890, but I just found a weather report. I guess in the 1890s, it wasn't considered a very good idea to advertise how miserably hot the valley was, when the idea was to attract business, and settlers!

This weather report, from August 18th of 1911, shows the temperature at 6 a.m. to be 84, and at 6 p.m. to be 106. Yes, measurably cooler than it's been here lately, where it has been over 110, but not so much that you could argue that it was actually comfortable then.

My mind boggles at the thought of the people who lived in Phoenix before the invention of air conditioning. And a lot did! Many generations, beginning in 1870. And I'm sure that as the people got older, they remembered a time when Phoenix wasn't as hot as it was then, maybe before one of them-thar big buildings, like the Heard Building, which was nine stories, was built. That was in 1919.

I'm just glad that I am living now, with air conditioning. I am happy to visit Phoenix by looking at old photos and newspapers, but I'm glad to be here, now.

The newspaper clipping is from The Library of Congress
Post a Comment