Behind the Victory Flagpole – Weather or not


Does anyone remember how glorious the weather was when we were kids? Much nicer than it is now, right? We could swim all summer in the perfect temperature heat and ski all winter in the perfect temperature cold. Well, now I have found a man who describes this Minnesota weather like no one I have heard before. His name is John H. Stevens, a pioneer from the 1800s. His glowing description is almost beyond belief, but here it is:

“I am now pretty acclimated in this new country, and am delighted with all that pertains to the climate. The winters are cold, but pleasant. Cold must be expected in a high altitude (latitude) during winter months. They are made for each other. Minnesota would not be real with a tropical winter; neither would it be desirable. There is no shivering, sickening, milk and water cold, such as is frequently felt in a lower altitude, penetrating the bones and marrow with a damp chilliness, and affecting one with gloom forebodings and despondent disagreeableness. Here we know what to depend on. In the lower country one day is summer heat, the next rain, or they may have sleet, the mercury enough to afford the greatest discomfort to man and beast; taxing the mind, the body and the health; while here we know just what to expect — a steady, vigorous, bracing, healthy cold! We are prepared to meet the winter on his coming. Our houses, barns, stables and outbuildings are made warm and comfortable.

While the spring months, or at least March and April are too much like the winter months of the southern states, they are on the whole enjoyable. I have found May to be a particularly pleasant month. Spring days we have when the azure is flecked with fleecy clouds; the air is deliciously soft. Moist, warm and breezy; the sunshine subdued, mellow, dreamy; the maple is full, fresh leaf; the native oak is tender half-­foliage; and birds are joyous in song; a spring resurrection of vegetable life from its winter desolation and death — as refreshing to the spirit as balmy air to the senses.

The summer season is all that we can ask or wish for. The autumns are delightful. The Indian-summer is one of the most charming seasons of the year. It comes late in the fall and is of long duration. A serious inconvenience attending it is the disastrous prairie-fires. In the fall of 1851 the Indians out west of the lakes set fires, which, during a strong wind, came sweeping over the prairie, endangering my buildings and the lives of my stock. After such visitations the surface of the county had a bleak, desolate, dreary appearance, which remained until vegetation started in the following spring.


The fine scenery, steel-blue sky, majestic rivers, clear lakes, leaping water-falls, invigorating atmosphere, and health-giving climate of Minnesota merit the praise of all who have experienced them during the half-century since white men came among the Indian natives of this land of the Dakotas. The dry air of its cold winter and the cool nights of its hot summers are a source of perennial pleasure.

Recalling the enthusiasm I shared with others in those days, as we appreciated the advantages of the soil, climate, facilities, resources, and location of this country, it seems not so great a surprise that this state has leaped from obscurity and savagery into a blaze of civilized glory. The enterprise of its people, and the energy of its progress, is a theme of world-wide praise!”

Now, doesn’t this sound like a great place to live!

Note: Taken from Minnesota and Its People ­Early History of Minneapolis by John H. Stevens.