“This has been the coldest spell Maladians ever experienced. Thermometers less than twelve feet long are absolutely worthless as indicators of the temperature. The water in wells 14 feet deep has been frozen solid. Coal oil is sold by the yard, beer by the foot, and the hottest kind of rot-gut whiskey by the stick. It is said that in St. John a kerosene lamp was frozen while burning, and that not only the lamp was frozen and the oil was solidified, but the flame was frozen stiff and was just as natural as a petrified pig. . . Should anybody doubt this statement, we respectfully ask them to come in before spring and examine the record. We have the very words in which this statement was made to us, in solid chunks of ice.”
But really, how cold was it?
The record temperature ever recorded in Idaho was 60 below zero at Island Park Dam on January 18, 1943. That’s according to that unfailingly accurate source, the internet. The same source lists a temp of 118 on July 28, 1934 as Idaho’s record high. That was recorded in Orofino.
Wherever you’re enjoying Idaho’s weather today, cool off for a moment with this winter scene of a highway near Clarks Fork, probably in the 1940s, courtesy of the Idaho State Historical Society photo digital collection.