The rest of the winter had the usual snowfall but the cold was monumental! The first week in January 1904 saw the temperature at a house near Beaver Lake register minus-28 degrees, at Derry Village it was minus-16, and by the Depot on Broadway it read minus-22. Derry was actually warm compared to Claremont — all things being relative I suppose. There it was 50 degrees below zero! All over Nutfield, water pipes were frozen and no one was happy — except the plumbers. A brief January thaw was followed by local temperatures falling to minus-10 degrees.
The editor of the Derry News in January reflected: “Theories have been advanced in recent years that our climate is changing, that the New England winters were becoming slowly modified, and that an old-fashioned winter has been outlawed. The weather of the past 36 hours does not appear to confirm the wisdom of the prophet.”
Probably the editor was confusing weather changes with climate change — but it tells us that people in Nutfield were debating climate change 110 years ago. And my last words on the subject is: I know the winters were far worse when I was a boy. I remember that when I was 5 years old the snow was almost as tall as I was.
Rick Holmes is the official town historian of Derry. His office hours at the Municipal Center are Mondays from 8 a.m. to noon and Wednesdays from 4 to 7 p.m. Several of his books on local history are available at Mack’s Apples and Derry’s libraries.