From the Archives: It’s hot!

The temps out there are hot, but that’s really not all that rare in the Midwest. Grab a hand fan and enjoy some photos of the summers of long ago!


Think your summer is bad? How would you like to have to dress like this?

This 1910 photograph was taken at 16th and Farnam Streets shortly after a circus parade passed by. LOUIS BOSTWICK COLLECTION

In this July 25, 1936, photo, people dealt with the heat by sleeping (fully clothed, of course!) on the lawn of the State Capitol building in Lincoln. THE WORLD-HERALD


Remember those old jokes about it being so (fill in the blank)?

Well, it was SO HOT …

That the streets buckled.

Heat buckles Interstate 480 near the Dodge Street exit in July 1981. The hazard caused a blowout for one motorist. SEBI BRECI/THE WORLD-HERALD


It was SO HOT …

The railroad tracks went crazy.

A crooked stretch of railroad track in Stewartville, Minn., in July 1966. Railroad officials call this “sun kink,” caused when the heat from a beating sun expands the rails. The kink occurred where ties had not had time to reset after a road bed repair job. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


It was SO HOT …

Home decorating took on a new twist.

When the air conditioner went off in Pam Tressler’s home in August 1980, temperatures soared and caused the 15 inch candles in a candelabrum to melt. SEBI BRECI/THE WORLD-HERALD


It was SO HOT …

Even the thermometers were confused.

This sign at 16th and Farnam Streets read 101 degrees at 6:27 p.m. on July 18, 1987, but the official temperature was actually 96. Each time/temperature sign around the metro seemed to have their own ideas of how hot it was. RUDY SMITH/THE WORLD-HERALD


Speaking of thermometers, check this one out:

This thermometer in downtown Omaha showed a reading of 115 at 3 p.m. on Aug. 17, 1983. RUDY SMITH/THE WORLD-HERALD


Every year, The World-Herald runs features on workers coping with the heat, but this guy has the best job on a day the when mercury hits the 100s.

Delbert Bowen smiles while wearing his parka on July 10, 1976, inside the Omaha Ice Co., where he works sacking ice. J.S. MELINGAGIO/THE WORLD-HERALD


Most of the ways people found to cope with the heat are still used today.

Two unidentified women try to the downtown heat at the Edwards Apartments on North 16th Street in July 1974. RUDY SMITH/THE WORLD-HERALD


Remember hydrant parties? The city resumed them this year; they were canceled last year because of the flooding.

Unidentified youths cool off in the fire hydrant spray near 30th and Lindsay on


You can go jump in a lake …

Carol Montange, Tom Humphrey, Mary Ashburn, Dennis Montange and Paul Montange in May of 1967. The lake was unidentified. ROBERT PASKACH/THE WORLD-HERALD.

Todd Lincoln, 10, takes a cooling plunge in Carter Lake with a bike in 1974. Was this the start of Extreme Cycling? CINDY MURPHY/THE WORLD-HERALD

The caption on this June 28, 1980, photo read: “Beau was one hot dog Friday. Eric Henneke was leading his pooch on a jog around their neighborhood. Henneke had an unfair advantage, though – Beau had to hoof it, while his master rode on a motorcycle. After a couple miles, the 90-plus temperatures got to old Beau, and Henneke gave him a lift home.” RUDY SMITH/THE WORLD-HERALD

Vicki Vacek, 5 and Matt Johnson, 4 found the best way to beat the heat in 1968 – sitting under a lawn sprinkler while eating ice cream bars. ROBERT PASKACH/THE WORLD-HERALD


And finally, my favorite photo set. Isn’t this just about the cutest thing you ever saw?

The caption on this July 14, 1977, photo read: “John Rollins, at age 2, has his own version of that old rub-a-dub-dub-three-men-in-a-tub rhyme.” ED RATH/THE WORLD-HERALD

Try and stay cool out there. Be sure to check back in a couple weeks when the blog will feature Riverview Park and the Zoo.

Jolene McHugh

About Jolene McHugh

I was a graphic artist prior to coming to the Omaha World-Herald in 2007, and now I’m a photo imaging specialist, which means I prepare photos to print properly in the newspaper. I also have the incredibly fun task of restoring old photographs from our massive library. My favorite part of my job is getting lost in the history and stories behind the photographs. Many of the archive photos have little or no information attached, so I need to properly date and identify the people and places in them. Researching the stories is a bit like being on a historical scavenger hunt. The largest challenge I face is restoring photos we run in our books. Our newest book, “At War, At Home: The Cold War” is filled with hundreds of old photographs, and most of them small and in poor condition. I live in Omaha with my husband, one of my daughters and three very furry Maine Coon cats.
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  1. Dianna Eveland says:

    Nice photos. Reminds me of Omaha in my “younger” days.