January 30, 2009 — This recent siege of ice, snow and frigid temperatures would have made a few locals businesses in 1888 very happy. According to an article in an early Springfield newspaper, the Herald, the ice that January was "as good as ever harvested" and "is found in abundance frozen from six to nine inches thick, and all hands are busy saving the crop."
One local firm, Armstrong & Walker, employed 40 men to harvest an estimated 10,000 tons for use in ice boxes, the way you cooled your food back then. "This is one of the few years when sufficient ice will be saved to supply the home demand," the article concluded.
This smidgen of historical trivia came from the Springfield-Greene County Library's local history page, re-designed to incorporate content that until now could not be easily delivered to the public.
"We are always coming across newspaper articles, books or information that we think will be interesting and useful for patrons," said Renee Glass, a local history librarian at the Library Center, "and now with our blogging technology we are able to put them on our local history home page."
The re-designed page, which debuted in early January, features a variety of entries related to local history, genealogy and southwest Missouri compiled by the local history staff. "The big change is in content," said Local History Department Manager Michael Glenn. "We also plan to add expanded versions of our most popular FAQs." That's libraryspeak for Frequently Asked Questions.
"Local history is perfect for a blog format," said Associate Director for Public Services Jim Schmidt, "Every day staff find wonderful facts that are relevant to many researchers, and this is a great way to get that information to the public."
Recent postings include a review of the Bruce Davis book, "We're Dead, Come On In," about the infamous Young brothers massacre of 1931 in Greene County, a tip sheet on genealogical research abbreviations and a list of local Medal of Honor recipients.
An article in the January 3, 1930, Springfield Missouri Press, quotes round trip air fare costs of $10.50 to St. Louis and $21 to Kansas City, and that includes taxi fare both to and from the airport!
These and other historical tidbits can be found at thelibrary.org/lochist; visit the page and allow yourself to be entertained and informed by excellent research from your local history librarians.
-Jeanne Duffey, Community Relations Director, Springfield-Greene County Library District.
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