A Midsummer Christmas Eve

NSHS 3832-136

NSHS RG3542-142-3

This Christmas card from 1880 depicted a warm-weather scene similar to one actually experienced by Omahans on December 24 in 1889. Freakish weather is not unique to the twenty-first century. The Christmas of 1889 in Omaha was memorable chiefly for the record high temperatures recorded there. The Omaha Daily Bee on December 25, under the headline “Mid-Summer Christmas Eve,” reflected the astonishment of local holiday observers who experienced anything but a white Christmas. The Bee said: “It may be doubted if Christmas eve in Omaha was ever characterized by the summer weather which prevailed yesterday. The thermometer at noon noted 73 degrees.” Official records listed a high of sixty-eight degrees, still the warmest December 24 in Omaha’s history. Accordingly, heavy coats were cast aside, doors and windows were opened, and men walked the streets in shirtsleeves. Some Omahans on December 24, 1889, may have wished for the idealized winter holiday depicted on this Christmas postcard of the Cedar River in Nebraska. A drawing of cherubic girls is inset into the photograph. To the poor and homeless of Omaha the warm weather, said the Bee, “has been a benediction. They have been spared the suffering and misery of cold in wretched hovels and tenements, while thousands have had their season[al] outdoor labor extended and their income swelled by what otherwise would have been unearned dollars.” The only Omahans unhappy about the mild holiday weather were the coal dealers, “shivering for want of sustenance,” and the ice sellers, who were “praying for a blizzard.” They were soon to get their wish. On December 28 a thunderstorm with lightning, torrential rain, and then hail struck the city. Temperatures were expected to reach fourteen degrees above zero by the morning of December 29. Winter had returned.

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

Marker Monday: Nebraska’s Big Rodeo

Marker Monday: Nebraska’s Big Rodeo

Making Rain

Making Rain

How pioneer trails shaped Omaha streets

How pioneer trails shaped Omaha streets

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

Education Digital Learning Resources

Find games, lists, and more to enhance your history education curriculum.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

History Nebraska Services

Digital Resources

Find all of our digital resources, files, videos, and more, all in one easy-to-search page!

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.