Take heart, Nebraskans! The first chill winds of autumn may be blowing, but before you
convince yourselves that another nasty winter looms ahead, consider these words about
Nebraska’s weather. They’re taken from L. D. Burch’s 1878 publication, “Nebraska As It Is,”
in the collections of the Nebraska State Historical Society.
“The soft blue haze, subdued mellow sunshine and gorgeous red sunsets of autumn in
Nebraska make that season a benediction. The cold winds are the only unpleasant feature of
the cold season, but the settler easily gets accustomed to these and they are known to be the
most effective Conservators of Health. They sweep away any possible malarial influence and
leave the climate with every needed condition to normal health. The rare, invigorating, life inspiring
atmosphere gives remarkable brilliancy to the climate and leaves its impress upon
every form of life. Men and animals move with quick, elastic step and even the vegetable
kingdom expresses the presence of these vitalizing forces in a wonderful degree.
“The Nebraska winter, as compared to the rigorous, snowy, frost-bound winter of New
England, New York, and Wisconsin, is a very mild and pleasant season. Nine-tenths of the
cold season is made up of bright, dry, mild weather. The snowfall is light and rarely lies
upon the ground more than a week. February and March give an occasional severe storm of
short duration. The best commentary upon the winter of this country is the grazing of cattle
and sheep upon the ranges in the west half of the State, the year round, their only shelter from
the storms being the native groves, gulches, and ravines.
“There is little malaria in Nebraska, for there is so little to produce it. The streams are rapid;
the plow runs to the waters edge; there are not stagnant pools to give off poisonous
exhalations; the southwest winds sweep down from the snow-clad sierras across an ocean of
sweetest verdure and the country is as healthful as any upon the green earth.
“Only life and health and the spirit of divine youth is evoked from the bright skies, clear
atmosphere, and pure water of this superb climate. It is but simple justice to Nebraska to say,
that it is a poor country for doctors and physics and comes very near to being a Paradise for