Great Depression

…Talk About the Drought! President Roosevelt Visits Nebraska Panhandle

In an earlier post we we recalled the effects of the 1890s drought in Nebraska. Unfortunately, it would not be the last.

In 1936, Nebraska farmers were facing similar hardship. The ongoing drought (or “drouth” as it was often spelled) was unrelenting, and continued to produce record-breaking temperatures. The Grand Island Independent (perhaps exaggerating a bit) called it the “worst drouth in climatological history.”

Oh, the Irony

Thrive in the Thriving ThirtiesThe designer of this 1930 advertising stationery didn’t know it yet, but the expression “Thriving Thirties” was not going to catch on. Printed by the Epsten Lithographing Co.

It’s Too Hot to Sleep Inside!

The lawn of the Nebraska State Capitol provided a resting place for Lincoln residents trying to escape the heat in July 1936. NSHS RG2183-725 (above). During the Great Depression Nebraskans became accustomed to living under trying conditions. People had to cope not only with hard economic times but with the intense heat accompanied by a drought that plagued this state and much of the rest of the country.

Beating the Heat in the 1930s

The mid-1930s saw some of the hottest summer temperatures ever recorded in Nebraska. When Ruth Godfrey Donovan and her family moved to Lincoln in 1934, the Depression and a severe drought were well underway. Donovan, who lived in a small apartment near downtown Lincoln, recalled: “Sleeping was difficult during that heatridden time. Sometimes it would be so hot inside the building we dragged the cushions from the living room couch out on the front porch and slept on them in the cooler outside air.”

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