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From the desk of Alison Gibson, Director
Brrr!!! Seriously cold. We shiver as the barges go by, and hope the crews stay warm on the frigid Ohio. It does appear that we are missing most of the dramatic snow and wind that other parts of the country are experiencing this mid-January, but that doesn’t make it any warmer when you walk out the door. Looking through our collection of postcards, we felt this 1908 winter scene said it well. This 116 year- old picture is dark and gloomy, but as always around here, there are peeks of sun and the promise, that sometime, it will warm up. We noticed that Bristow’s has a crew putting on a new roof this week— that also looks like a very cold place to be.
Looking back through the old newspapers, there were many times when the cold weather hit that the schools and libraries had to shut down. Coal was the predominant fuel for heating, and when the river froze, coal couldn’t be delivered. In the News Democrat of February 20, 1958, coal supplier Floyd Brookbank had a barge with 1000 tons of coal stuck in ice somewhere on the Ohio and his supply was getting dangerously low. In January of 1918, there was a coal shortage and cold weather—schools had to close and sell their coal supplies to individuals to keep families warm. While the cost of heating fuel and electricity are a concern these days, fortunately the delivery of such fuels seems to be more consistent.
We encourage you to browse through the old papers, found on our website www.ripleylibrary.com.
Barring any weather that makes travel treacherous, we plan to be open during these cold days, and hope that you plan to stop by—pick up a movie, a book or two, or three, and visit for awhile—we are always glad to see you.