Winter in the early 1900’s

Winter in the early 1900’s through Jeanette Shaw Greenwell’s eyes

While in the North Ogden Historical Museum a couple months ago, I was shown this autobiography of Jeanette Shaw Greenwell. I read a few pages and couldn’t put it down. The stories are told with such detail it almost feels like I have been there before. I had to share one more insert from her book. I loved the picture that was painted of winters in the early 1900’s. 

Most of our time sleigh riding was over at the Shupes. They had the best hill, which must have been a good block long. The hardest part of this sport was pulling the sled back up the hill. Another favorite sport was “belly flopping” with the sled. We would take a long run with the sleigh held in front of us then plunk it down, with us upon it. If you had “flexible Flyer” (the ultimate in sleds) you could coast a long way on the ice or snow. 

At night, when the moon and stars were bright, we would often take the toboggan and slide down what I’ve called the “main Hill” (on 400 East) we would go for a half a mile or more. Coming back it was enjoyable to feel the crunch under your feet and see your breath in a cloud before your face. 

My most favorite snow sport was to build things of snow. Dad would shovel out the drive way and there would be a big huge pile of snow, well packed. On this snow I would let my mind travel; I would build miniature castles, small towns, farms, and many other things. On a sunny day I would build for hours. 

How we loved to go to Grandma Jones and Grandpa and Grandma Shaw’s in the bob-sleigh in the winter. The canvas top stretched tight over the bows and the bells across the horses. What a beautiful sound. Oft-times the snow on the road would be so frozen the runners on the sleigh would squeak. Fresh straw covered the bottom, with warm “lap robes” to cover our knees, sometimes rocks were warmed to put at our feet. 

Bob-sleds were found on the farms out in the country. It was fun to stand on the runners and lean on the sides of the sled as it went down the road. A few times in life, everybody who lived near a sugar beet processing plant would hitch a ride on a bod-sled hauling beet pulp to some cattle. Beet pulp is quite odoriferous, I assure you. There was always a little of the pulp on the sides of the sleds were the boys leaned. 

After arriving home and standing in front of the kitchen stove to warm, the odor of the pulp would become quite noticeable. Results – a quick change to fresh overalls and a “warning” from mother.

Sounds like a winter out of the story books.

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