Monday, January 27, 2020

Snow Plows Through Town Throwing Residents into Convulsions - Read All About It!

Let's start today's adventure with a pair of chronological coincidences. Ninety-five years ago on this date (January 27, 1925), two sled dog teams started at opposite ends of a trail in Alaska to start the famous serum run. This grueling race of dogs and men against an epidemic of diphtheria is dramatically detailed in the book, The Cruelest Miles, available through the Conway Public Library.

The dog teams had to carry the serum 674 miles as airplanes, snowmobiles and ice-breaking ships were not yet up to the task.

You can read a bit about two of the event's main heroes, Leonhard Seppala and his lead dog Togo at our previous blog here.    

Two years later to the day, January 27, 1927, Seppala and his sled dogs were still making front page news in the Mount Washington Valley.

While it is impossible to read this jpeg version of the local Reporter newspaper, you might be able to see Seppala's name highlighted in blue in the third column from the left about three-quarters of the way down the page.

Here is a direct link to that page where you can read it more easily.  If you have any problems navigating the site, contact us.

However, the bigger news for the day can be found headlined at the top of the fourth column from the left about the snow plow that threw local residents into "convulsions."

Tomorrow we are doing an outreach program at the Gibson Center about how to use this online resource. We would be happy to schedule an outreach program for your school or community group on using our online resources, or on subjects such as the role of the Mount Washington Valley in polar exploration, dog sledding, or historic winter traditions such as ice harvesting. 

Below is a photo of us setting up for an outreach as one of the local elementary schools which leads us to another interesting coincidence.

The kayak model on the table is on loan from the Conway Historical Society to help illustrate the ingenious ways in which the First People in the north used nature and its resources.

In researching this model we contacted kayak expert Harvey Golden who provided the sketch below helping to identify details about our kayak model.

He suggested it was a "Norton Sound Yup'ik" kayak. Coincidentally this is the area over which Leonhard Seppala crossed not once, but twice during the 1925 serum run.

For more on kayaks see the upcoming exhibit at Bowdoin's Peary-MacMillen Museum and come for Harvey Golden's opening lecture on April 9, 2020.

For more details on this or any other historical subject in the White Mountains, contact us at the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room.

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