OK, already. So we’re having a heat wave for the Fourth. Big surprise.
Welcome to New Jersey in July.
Almost any July.
Stifling heat and high humidity have been staples of summers here for as long as records have been kept.
The effects of an 1876 June-July heat wave seriously discouraged visitors to the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.
Since then, summers here have spawned dozens of heat waves (notably those of 1896, 1911, 1995, 1936, 1948, 1955, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2006, and 2012) with devastating economic effects and costing hundreds of lives.
Summer 1936 produced the nation’s worst heat wave and hottest summer in history, up to that time.
Back then, the local citizenry sought refuge from the intense heat inside Palmyra’s Broadway Theater.
A story in The New Era describes the innovative cooling system that used well water.
It wasn’t until post World War II that residential air-conditioning became available at reasonable rates.
Before Riverton School had air-conditioning, I can recall school closing because of the heat a couple of times. Those third-floor rooms could get brutal. The whining and complaining was awful.
And that was just from the teachers.
So stay hydrated out there on the Fourth, folks, add another page to Riverton history, and please comment about a heat wave that you recall. -JMc