Since 1835, just a year after the first pioneer came to South Lake County, several of the early settlers included the weather report in their daily journals.
Solon Robinson, founder of the City of Crown Point, was one of the first to keep such records. The Ball family of Cedar Lake kept it up for several decades, and Rev. H. Wason of West Creek Twp. wrote it all down for many years.
The full record would fill a large volume, and some of the more interesting weather events were recorded in their history books. The following records were found in the "History of Northwestern Indiana," 1900, by Rev. Timothy H. Ball.
The fall of 1891 was very warm -- "the season all thru had been fruitful. Fertility, rather unusual fertility, has been the characteristic this year in the vegetable world. All crops good." Apples and potatoes were abundant, and from Dec. 2, 1891, until Christmas the farmers were still plowing.
The weather for 1892: There were three weeks of good ice cutting in January, for on Jan 10 and 15 the temperature was 10 below zero. There was a big thaw in February, and the roads were very muddy. On Feb. 5, on a Friday evening, Venus and Jupiter appeared in a clear sky at Crown Point, almost along a stright line with the earth. "It was a beautiful sight. They seemed almost to touch each other." They were last in conjunction in July 1859.
A few evenings before there had also been a beautiful sight, of which one writer in a Boston paper wrote: "The close approach of the new moon and the two bright planets, Venus and Jupitar [sic] on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, was one of the most brilliant astronomical sights in the life of the recent generation."
On Feb. 13, a Saturday evening, they reported a "magnificent display" of the northern light or 'Aurora Borealis.' It was said to be remarkable for its general rich, red color and for its evenness of display. Some of the "streamers were very bright." There were many days of zero degree weather in the middle of February, but in the latter part it became milder and the wild geese and the ducks returned by Feb. 23. The month of March 1892 was like spring, "with bluebirds, robbins and larks." April was cool, but many spring flowers appeared in the woods by Apr. 15.
The months of May and June were very wet, making the Little Calumet River over a mile wide between Highland and Hessville, the first time on record in any of the journals.
July 1892 was a dry month, which surprised most residents after such a wet spring. For productiveness the season was in marked contrast with that of 1891. Apples were seldom so scarce as they were that year, and the corn and potato crop were also poor. Planting time in the spring was late on account of the wet season, and then the crops failed because of a lack of moisture later in the year. One good crop was hay.
The following is taken from History of Lake County by Weston Goodspeed in 1892, who wrote about the Lake County weather in general: "Over Lake County, and above the line of the water shed [crosses St John at an angle, and on through Crown Point], the warm vapor from the southern valleys and slopes, or from the rivers and waters of the South, meets with the cooler vapor of Lake Michigan, giving to this region in ordinary seasons, an abundant moisture, and causing the atmosphere to be very seldom perfectly cloudless.
"As, however, late in the season the water of Lake Michigan becomes quite warm, and continues during those golden days of October and sometimes thru November, which we call Indian Summer, the north wind bringing that vapor and warm air over the ridge and down our southern slope to the Kankakee keeps off the early autumnal frosts, and this county is sometimes protected for weeks after the frost appears farther west and farther south. If the springs, therefore, are wet and backward occasionally, the autumns are quite usually warm, late and delightful."
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