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The heat is on – we’re having a heat wave (maybe) – but don’t expect a repeat of Aug. 4-13, 1896

By Dean Shalhoup - Senior Staff Writer | Jul 25, 2020
Courtesy of Library of Congress The 1896 Northeast heat wave was responsible not only for an estimated 1,500 human deaths, but it killed several hundred horses, which were still the main mode of transportation in large cities like New York.
Courtesy of Library of Congress via NPR This Library of Congress photo shows how residents of some New York City tenements, most of them poor, tried to deal with the excessive heat during the 1896 heat wave. Mainly white-colored clothing and sheets were hung on clotheslines apparently to create as much shade as possible for the oven-like buildings.
Courtesy of Library of Congress An artist's sketch depicts a scene in New York City's Lower East Side during the 1896 Northeast heat wave. It wasn't uncommon for tenement dwellers to climb out onto wood awnings and roofs to try and sleep.
Courtesy of New England Historical Society The death certificate for a 48-year-old man who died during the 1896 Northeast heat wave lists the cause of death as "the excessive heat," while "softening of the brain" was listed as a secondary cause.


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