Find our full archive of newspaper content at

With thermometers across Maine pushing 110 degrees in July 1911, it’s no wonder that the baggage handler for the Maine Central Railroad in Livermore Falls collapsed on the job one afternoon.

So, too, did Bert Clark, the blacksmith just down the street.

A handful of workers at the Livermore Falls Glove Factory fell victim to the heat as well.

All of them wound up at home, with Dr. L.B. Hayden treating them.

By the dinner hour, the Lewiston Evening Journal reported, “the heat was so intense the hay fields were no place for man or beast, and both fled alike and sought shelter from the sun’s intense rays.”

“If you don’t believe it is hot – but there’s no one in his right mind who doubts it – just go onto the street and see the wilted, red-faced, perspiring mass of people gasping for a real, bona fide breath of fresh air,” the paper said. “Everyone looks haggard and worn.”


The Journal said that hundreds of people were sleeping outside on hammocks and couches. Factories shut down early and and mothers scrounged for milk because of a weather-induced shortage.

The 11-day heat wave, which scoured the entire East Coast, melted blacktop, killed horses by the score and shut down factories that couldn’t operate in conditions so awful. A handful of deaths in the region were blamed on the soaring temperatures.

At J.L. Frost’s store in New Auburn, a dozen new thermometers on display in the window broke when they got too hot.

It was the worst heat wave ever to hit Maine, though not everybody suffered.

The Lewiston Daily Sun said “the ice man” was reaping profits, anyway, selling a dollar’s worth of ice when he would typically only be getting a dime.

Dealers found they couldn’t get any from distributors or manufacturers, the paper said, so it proved “impossible to buy an electric fan.”

“The condition brought much distress,” the Journal noted, “especially in some newspaper offices.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: