Hospitality and the Blizzards of Adair County
Adair Prebysterian Church, Adair County, Iowa
A blizzard swept across the Midwest on Friday, January 10th, 1975, leaving thirty-five people in the capable hospitality of the Adair Presbyterian Church for two days. The church considered housing travelers a part of its ministry and became known as the place to stay in Adair when weather turned for the worse for those on a journey. Since “this has become an annual “happening” for the Presbyterian church,” bedding to keep the visitors warm and food to sustain them was already present when they arrived.
The travelers who all made Adair a stop on their trip were from a variety of locales, including Arizona, California, Alaska, and even Australia. For one of the Australians, this was his first experience of snow. On Saturday, two of those in the company had birthdays. The Presbyterian church would not have them go without a celebration. So, a cake was baked in the church kitchen.
According to an article in the Wiota News, “As many as 125 and as few as one have stayed at the church in the past five years. Dogs, cats, and, on one occasion, seven python snakes have also found refuge in the church.”
Travelers housed at the Presbyterian church weren’t the only people in Adair county to have a little fun when it snowed. Local W.A. Huss recalls making some mischief in the Blizzard of 1888. One of the Huss’s neighbors “wanted to go to town to get whisky and one of the Huss boys went along to purchase smoking tobacco for his father. The roads were blocked and the neighbor cut through the fields, cutting fences as he went.” W.A. Huss said of the event, “That evening we had a happy dad, a happier neighbor and also a lot of mad neighbors.”
The blizzard of 1888 was a particularly brutal one. In Nebraska, it was referred to as the “children’s blizzard” because so many school children lost their lives. The thirteen-hour storm also hit Iowa, bringing with it snow, wind, and freezing temperatures. But even faced with this killer storm, the folks of Adair County made lemonade—so to speak.