On this day in 1948 of the mayor of Boston, James Curley, wrote to the president of MIT, asking that the school’s top engineers find a way to get rid of the huge amounts of snow, maybe with flamethrowers. Seriously. Plus: in Chico, California, a much more calm event is getting underway, the the Snow Goose Festival of the Pacific Flyway.

1948 mayor to MIT: use flamethrowers to melt snow? (MIT)

Snow Goose Festival of the Pacific Flyway

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It’s full-on winter here in Wisconsin.

We’ve had a few big snowstorms lately, and some bitter cold temperatures, and it’s kept all of us busy clearing snow and ice from our driveways and doorways.

It’s only natural, after a long stretch of shoveling or snowblowing, that you might wish for an easier way to move all that accumulated snow.

That was the wish on this day in 1948 of the mayor of Boston, James Curley.

It had been another extremely snowy winter, maybe even the worst on record, and the mayor was looking for a better way forward.

So Curley wrote to the president of MIT, Karl T. Compton, for help.

I love the way MIT’s archive described this letter: “Curley communicates his concern about snow removal and possible spring floods, makes a few tentative suggestions on methods, and expresses his hope that Institute researchers will tackle the problem.”

Let’s unpack this a little.

Curley’s “tentative suggestions” as described in the letter sound like this: “I am very desirous that the Institute of Technology have a competent group of engineers make an immediate study as to ways and means of removing the huge accumulation not only in Boston, but throughout the entire state, whether it be by the use of flame throws or chemicals or otherwise.”

No word on what the school told the mayor, but even so, it’s not every day that the mayor of a big city asks the high-tech university to melt all the snow with flame throwers, is it?

Today in Chico, California, the Snow Goose Festival of the Pacific Flyway is getting underway.

The area is essentially a rest stop for migrating birds along their usual route, and more than a million snow geese use the area.

The festival includes art shows, educational workshops and, no surprise, lots of bird watching.