Category Archives: Michigan


Weather forecast for Feb. 1-2, 2011: Nighttime lows of 15 to 19 degrees below zero; wind chill readings 25 to 35 below zero.

I live in Colorado. Winter is one of the state’s biggest assets, and I enjoy all the season has to offer. But arctic blasts of this extreme nature are rare. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Denver was -29 degrees on January 9, 1875, and Denver has only hit similar temperatures 29 times over the past 125 years.
Naturally my thoughts turned to other cold places, and I immediately remembered Pellston, Mich.  I passed through Pellston on a driving tour of Michigan in late 2007.
welcome to pellston

U.S. Highway 31

A village with a population of less than a thousand people, Pellston is situated near the tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. In 1933, Pellston residents endured a temperature of 53 degrees below zero; to this date, it remains the coldest temperature ever recorded in Michigan.

Due to its geographic location in a basin of sand situated between two semi-circular hill ranges, Pellston often records some of the lowest temperatures in the U.S. As a result, village leaders adopted the motto “ICEBOX”, and at some point the welcome signs came to reflect this claim to fame.  (I especially like the icicles incorporated in the text!)

But the story doesn’t end here. In fact, International falls, Minn., holds the federal trademark for the slogan “Icebox of the Nation”. This victory came after a decades-long battle with another cold spot – Fraser, Colo. – that was finally resolved in 2008 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

On the village’s Web site, Pellston officials recognize the fact that International Falls holds the legal right to use this slogan.  But they claim that Pellston is “unofficially” known as the ICEBOX, which I guess is enough to prevent a lawsuit from International Falls.

I’m not so sure that I would be fighting over being known as an ice box… is it really attractive to people?

On second thought, it certainly attracted me.  So there are bound to be others!

p.s. Sorry for the lack of posts recently. I have been hard at work on my book State Lines which I plan to publish in the coming months!