Friday, March 5, 2021

Snowballs for All

 by Anita Mae Draper

Postcard from California postmarked St. George, Brant, (Ontario) May 18, 1908. Public Domain, Courtesy of South Dumfries Historical Society

The month of March is known for winter making a last blustery stand before its power wanes and the warming sun melts snow. This provides the perfect temperature for making sticky snowballs. The postcard featured above was sent from Los Angeles, California on May 13, 1908 to St. George, Ontario. The reverse starts off by saying that the sender is leaving California with regret and will be home soon by way of Chicago. Although the snow should be gone by May, one never knows when it comes to our weather.

Children Snowballing Near Observatory, St. Louis (Shaw's) Botanical Garden, [Mo.] c1905. Public Domain

This 1905 stereograph taken at the St Louis Botanical Garden in Missouri shows a snowball exchange between children on the site of the observatory. I had thought the person with an armload of snowballs might have been an adult, but considering the year, the short length of her outfit appears to negate that guess.

Did you know that many communities have bylaws concerning the throwing of snowballs? It is usually necessitated and enforced when the act hurts others, whether children or adults. The article from the Newmarket Era shows a good example of a bylaw to stop bullying. If only it was that easy the rest of the year.

Imperial Oil's office staff snowball fight, Burrard Inlet, Vancouver, BC. 1915-1916.  Courtesy Glenbow Archives, Alberta

An interesting photograph from 1915-1916 found at the Glenbow Archives in Alberta shows a snowball fight at noon between office staff members at Imperial Oil's refinery (Ioco), Burrard Inlet, Vancouver, British Columbia. The body language in this candid shot seems to imply the male is threatening to throw the snowballs, although we don't know if he completed the action. 

Hans Dahl -  Snowball fight and snowman, by 1937. Public Domain

On the other hand, the women in this Hans Dahl painting have chosen to direct their snowballs at a snowman. Are they aiming for his hat, face, or the club-like stick in his hands? 

A Republican-Democratic snow battle at the Capitol. Page boys. December 14, 1923. Public Domain

Does it seem natural to anyone else that a snowball fight would occur between Republican and Democratic page boys at the Capitol? This became an annual snow battle on the Capitol grounds until at least 1930, as long as good snowball making material was available.

Snow scenes. Snowballing on Jaffa Road. January 1942. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Although Jerusalem isn't known for its snowy scenes, the city does experience it every three or four years in varying amounts. Back in 1942, an overnight snowfall brought the community, including soldiers, out along the Jaffa Road to try their hand at target practice. 

Have you ever been hit by a snowball? How did you respond?

This closes my series on snowball throwing, an activity to be enjoyed for all if done responsibly. Follow the links for other posts in this series:

Jan 5, 2021: Snowballs Go Way Back

Feb 5, 2021: Snowball Fights in War and Play


Anita Mae Draper served a 20-year term working on air bases in the communication trade of the Canadian Armed Forces before retiring to the open skies of the prairies. She uses her experience and love of history to pepper her stories of yesteryear's romance with realism as well as faith. Anita Mae Draper's published stories appear in Barbour Publishing, WhiteFire Publishing, and Guideposts Books. Readers can enrich their story experience with visual references by checking out Anita's Pinterest boards. All links available on her website at 


  1. Thanks for posting! This has been a fun series! Who knew there could be so many pictures of snowballs? And yes, I've been involved in snowball fights. Most have been in good fun. There may have been a few times when I got blasted by my little brother when I wasn't expecting it!

    1. Connie, those little brothers can be very mischievous when given the opportunity. :D
      Thanks for joining me on this journey.

  2. Great work, Anita. Wish all the world's conflicts could be solved with a good old-fashioned snowball fight!

    1. I agree, Terrie, although I figure it wouldn't be long before someone decided to win at all costs and wrap snow around an ice chunk, or even hard press their snowball so it has the same impact as a baseball. Thankfully, the people who through snowballs for fun far outweigh the mean ones.

      I appreciate you stopping by with your thoughts. Food for thought for sure. :)

  3. What a fun post. I love the photos. I didnt see snow until I was ten. We drove from the Mohave dessert (where we lived on a farm) up to where my grandfathers sister lived. It was totally white. Us five kids wanted out to play in the snow so bad. But dad was driving and kept saying NO ITS COLD. Finally mom told him to stop and let the kids out to play. Of course we were in shorts and t-shirts and no shoes. We got out and started running. Then it hit us. OH MY GOSH. Our feet were freezing. I sat down and pulled my feet up in the air and started crying. LOL Mom and dad had to carry each one of us back to the car. Mom helped dry our feet and put blankets around us. I could have sworn she had a smile on her face, but my feet hurt too much. LOL Yah, she knew that the only way we were going to respect the snow was to experience it. Smart woman. We stayed there at grandfathers sisters house for two weeks. Wow what fun. We had many snowball fights.
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

    1. Wow, Lori. I enjoyed reading that. Yes, your mom was wise. It takes inner strength for a mother to allow her kids to learn by doing, even when it could cause hurt, but then she was there to warm your body and heal your spirit when it was over.

      I've never run out in the snow without some type of footwear, slippers included, but I've enjoyed running barefoot out on the farm in my bathing suit on a rainy summer day, and then having water fights by scooping buckets of water from full rain barrels.

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience as it reminded me of good summer days. :)

  4. I found this interesting 'that a snowball fight would occur between Republican and Democratic page boys at the Capitol'

    1. Me too, Michelle. It makes me wonder if they played fair. Ha!

      Thanks for sharing. :)