This Monday marks the first time that a total solar eclipse has been truly present across the United States from coast to coast since 1918. The last time a total eclipse was present, Denver had an ideal view of the event with 100% total coverage.
This time around, the citizens of Denver will only have 94% coverage and will sadly not get to experience all the special phenomenon that is present during a total eclipse. That doesn’t mean eclipse mania has not hit. Many Coloradoans are traveling up to our neighbors in Wyoming to view of the event and special eclipse viewing glasses are hard to find.
You can’t help, but wonder what was everything like 100 years ago. In 1918 Denver was still trying to establish itself as an actual city and people did not have access to the daily conveniences that we have now. I did a little snooping to see what I could find to better picture what the event must have looked like back then
This clipping from The Denver Post shows that many Americans were focused on the greatest war that was ever known at that time.The total eclipse was shown as a nice distraction from the troubling events that were happening in the world. There is a tint of optimism that can be found in this clipping, with American troops having success overseas.
You can imagine that seeing the eclipse was an even bigger deal back then, when there was little chance to see the phenomenon on film. There was even discussion on how this event would affect the great war. Eclipse’s are often viewed as a sign for a new beginning or a symbol that balance has been restored.
An article from the Alliance Herald on June 13, 1918. @NationalEclipse
The danger of looking at the sun was even known back then. The European eclipse of 1912 had over 3,500 reported cases of blindness. People were advised to use smoked glass or developed photographic film to view the eclipse. Early entrepreneurs knew there was money to be made and eclipse watchers purchase solar glasses for 10 cents.
Sadly, I could not locate photos of spectators from the event. I did locate photos from the Solar Eclipse of 1912 and of the eclipse in 1921 to get a better sense in what the world must have looked like back in 1918.
People in Paris try view the eclipse of 1912 @DenverPost
New Yorkers view a solar eclipse from their office roof on April 9, 1921. @newsweek
Even our ancestors knew the significance of this rare occurrence and must have wondered where our world will be 99 years from 1918. Did they wonder if civilization would still exist after the great war? Would mankind be living amongst the stars?
The June 8, 1918, Topeka State Journal headline highlights the significance of this solar eclipse in the U.S. @NationalEclipse
No matter what troubling events that are present in the world; there is always hope. The eclipse can often be seen as a reminder that everything goes in cycles and there is always a chance for a new beginning. A cosmic event like this is universal and can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of their religion or race.