Entering Cut Bank, Montana, it’s hard to miss the sign announcing that you’ve entered the coldest town in America. Because that sign takes the form of a giant concrete penguin.
The big bird was created by Cut Bank resident Ron Gustafson more than 30 years ago. “It was on one of those flash-frozen days, February 1, 1989,” according to Roadside America, “when the wind chill plummeted to 64 degrees below zero” and Gustafson decided he should commemorate the town’s claim to fame. The 27-foot-tall penguin stood outside of his family’s appliance store.
The base of the statue proclaims Cut Bank “the coldest spot in the nation,” but is that actually true? In the winter, the temperature rarely gets above freezing. The coldest temperature in the town’s history was -47 degrees Fahrenheit, which happened on February 15, 1936. (The record for lowest temperature in the United States comes from Prospect Creek, Alaska, which hit -80 degrees Fahrenheit on January 23, 1971.)