In the 1800’s groundhogs were so plentiful in the area that they were shot for food. Out of town visitors loved the taste of cooked groundhog so much that a club was formed to promote the harvesting and use of the mammal.
The Groundhog Club, recognized officially in 1899, set about figuring out how to promote groundhogs and their use as fine cuisine. And the Punxsutawny Spirit newspaper came up with just the plan.
The editor of the paper, Clymer Freas, adopted a groundhog as a weather prognosticator. This groundhog, which Freas named “Phil,” began the tradition of looking for his shadow on February 2 in 1887, which continues to this day.
Oh, by the way, Phil came out today and saw his shadow, so get back under the covers…six more weeks of bad weather yet to come.