Think your city is hot? Well, think about this: Some of the greatest American cities have existed long before the advent of methods to cool them. 

Desert cities born from boom towns and Southern metropolises were thriving hubs well before air conditioning was invented 111 years ago.

On July 17, 1902, an engineer named Willis Haviland Carrier designed the first modern air conditioning system, which he called the “Apparatus for Treating Air,” for the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Co. in Brooklyn, N.Y. The machine blew air over cooling coils in order to control the factory’s humidity and keep the paper from wrinkling. But it was not until 1931 that H.H. Schultz and J.Q. Sherman would invent the individual room air conditioner that we know today.

For American cities sprouting up in the hottest climate zones of the country, summer was even more of a sweating, steaming mess than it is today. Here some of America' cities that sprung up into meccas of culture and enterprise, despite the blazing heat.