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September 2013

History of Spearfish

The history of Spearfish, is filled with tales of gold fever and explorations of unknown territory. Spearfish started small, but it would soon become the center of commerce and community in the Northern Black Hills. However, Spearfish’s history didn’t begin with its establishment in 1876 or its incorporiation in 1888 of which we are celebrating this year, but with the story of seven men who entered the Black Hills and found more than their share of excitement. In 1833 or so the debated legend tells, a band of men led by Ezra Kind entered what was to become Lawrence County, in search of gold. It seemed the band had discovered gold and were headed home

when they were attacked and killed by Native Americans. One of the men made it through the attack and quickly etched their story on a piece of rock, which was later called the Thoen Stone. The stone told of their discovery of gold and the attack. Kind was the only one to survive long enough to tell the tale. Gold fever attracted many to the area, and some of the first settlers of land near Spearfish River were two men by the names of Alfred Gay and J.E. Smith. The river was given its name by the Native Americans who speared fish in the crystal clear waters, and the town of Spearfish drew its name from the same life-supporting water. In 1876, the township of Spearfish had officially begun.

The first building erected was a log cabin that started a trend for more and it soon became apparent that Spearfish was going to grow and would need protection. A stockade was built which blocked a Native American attack during the winter of 1876-1877. In 1877, the surrender of the Sioux brought a relative end to Native American-white violence and Spearfish began growing. The settlement was soon a center for commerce and community, and the setting was ideal. The river provided a water supply and irrigation for farming, and it was a quiet atmosphere removed from the tawdry reputations of such cities as Deadwood, Lead and Central City. In 1877, the first store was opened and also a U.S. Post Office. By the 1880 census, the population of Spearfish had grown to 671. Because of its growth, Spearfish seemed a perfect place for a Federal Fish Hatchery. The fish hatchery, now known as D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives, was completed in 1899 and has since then supplied millions of trout to the Black Hills waters. Spearfish seemed to be a place of great interest for many. Soon, tourists were drawn to the grandeur of Spearfish Canyon via a National Scenic Byway. Frank Lloyd Wright once commented that Spearfish Canyon was more interesting and miraculous than the Grand Canyon and he termed the combined elements of its lime-

It’s a celebration As we mark this milestone, the 125th Birthday Committee invites you to be a part of this free celebration that is uniquely Spearfish and open to all. This is a special week as residents honor the pioneers that founded this community, and the leaders that keep moving it forward. We hope our fellow neighbors enjoy themselves because there is truly something for everyone. From the historic property tours, the Main Street Party to the Sunday celebration in the park, we’ve got it all. As you enjoy this time of remembrance and celebration,give thanks for this place we call home.

stone walls, flowing river and trees as the “Spearfish Ensemble.” In 1897 a petition was submitted to build a roadway through Spearfish Canyon. When the road was completed in 1930, it became known to all that Spearfish was on the way to great cultural and economic growth. In 1883, the Spearfish Normal School was established. Now known as Black Hills State University, the school is a major employer of Spearfish residents, has been a great asset to the town, and is well known for producing high quality teachers. 1906 brought the establishment of the Matthews Opera House, the center See HISTORY — Page 3

September 2013

Have you ever wondered ... A small collection of facts and tidbits

• Why is Spearfish called the Queen City? Spearfish is nestled between three prominent mountains – Crow Peak, Lookout Mountain and Spearfish Mountain, and together they form a “crown” circling the city.

• What is the significance of the ‘H’ on the hillside of Lookout Mountain?

125th Celebration Schedule

Events recognize Queen City’s past, present and future Friday, Sept. 13 • From 1 to 5 p.m. on Friday there will be free Hydro Electric Plant Tours, and everyone is welcome to come see the behind-the-scenes operation of the facility built in 1910, has become a living testament to the industrial spirit of our community’s pioneers.

Saturday, Sept. 14

The “H” stands for “Hills.” Historically Black Hills State University lettermen received the letter “H” for their jackets. The “H” on Lookout Mountain was proposed by the BHSU student body president in 1955 as a way to offer more activities during homecoming week. The “H” was constructed later that year and finished in 1956.

• From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, there will be an open house at the High Plains Western Heritage Center. Everyone is welcome to tour the 20,000 square foot museum of displays featuring Spearfish history in ranching, rodeo, transportation, mining and forestry without paying an admission fee.

• What is the most extreme temperature change ever recorded?

• From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, there will be a free Plein Air Painting Event for artists of all ages and abilities to participate in painting outdoors in and around Spearfish. At 4 p.m. following the all day outdoor painting event in and around will be a

The most extreme two-minute temperature change ever recorded in the world occurred in Spearfish on the morning of Jan. 22, 1943. Spearfish residents woke up to a frigid -4 degrees at 7:30 a.m. A mere two minutes later the thermometer read 45 degrees, for a total temperature change of an astonishing 49 degrees in 120 seconds.

• How much park space exists in Spearfish? The city of Spearfish is home to more than 175 acres of parkland. Nearby Lookout Mountain offers an additional 750 acres of parkland. • Population over the years 1890 678 1900 1,166 1910 1,130 1920 1,254 1930 1,577 1940 2,139 1950 2,775 1960 3,682 1970 4,661 1980 5,251 1990 6,966 2000 8,608 2010 10,494 • How many mayors has Spearfish had thus far? Spearfish has had 37 mayors thus far. The mayor with the longest term was Jerry Krambeck, who served as mayor for 13 consecutive years from 2000 to 2013. • How many square miles does the city of Spearfish encompass? The city of Spearfish currently makes up 16.05 square miles. In 1888 Spearfish was comprised of 640 acres, or 1 square mile. • What is the elevation of Spearfish? It is 3,643 feet above sea level.

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quick draw at the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery. For more information, or to register visit the city’s official website at www.spearfish125th. com. • From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, there will be tours of the Historic Anderson Ranch and from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. there will be tours of the school house, a historical landmark at Frawley Ranch. This event is free and open to the public, and for those interested in taking part, they can call 722-1800 to make reservations. • Two individual tours will be held at 2 p.m. and at 4 p.m. Saturday, when history comes to life as costumed actors tell the life stories of nine historical Spearfish residents during the Rose Hill Cemetery Walk. • It’s time to commemorate the 125th Anniversary with a Main Street Celebration from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday. The day is filled with plenty of entertainment, games, food and so

much more. As part of the celebration several vocal ensembles, dance teams and local musicians take the stage throughout the day, including performances from Six Mile Road at 4 p.m., Lyle, Doug, Rick and Paul at 5 p.m., Dr. Ridley at 6:30 p.m., and the Max Temple Band at 7:45 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 15 • From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. an old-fashioned 125th Birthday Party will be held at Spearfish City Park. At 10 a.m. there will be a display of antique cars and tractors, at 11 a.m. there will be a community church service, at noon there will be a family picnic (bring your own lunch) that will include a historic game show, games, activities and entertainment. At 1:45 p.m. birthday cake will be served, and at 3 p.m. there will be a Rock of Ages community worship event. All events are free and open to public. Visit or call 642-1333 for more information.

National Register of Historic Places in Spearfish Oliver N. Ainsworth House 340 Kansas St.

Baker Bungalow 740 8th St.

Fayette Cook House 840 8th Ave.

James A. Corbin House 345 Main St.

Henry Court House 329 Main St.

Dakota Tin and Gold Mine 20896 Fillmore Mine

D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery

The National Register of Historic Places strives to identify, evaluate and protect our historic resources, which includes several historic homes. Pictured is the Arthur A. Hewes House a Queen Anne style home that was built in 1905. Illustration provided the Spearfish Historic Preservation Commission

Henry Keets House 344 E. Illinois Webb S. Knight House 514 7th St.

William Ernest Lown House 745 5th St.

The Mail Building 731 Main St.

McLaughlin Ranch Barn 410 N. Rainbow Rd.

Almira Riley House

423 Hatchery Circle

938 Ames St.

Eleazer C. and Gwinnie Dickey House

Spearfish City Hall

HISTORY Continued from Page 2

722 Main St.

of entertainment in Spearfish. The opera house stands today, and is still as enjoyable as ever, as it offers professionally produced theatre and musical performances year round. The ground floor art gallery space hosts regionally and nationally known artists of all types. The premier arts element in Spearfish from the 1930’s to 2008 was the Passion Play, performed in an outdoor amphitheater during the summer months. Visitors from across the United States attended this summer tradition as the story of the last days of Jesus Christ unfolded in this breathtaking setting. Spearfish has earned a reputation as an educational, agricultural and commercial center within a natural setting equal to other destination communities

735 8th St.

Walter Dickey House 815 State St.

William D. Driskill House 335 Canyon St.

Episcopal Church of All Angels 129 W. Michigan

Halloran-MatthewsBrady House

Spearfish Filling Station 706 Main St.

Old Spearfish Post Office 526 Main St.

Toomey House 1011 Main St.

Otto L. Uhlig House 230 Jackson St.

Walton Ranch

214 W. Jackson St.

221 Upper Valley Rd.

Arthur Hewes House

Mary Whitney House

811 St. Joe St.

Homestake Workers House 830 State St.

704 8th St.

John Wolzmuth House 814 8th Ave.

of the west. It is also home to many annual summer events such as the annual Corvette Rally and Festival in the Park, which attract visitors from all over the country. In the winter, Spearfish hosts snowmobilers, skiers and numerous basketball and soccer tournaments. As a regional trade center for the Northern Black Hills communities and parts of Wyoming and Montana, Spearfish’s excellent access to Interstate 90 has enabled the growth of the health care system, university, retail, office and personal services, and light manufacturing industries. This entrepreneurial spirit has enabled the community to be self-sustaining and contributed to a growth rate of 22 percent in the period between 2000 and 2010.

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Happy 125th The City of Lead wishes a very Happy 125th Birthday to our great neighbor, the City of Spearfish

Renewable Resources for a Sustainable World 1510 W. Oliver • Spearfish, SD • 605.642.7741

Proud to be a Black Hills business for 77 years! Congratulations Spearfish!

September 2013

September 2013

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Who was the family who inspired it all? Thomas N. Matthews and his son Thomas W. Matthews came to the South Dakota and Wyoming area from Texas in 1882. As successful cattlemen, the two brought 1,000 head of cattle to graze on the open prairies. The Matthews family built a large ranch in Wyoming and in 1892 they moved to Spearfish. They bought a huge plot of land that included parts of Spearfish Valley and Lookout Mountain, which they eventually sold to Homestake Gold Mine for water usage. In 1900, the Matthews began erecting several buildings in downtown Spearfish, including an office building that was completed in 1902. Four years later, the Matthews announced than an addition to the office building would house the Matthews Opera House, which was designed for Vaudeville performances and would eventually host community events like dances and sports games. More additions were added in 1911, including a large hall and space for other businesses. The buildings, located on what is now Main Street, are known as the Matthews Block. The original sandstone buildings still stand, and the Matthews Opera House continues to be a major attraction for visitors and a major promoter of theatre and the arts. Now, apartments are located on the second floor of the building, a dance center is in the old hall, and building space on the first floor houses a variety of businesses, many of which have changed over the years. The Matthews family not only assisted in the development of Spearfish with the building of the Matthews block, but also impacted the community as a whole. The location of the buildings provided a new main street in Spearfish that flourished. Additionally, Thomas R. Matthews, the grandson of Thomas N. Matthews, was a dedicated member of the community who often cooked dinners for residents at the city park, and helped create the golf course in Spearfish. Thomas R. Matthews, a state Division of Criminal Investigation special agent, was shot and killed by an escaped convict from Minnesota named George Sitts in 1946. After his death, Matthews’ wife sold the block to Bud and Margaret Kelley, which is why the Matthews Block is sometimes referred to as the Kelley’s Block.

Matthews Opera House Supporting the arts for 107 years The Matthews Opera House has been a staple in Spearfish since it was built by the Matthews family in 1906. The more than 100-year-old structure is used for a variety of purposes, including a center for art and theatre productions in Spearfish. But at its inception in the early 20th century, the Matthews Opera House was used mostly for performances, including an opera sung by Ruth Craven in 1907, a Shakespeare performance in 1907, and even Catholic Masses, which were held there until St. Joseph’s Catholic Church was built. As stage shows grew into silent motion pictures, the opera house became the Princess Theater, which was managed by James O’Neill. Movies, locally produced plays and concerts were held at the opera house throughout the 1920s. When “talkies,” or motion pictures with sound, came into being, O’Neill built a new movie theater called the Vita Theatre, which was a hotspot of entertainment in the Spearfish community. In the years that followed, the Matthews Opera House became a center for meetings, storage, and the occasional play. Local basketball games, parachute rolling during World War II, and gun shootings were held in the building as well. Bud and Margaret Kelley purchased the opera house, which was now in a state of disrepair, in the latter 1940s. Black Hills Teacher’s College adopted the opera house for use by those in its fine arts program. During the 1950s and 60s, the college was one of the only entity keeping the opera house alive. College actors performed on the opera house stage, but it was in constant need of cleaning due to the abundance of pigeon and bat droppings. The upstairs of the opera house had no air conditioning, and the indoor performances regularly reached 80 or 90 degrees. In the 1970s Black Hills State received a grant that helped refurbish the opera house, including a new coat of interior paint and new seating. And in the 1980s, audiences began flooding back to the opera house, so those who supported the opera house created a plan to restore the theatre. Thus, the Matthews Opera House Society and Spearfish

Center for Arts and Humanities was born. The Kelleys, who still owned the opera house, made a tremendous contribution to the nonprofit group by granting a 99-year, rent-free lease of the facility. That lease allowed arts groups to use more of the building for offices, dressing rooms, and a lobby. Today, the Matthews Opera has been the site of year-round community theatre performances, art shows, and public gatherings. Approximately 5,500 visitors came to the opera house from 2011-2012, and significant events hosted by the opera house that year included five national performances, a community theatre musical, a concert benefitting families with autism and the Northern Hills Training Center, two community theatre plays, children’s theatre productions, foreign film screenings, art shows, wine tastings, a cappella concerts, bluegrass shows, and much more. Additionally, the Gallery, located within the Matthews Opera House has hosted numerous talented artists of all mediums, as well as artists receptions. The Matthews Opera House continues to contribute to the community by facilitating the Festival in the Park, which is now in its 36th year, bringing more than 20,000 visitors, hundreds of vendors, and numerous local musicians. This festival also fundraises for several nonprofit groups and even hosts weddings, memorial services, celebrations of life, private concerts, private fundraisers, and other corporate events. The Matthews Opera House has a rich history stretching back more than 100 years, but continues to remain a leading facility in the promotion of the theatre, arts, and humanities programs in the community of Spearfish.

Donald E. Young

Josef Meier

Black Hills State University’s health and Northern Hills Alcohol and Drug referfitness center is named after Donald E. Young, ral Center, Northern Hills Youth Attention Center, Chamber of Commerce Education a long-time contributor to both the university Committee, PTA, Lookout Memorial Hospital and the community in which he board, and was a member of VFW lived. Post 5860 and American Legion Young arrived at Spearfish Post 164. Normal School in 1935. Young retired from the university In 1940, Young graduated from in 1979. During his time at the colSpearfish Normal School and lege, Young held teaching positions joined the Naval Reserve and in the education department, social served as an officer in the U.S. science department, physical eduNavy during World War II, and cation department, and started the later, the Korean War. Between drivers education program in the stints in the military he returned safety department. home to teach and coach football, Donald E. He was awarded Student of the basketball and track at Spearfish Year in 1938, Teacher of the Year in High School. Young 1958, Alumnus of the Year in 1978 Young began a distinguished and was inducted into the SDIC 30-year career at Black Hills Intercollegiate Hall of Fame and Black Hills Teachers College in 1948, the same year he married Darleen Furois. The couple would lat- State University Hall of Fame. In 1990, the newly constructed sports facilier have four children together. Young served ty was named the Donald E. Young Sports and as Black Hills State University’s director of extension from 1958-1976, and headed coach- Fitness Center in his honor. ing and teaching positions as well. Young passed away in 1997 at the age of He was mayor of Spearfish from 196783. He is remembered for his service in the 1976, and served on the Sixth District Council U.S. armed forces, his dedication to Black of Local Governments. He also served on Hills State University and its students, as multiple other boards, including Spearfish well as his commitment to the community of Kiwanis, Spearfish Planning Commission, Spearfish.

Josef Meier came to the United States from Germany in the early 1930s. Meier brought with him other German actors and this group traveled the country performing a translated version of the German Passion Play, which chronicles the persecution, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Meier and the others arrived in Spearfish in 1938 and chose a location near Lookout Mountain to build an outdoor amphitheater, which would be used for performances of what was termed the Black Hills Passion Play. During the winter months from 1953 to 1998, the group would travel to Lake Wales, Fla. to perform and return to the Black Hills for the summer season. The Black Hills Passion Play was well-received in Spearfish and extras from the community were allowed to take part in the performances, which drew thousands of tourists to the Queen City each year. The Meier family also contributed to other developments in Spearfish. The family donated proceeds from the play to various religious groups and area

Josef Meier churches. The land on which Interstate 90 is built was donated by Meier. And Meier’s daughter, Johanna, was influential in establishing a summer arts program at Black Hills State University. After 76 years of continued performances, the Passion Play closed in September 2008, ending a four-generation legacy of attendees and performers, but making a lasting impact on the historical significance of Spearfish.


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September 2013

Canyon splendor carries on through time A common response from people who visit Spearfish is, “We had no idea it was so beautiful here.” The surrounding Black Hills National Forest features an abundance of recreational opportunities all year round and it’s not hard to believe that this is one of the rea-

sons so many residents embrace the outdoor lifestyle here. But when it comes to the biggest attraction, it’s Spearfish Canyon. In the summer, it’s not uncommon to see road cyclists touring through Spearfish Canyon, people rock climbing its cliffs, fly-fishing for rainbow, brook, or brown trout in Spearfish Creek, or simply enjoying a relaxing picnic. The scenic byway draws thou-

Pioneer photo by Heather Murschel

sands of people throughout the year, and it’s known as one of the must-see places when the leaves begin to change in the fall. There are also three waterfalls within the canyon, which include Spearfish Falls and Roughlock Falls located near Savoy, and Bridal Veil located along Highway 14A. During the winter months, Bridal Viel Falls transforms into one of the most sought after ice climbing areas in the Black Hills. But, the annual changing of the leaves is one

Photo courtesy of the Leland D. Case Library

of the most prominent events that occur in Spearfish Canyon every year. Each autumn, thousands of visitors flock to Spearfish Canyon to gaze at changing leaves painted in rich green, yellow, and red hues. When it comes to history, nothing compares to Spearfish Canyon. Scientists have estimated the canyon was formed up to 60 million years ago, when water carved out the softer rock, leaving the exposed limestone that create its canyon walls. But, the history is as interesting as the rock formations, as the canyon was a bustling train route from 1883 until 1933 after a sawmill began operations up the canyon from town. The next year, the Burlington and Missouri railroad came through, running a branch line from Deadwood to Lead through the canyon to Spearfish. It survived for nearly 40 years, but was destroyed by floodwaters. While the train was running, it was a popular way to travel. The summer months brought views of blooming flowers, lush greenery and took passengers above Spearfish Falls and below Bridal Veil Falls. When the saw mill closed, Glen Inglis, who was a court reporter in Deadwood, converted the building into a gathering place known to attract some pretty rough personalities. Today, it’s known as the Latchstring Inn, and flourishes as a restaurant that compliments Spearfish Canyon Lodge where thousands flock to for their vacation year after year.

n o s n o i t a l C o ngrat u ! s r a e y t 125 g re a

and enjoy all this beautiful town has to offer!


I-90 Exit 14 • 3245 Colorado Blvd., Spearfish • 877-642-7731 For online shopping and schedule of events visit

Outdoor Motor Sports



I-90 Exit 14 • Wal-Mart Super Center


Exit 14 Amoco • Colorado Blvd.


! T U O

Take I-90 West from Sturgis to Exit 14 Spearfish

★ Sturgis

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Cheers to 125 Years!




We're bubbling over with excitement for Spearfish's 125 Anniversary!

1 Party Time

LIQUOR Pioneer photo by Josh Larson

D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives The D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives, formerly the Spearfish National Fish Hatchery, was established by the U.S. Fish Commission in 1896 with the intent of introducing and maintaining trout in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The 10-acre hatchery originally served as a production hatchery, and later became the administrative and training facility for numerous national fisheries. Today, the hatchery is a preservation site for artifacts, journals, photographs, and other materials collected from fish hatcheries and wildlife refuges nationwide, as well as a spot for visitors to take in the scenic beauty of the area, feed trout and ducks, and tour the grounds. The D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery has a variety of attractions for visitors, including an underwater viewing area, numerous trout ponds, raceways, and feeding areas, as well as nature trails, overlooks, a gift shop, and an outdoor learning center. Other points of interest are the Booth House, the Hatchery Museum, the Ice House, the Yellowstone Boat and the Fish Car. The Booth House is a two-story house constructed in 1905 by DeWitt Clinton (D.C.) Booth, the first superintendent of the Spearfish Hatchery. The large house was one of the most modern homes in Spearfish at the time it was built, and included luxuries such as hot water radiant heat, an indoor bathroom, and residential electricity. The Booth House was home to other hatchery superintendents and was used until 1983. Today, the house is decorated as it would have been at the time of its construction, and is open during the early summer months for tours. The Hatchery Museum, the oldest building on the grounds, used to house wooden troughs full of incubating fish eggs. Now the museum contains historical exhibits and displays artifacts from fisheries all over the nation. In 1899, the original Ice House was constructed and used to store ice for transporting eggs and fish cross-country. The ice was cut from local ponds during winter and stored for later use. The ice was also

useful in preserving fish food, which, at that time, was comprised mostly of ground meat. Now, a replica Ice House sits on the grounds, housing the National Fish Culture Hall of Fame, which honors people who have contributed to the field of aquaculture. The Yellowstone Boat dry docked near the fishery raceways was originally used during the early 1900s when D.C. Booth and hatchery crews would travel to Yellowstone Lake to collect cutthroat trout and eggs for distribution at hatcheries nationwide. The Yellowstone Boat is one of the original boats used in Yellowstone National Park during the late 1920s. The U.S. Fish Commission originally used railroad cars to transport fish cross-country. The Fish Car is a replica of one of the first railroad cars, which housed comfortably a crew of five people as they delivered fish to hatcheries, rivers, and lakes. The Fish Car mimics a circa 1910 passenger railroad car, which follows the design of the original Fish Car No. 3. The cars were used from about 1873 to 1947, at which time they became less efficient and more costly to operate, due largely to the expansion and development of roads and highway systems. The car is open to the public for touring. The archives in hatchery collect, preserve, a protect fisheries records and artifacts for educational research and historical purposes. Additionally, they provide interpretive and educational programs for visitors. Currently, about 15,000 objects and 160,000 pieces of irreplaceable archival material, including photographs, architectural drawings, blueprints, journals, uniform badges, flags, fishing equipment, fish encased in antique jars, a silver spoon engraved with a drawing of the hatchery, an embossed saltshaker impressed with the “U.S. Fisheries, Spearfish, S.D.” logo, and more. The items are housed in a 10,000-square foot, climate-controlled storage facility. Objects and documents are preserved by professional curators and archivists. The archives are one of two in the nation.

731 N. 12th Street, I-90 Exit 12, O'Neill Plaza, Spearfish

605-642-4700 • FIND US ON FACEBOOK!

Mon-Thurs: 9am-10pm • Fri & Sat: 9am-Midnight • Sun: 11am-7pm

Dana D ental arts Michael R. Dana, DDS, PC A General and Cosmetic Practice

“Let our family care for your family” The Dana Family Celebrates 125 Years of Spearfish History Proudly serving Spearfish since 1974 Dr. Mick, Dr. Nicole, Dr. Monique and Dr. Bradly

A Beautiful Smile is Always in Style



Black Hills Dance Centre is proud to be a part of Spearfish history for the past 30 years.

Directors Andrea Parker & Andrea Chase 628 1/2 Main St., Spearfish • • 642-8866


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September 2013

Fassbender photographic collection provides insight into history of the Northern Hills By Jaci Conrad Pearson Black Hills Pioneer

Roughly three years after the estimated 800,000-image Fassbender photo collection was purchased by the cities of Lead, Deadwood and Spearfish for $300,000 the board of directors of the Fassbender Photographic Collection, Inc. has a plan

and every week, they’re working toward accomplishing it. Housed at the Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center in Deadwood, the invaluable bit of history from the early 20th century in the Northern Hills, boxed inside the 400-plus boxes contained in the Fassbender vault is currently being processed by a humble group of six or seven

Pioneer photo by Jaci Conrad Pearson

highly dedicated volunteers. Their leader is former Fassbender Photographic Collection manager Richard Carlson. “The timeliness of the acquisition of the collection by the cities certainly worked well for those involved with putting together presentations of the history of Spearfish for the city’s 125th celebration,” Carlson said. “We were able to provide hundreds of images for consideration that may have otherwise been unavailable.” Soon after the acquisition was complete, volunteers feverishly worked in tandem to prepare the collection’s contents for the move from its current temporary location at the former Spearfish Food Pantry to the Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center in Deadwood. While the vast majority of the estimated 800,000 images are portraits, mostly school pictures, the balance of them include a treasure trove that captures a wide diversity of life in the Black Hills and surrounding region. These photographs, negatives, slides, and film footage provide a glimpse of activities ranging from rodeos and sporting activities to the carving of Mount Rushmore and almost all significant activities that took place at Black Hills State University for several decades. Examples of the photographic collection include President Calvin Coolidge donning an Indian headdress, Homestake mine, pol-

iticians, and rare photos from almost every community in the region. The photography collection’s home is a climate-controlled 24-foot by 17-foot room in the upstairs level of the HARCC. The room, or photo vault, is comprised of Spacesaver compact storage units. Controls within each room ensure that happens. “Achieving stable temperature and relative humidity levels is the key,” Weber said. “When temperature and relative humidity levels spike, that is when damage can occur to the materials.” Sadly, some of the Fassbender materials, originally stored in storage units, pole barns, sheds and garages were copromised, due to exposure to the elements. “Some things were lost. Temperatures in these non-climate-controlled structures fluctuated, resulting in cracked glass negatives, bugs, mold, water damage and general dust and dirt,” Weber said. “Proper storage is everything. Having the collection housed at the HARCC eliminates environmental control and security issues, ensuring that the collection will be around a lot longer.” The collection ended up at the HARCC at the suggestion of Kevin Kuchenbecker, Chairman of the Fassbender Collection See FASSBENDER — Page 15

n o s n o i t a l u t a Congr ! h s fi r a e p S 125 Years,

September 2013

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High Plains Western Heritage Center pays homage to pioneers

By Mark Watson Black Hills Pioneer

In 1975 a group of area ranchers were concerned that the story of early settlers in the High Plains Region would not be preserved. Two area ranchers, Harry Blair and Edgar (Slim) Gardner, are considered the co-founders of the High Plains Heritage Society, and made plans to open a museum paying tribute to the five state region of South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska. Thus the High Plains Western Heritage Center was created. Through donations and fundraising efforts, money was gathered to purchase 40 acres of land. In October 1975, 75 people from the five-state region were designated as the board of trustees. Six categories of the High Plains history were selected: pioneering, cattle and sheep ranching, rodeo, transportation, American Indians and mining. And on Sept. 26, 1977 ground was broken in the way of the

early settlers, with a team of oxen and a plow. On Sept. 1, 1989 the center held a grand opening. The center saw an expansion in 1996 with the addition of another the 1,875 square feet. Today the center provides more than 20,000 square feet of history featuring a wide range of Western artifacts. The center includes the Bruce Miller Theater, a transportation room that includes a Concord stagecoach, a chuckwagon, a “Tally Ho” wagon, buggies and sleighs. On the grounds, there are displays including a one-room schoolhouse, a homestead log cabin, antique farm and ranch equipment and longhorn cattle.

Termespheres — A unique creation Spearfish native Dick Termes has been painting “Termespheres” for more than 32 years now. His spherical paintings vary from photorealistic to surrealistic and beyond. They range in size from 2 1/2 inches to two feet in diameter and can be found all over Spearfish and the surrounding Northern Hills.

Spirit of the Hills Wildlife Sanctuary Presents...

9th Annual Community Fun Day!

Saturday, September 21 • 11am - 6pm Admission: $5 All Day Wrist Band: $10

We are proud a to have been at e r g is h t f o t r a p r 45 community fo . of those years

(Includes "Eyes of Darkness" Tour)

Food Family Fun & Kid Activities

Happy Anniversary, Spearfish! BAKERY & WINE BAR

Since 1946

We’re so glad to be part of such a great community!

Friday Tapas • Chubby Chipmunk Truffles Great Lunches Everyday!

3135 E. Colorado Blvd., Spearfish Across the interstate from WalMart


With Live Music By

Codee Lee Emily Palmer The Mike Reardon Band Black Hills Drum Connection

"Eyes of Darkness" Tour

Win a Remington 700 Rifle made by Dakota Custom Rifles $20 Raffle Tickets

We are proud to have been a part of the Spearfish Community since moving here and starting our business 18 years ago in 1995. Thank you to this great community for helping us raise four great kids and build a reputable business. Lloyd and Sue Weaver L&S Restoration

Codee Lee All the way from Australia

• Fire, Smoke & Water Damage Cleanup • Mold Inspection & Removal • Air Duct/Dryer Vent Cleaning • Carpet, Upholstery & Cleaning


Admission: $10

(Free with All Day Wristband) Bring your flashlight for a sundown tour of the sanctuary!

24-Hour Emergency Service

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September 2013

Providing the groundwork for a flourishing library Grace Balloch donates collection to city to encourage literacy Grace (Herr Frantz) Balloch was born in Waynesboro, Pa., in 1878 and graduated from Millersville State Normal School in Millersville, Pa. After graduating, Balloch operated her own private school near Washington, D.C., in Montgomery County, Md. She married Archibald Balloch, a geologist and cattle buyer, in 1902. Soon after, the couple decided to go west to St. Louis, Mo., and later, Chicago, Ill. Balloch worked as a librarian at the University of Chicago and taught at Bloom Township High School in Chicago Heights. Balloch later sailed to

France to provide aid to the soldiers fighting in the trenches during World War I. When Balloch returned to America, she and her husband moved to the Black Hills near Custer to raise horses. In 1923, the couple moved to Spearfish where Balloch taught summer English courses at Spearfish Normal School. Balloch’s husband died in 1934, and five years later, World War II broke out. Balloch learned she was terminally ill at the age of 63 and wouldn’t be able to assist in the war effort. Instead, she focused on developing a public

library in Spearfish. Before Balloch died in 1944, she wrote in her will: “To the City of Spearfish, to be used as a nucleus for a city library, I give and bequeath all my books, and I request that a committee be appointed by the Mayor of the City of Spearfish to take charge of this bequest.” Balloch donated more than 1,000 books to the city, which were stored at Spearfish Normal School until a facility could be built to house them. Several community members campaigned to organize and catalogue the books, and a 10-foot by 30-foot room in the Spearfish Hotel served as the first public library in Spearfish. The collection was housed in several buildings, including a library constructed

in 1969 on the site of the Ballochs’ former home, which served the community for nearly 25 years. In 1994, a new library was constructed at 625 North Fifth St. Grace Balloch that housed more than 33,000 books, periodicals, children’s books and activities, computers, rooms for meetings, and more. The Grace Balloch Memorial Library was dedicated on Nov. 19, 1995, an event attended by Balloch’s foster son’s son, Walter Hoeppner, Jr., and his wife, Vivian. Now more than 60 years old, the Grace Balloch Memorial Library offers more than 71,000 books, DVDs, audiobooks, e-books, and more. The library was re-carpeted in 2011, and displays several works of art, historical items relating to Spearfish, a mounted mountain lion, and of course, Balloch’s original books.

Pioneer photo by Heather Murschel

September 2013

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Hydro electricity still powering the Northern Hills By Mark Watson Black Hills Pioneer

It was Christmas Eve, 1888 when the switch to power the new electric lighting system in Lead was flipped on. It marked the first generation of electric power in the city by means of a direct current Edison bi-polar dynamo. Fast forward 20 years and the Homestake Mining Company and its sawmill in Spearfish needed more power to conduct its operations. Thus the Hydro No. 1 plant was planned on the outskirts of Spearfish near the mouth of Spearfish Canyon. In 1908 construction began on the building, nearly five miles of concrete-lined tunnel and a diversion dam in Spearfish Canyon. Crews tunneled into the limestone at seven different points between a spot in the Canyon called Maurice and the plant site. From there they drilled and blasted their way to a connection of the tunnels by way of 14 working ends. At about five feet high and wide, the tunnels had concrete floors and sides and sometimes arches to support the roof. The tunnel ends near the stand pipes in the Mountain Plains subdivision. “The reason they put the plant here is because there is 600 feet in elevation (from the stand pipes to the plant),” said Gary Lillehaug, superintendent of the hydro-electric power plant. “The power comes from pressure.” Meanwhile, crews at Maurice were busy building a dam to hold back Spearfish Creek, creating a pool of water large enough to support the plant. “You look at the dam and you think it is 4 or 5 feet high. Actually it is 25 feet high and 20 feet wide at the base,” Lillehaug said. The dam was over-engineered to ensure the heavy spring rains would not wash away the dam as had been

the case several times with the railroad that ran through the Canyon. Rock was blasted from the dam site and sent by train down stream where it was crushed, then it was shipped back up to the dam to be mixed with concrete for the dam structure. At the hydro-electric plant in Spearfish, three generators were installed, but plant officials soon discovered there was not enough water pressure to support the three generators; one was moved to a new plant which opened in 1917. Water takes about three hours to travel through the tunnel from the Maurice Intake to the hydro plant. The city of Spearfish purchased the system in 2004 from the Homestake Mining Company to maintain water flow through Spearfish Creek in the city and to downstream users. Today, 102 years after it opened, the plant is still operating and generating clean power. The generators that were first installed are still in operation, churning out up to 2 kilowatts of power each. Little has changed inside the plant since it first opened. However, new technology was installed that automated the plant. Power generated today no longer supports mining operations, rather, the city sells it to Black Hills Power. Lillehaug, who’s father worked at the plant starting in 1954, is now in charge of its operations. He remembers visiting his dad in the plant when he was a child. “The plant was fascinating to me. It was clean,” Lillehaug said. “The operators really kept things up. That was my goal when I came here. To get it back up to what it was.” A recent inspection determined that the pipes were still in excellent condition and will allow the hydro-electric plant to supply power for years to come. “It all just depends on the water,” he said.

Congratulations spearfish!

Top - photo courtesy of city of Spearfish. Bottom - Pioneer photo by Mark Watson

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Congratulations on 125 years, Spearfish! Sunflower Cottage Opening 9:30 am • Monday - Saturday 640 N. 7th Street (next to Lueders) • 559-2525

Spearfish Quasquicentennial Edition Produced by the Black Hills Pioneer 315 Seaton Circle, Spearfish, SD, 57783, (605) 642-2761, (800) 676-2761

Letitia Lister, publisher Mark Watson, managing editor Dru Thomas, advertising manager Leah Shockey, layout editor

Contributing reporters include: Kaylee Tschetter Heather Murschel Adam Hurlburt Josh Larson

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Special thanks goes to Spearfish Historical Society, Spearfish Historic Preservation Commission, Paul Higbee and Kathleen Aney authors of “Spearfish A History,” Roberta “Bobbi” Sago of Leland D. Case Library. The publisher will not be responsible or liable for misprints, misinformation or typographic errors herein contained. The publisher also reserves the right to refuse any advertising deemed not to be in the best interest of the publication. © 2013 BLACK HILLS PIONEER, all rights reserved.

10619 Roughlock Falls Rd., Lead, SD • • 605.584.3435


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September 2013

September 2013


Rose Hill Cemetery

Spearfish Normal School once home to KKK fraternity

By Adam Hurlburt Black Hills Pioneer

The KKK marches on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. in 1926. Courtesy photo

Historian Charles Rambow poses with Lead’s 20s-era KKK charter and a vintage KKK robe and head found in a Rapid City attic. Pioneer photo by Adam Hurlburt

The Ku Klux Klan exploded in America in the 1920s after the release of the film “Birth of a Nation,” which portrayed the hate group as heroes. While the Klan of the 1800s focused its hatred on blacks, the Klan of the 20s expanded its hate to nearly all foreigners as well as Jews and Catholics. By the middle of the 1920s national KKK membership estimates ranged from three to eight million Klansmen. With estimates that high it should be no surprise that the KKK were not only active in South Dakota, but active in the Black Hills. Rapid City-based historian Charles Rambow began researching the Ku Klux Klan in the Black Hills in 1971 when he discovered that his grandparents had been members of the Sturgis Klan. This came as a disturbing surprise to Rambow, who went on to teach history at Sturgis High School for 34 years. He knew his grandfather as a “quite respectable” county judge, but he also knew he was vehemently anti catholic, which made him a perfect candidate for the Klan, whose recruitment campaigns were particularly effective in rural areas, where fear of urbanization, industrialization and the unknown were easily capitalized upon. “They would arrive in the community and suggest that if you had any ills, any problems in the community, the Klan would solve any problem that you might have,” Rambow said. While Rambow’s research shows the largest and most active Klan in the Northern Hills was in the Lead-Deadwood community, there was an active Klan in Spearfish in the 1920s. Rambow said as far as he knows the Spearfish Klan was “not particularly vi-

olent.” Black Hills State University, then known as the Spearfish Normal School, however, was home to an active Ku Klux Klan fraternity. That fraternity held two large, public cross burning ceremonies on a pine-covered hill just south of the school in 1925 and 1926. Rambow said the president of Spearfish Normal at the time, E.C. Woodburn, was not too keen on the KKK and spoke out publically against the group. This put him in a dangerous situation. One afternoon in 1925 the KKK attempted to retaliate while Woodburn was away at a meeting. Several Klansmen from the Spearfish Normal Klan fraternity drove up to Woodburn’s house, poured gasoline on his garage, and made the sign of the cross in gasoline on his yard, connecting it to his garage. The Klansmen threw a torch on the cross, but Woodburn’s neighbors, who’d been startled by the commotion next door, were able to put out the fire before it reached the structure. Woodburn didn’t stop speaking out against the Klan, Rambow said, but the Klan didn’t pester him any further. Rambow said the last cross burning he knows of in Spearfish occurred in 1927 near the present day location of the Spearfish Holiday Inn — two black families called this area home, at the time. Rambow isn’t certain whether this cross burning was to intimidate these black families or simply to carry out the Klan’s agenda. Regardless, the Klan was losing its grip on rural America by this time, hemorrhaging membership and moving underground. “When publicity was out there about the violence, threats and intimidation by the Klan then people began taking a second look at it and wondering, ‘do we really want this in our community,’” Rambow said. “And with that people began to drop out of the Klan.”

Thoen Stone

Cashner traveled East looking to authenticate the Thoen Stone by verifying the existence and story of R. Kent, who supposedly was a member of the party mentioned in the stone’s inscription. Cashner was able to locate a letter from Kent to his family in which he’d said he “found all the gold he wanted” and would be headed home soon. An article was soon published in the Detroit Free Press. Soon after the article was written Cashner received a message from Harvey Brown Jr., of Michigan, who thought one of the men in the party was his half uncle, Thompson Brown, who’d headed west in 1832 with another man and hadn’t been heard from since. Frank Thomson’s 1996 book “The Thoen Stone” contained several interviews with miners from the Black Hills gold rush in which they claimed they were shocked to discover what appeared to be the remains of a long abandoned mining camp near the place the Thoen Stone was discovered. The book also contains interviews with Native Americans, who confirmed that several

groups of miners were killed in the early 1800s to keep “the white man from learning of the rich gold deposits” in the Black Hills. The authenticity of the Thoen Stone is still dabated to this day. The Thoen stone reads: “Came to these hills in 1833. Seven of us Delacompt, Ezra Kind, G.W. Wood, T. Brown, R. Kent, Wm King, Indian Crow. All de[a]d but me Ezra Kind Killed by ind[ians] beyond the high hill. Got our gold June 1934. Got all the gold we could carry our ponies all got by Indians I have lost my gun and nothing to eat and Indians hunting me.” Today, the original Thoen Stone is on

Pioneer photo by Heather Murschel

Spearfish Valley

Fertile soil sows seeds of rich history Since the township was first settled in 1876, the fertile soils of Spearfish Valley have afforded fresh produce to provide a necessary food supply in the Northern Hills. Today, during the summer months, Evans Lane is still flourishing as truck farmers work the fields and sell the fruits of their labor at farmers’ markets and stands that line the highway. That area, historians say, was the first area of town settled and is the reason Spearfish exists. This is because, as Spearfish was experiencing an influx of visitors, thousands of people were traveling to Deadwood after word spread that gold had been discovered. With so many people setting up camps and staking ranch claims, Spearfish Valley was essentially the bread bowl for the mine

because it provided nourishment to this new, developing area of the Black Hills. Historical records state the first settling of Spearfish Valley occurred on May 20, 1876 when a group of Montana residents made the expedition to the Black Hills. Robert H. Evans, a self-taught hydrologist, realized that if he created a series of ditches, Spearfish Creek could provide irrigation to the farms. According to documentation, M.G. Tonn, who owned a ranch in that area, was also involved in creating the tributaries. Longtime Spearfish Valley residents can often be heard sharing memories of the groves of apple trees, fields of wheat and fruit crops that filled the area, busy with farmers, ranchers and prospective shop-

History of infamous message remains mystery to some The story of the Thoen Stone has been one of the longest debated historical items in the history of Spearfish. The Thoen Stone tells the story of seven men traveling through the area in the 1830s that were never seen nor heard from again. More than 50 years later, Louis Thoen and his brother found a sandstone slab covered in mysterious etchings on Lookout Mountain. The etchings are popularly thought to be a troubling message from a traveler from that party in the 1830s, one Ezra Kind, who said his party was murdered by Native Americans. The stone ominously read that Kind was being hunted as he scrawled these desperate inscriptions. Many people believed the stone was a hoax planted by someone hungry for attention. They believed that no one being actively hunted by Native Americans would take the time to carve a message into solid rock, especially when there was a good chance it would never be seen. A Spearfish businessman named John

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pers looking for the fruits of their labor. But, everyone knew the most important aspect of the valley’s success came down to water. The 1930s were dry, and without the water the farming would have ceased completely. Thankfully the Evans-Tonn ditch still provides the water essential to irrigate the few farms that are left. As generations grew up and moved away from home, valley residents began to see those homesteads turn into housing developments, and it all just seemed to gradually change over time. Those few farmers left, many say, are much appreciated by locals as they will be carrying on the historic tradition of Spearfish Valley as it sows through the future, creating yet another chapter in history.

Nestled on a serene hilltop overlooking the mouth of Spearfish Canyon is the final resting place of many Queen City residents. The 30-acre lot, once called Spearfish Cemetery, was renamed Rose Hill Cemetery to honor the woman who worked so hard to preserve the cemetery’s beauty, and to ensure it remained a memorial to lost loved ones. Rosa Driskill, the “Original Rose” of the cemetery, as she is sometimes revered, was born Rosa Lee Davis on Sept. 15, 1866 in Montgomery County, Mo. She later married Jesse Lincoln Driskill, also of Missouri, and the couple traveled west in search of a new life together. Driskill’s husband became a pioneer cattleman in northeastern Wyoming and founded the T+T Ranch on Beaver Creek in 1882, near the Belle Fourche River. He was also a member of Captain Seth Bullock’s Cowboy Brigade and traveled with the group to Washington, D.C. to ride in Teddy Roosevelt’s inaugural parade in March of 1905. The Spearfish Cemetery opened in the late 1800s. Although the couple had seven children, Driskill still dedicated much of her time to push the care of the cemetery, leading to efforts to improve and maintain the grounds. Driskill and a group of local women cleaned up the cemetery and kept the rose-adorned lot lovely. When Driskill died of blood poisoning on Oct. 10, 1907 at age 41, her burial location was not a question. She was buried in the cemetery at plot B-8-8-1, laying to rest the “Original Rose” of Rose Hill. Today, more than 5,000 people are interred at the cityowned Rose Hill Cemetery.

Pioneer photo by Heather Murschel

Pioneer photo by Heather Murschel display at the Adams House and Museum in Deadwood while a replica sits on a hill on the north edge of Spearfish, in the figurative shadow of Lookout Mountain. Lore lives on as many assume the “high hill” that those interviewed had referred to was in fact Crow Peak.

Then & Now

Pioneer photo by Josh Larson As part of the 125th Anniversary, the Leland D. Case Library provided historic photos of Spearfish in order to showcase the changes to many historic sites over the years. Pictured at left is a tornado that came through Spearfish in 1954, and at right is a photo of Lookout Mountain today.

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September 2013

September 2013


Clyde Ice:

Josef Fassbender early Spearfish photographer

Honoring the legacy of the man in the sky By Josh Larson Black Hills Pioneer

Many children have stared into the sky and wished to fly, but not many have pursued this dream with as much dedication as Clyde W. Ice. Born in May of 1889 in Hand County, Dakota Territory, Ice, who was also known as “the Ice Man,” would grow up to be an Airline pilot, flight instructor, aerial acrobat, wing walker, bush pilot, crop duster and mail pilot, just to name a few of his numerous accomplishments. It was sometime after World War II, when Ice was in his late 20s, that he made his first big step towards what would be a life long passion when he traded two automobiles, worth about $400 each, for his first plane. Ice’s first solo flight came with no aviation training. “I was always kind of mechanically inclined,” he said. “I had sat in the plane and wiggled the stick around and watched what it did, so I had it pretty much figured out.” His second flight was with a passenger. “After that I hauled kids for free for two days so I could learn to fly.” All of these flights landed safely despite Ice’s lack of training. As his career progressed Ice was soon known for his mercy flights. Rhonda Sedgwick, au-

Snappers Club – A gathering place for all The Snappers Club was originally used as a meeting place for the local rifle club. The building was built by the U.S Bureau of Fisheries and the Works Progress Administration in 1936 for the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery. Today, the building serves as a venue commonly used for gatherings, wedding receptions and community events. The Snappers Club also is a historical focal point of the Spearfish City campground. Pioneer photo by Heather Murschel

thor of “Sky Trails: the life of Clyde W. Ice” wrote of these flights, “His willingness to gamble everything, even his own life on (his knowledge and skill), has saved the lives of many.” A 1947 blizzard provided Ice with one of his most memorable flights. He and his family were living upstairs in one of the buildings at the Spearfish airport. At 3 a.m. Ice received a call from Dr. Gordon Betz, who was desperate to get to Camp Crook, where a young pregnant woman had fallen off a horse. With more than three feet of snow on the ground and whiteout conditions on the air, visibility was so poor that Ice had to follow the landmarks of Spearfish Creek, the Redwater River, the Belle Fourche River and a series of power lines. Both the woman and her newborn daughter survived. During his life Ice received numerous awards, was made an honorary member of the Black Foot tribe, was entered into the OX5 Aviation Pioneers Hall of Fame, and saw The Clyde Ice Airfield in Spearfish named after him. Out of all of this, though, Ice said his greatest achievement was that a drop of blood never spilled in the 65 years and more than 43,000 hours he flew. Clyde Ice’s legacy spans more than four generations. He was known for his kindness, generosity, and unwavering passion in the field of aviation. Ice died in 1992, he lived to see his 103rd birthday. Clyde Ice was a daring pilot, a kind and generous person, and will go down in history as one of the most prominent figures in Spearfish history. Pictured at right, is Ice posing for a photo beside his plane. Photo courtesy of the Black Hills Airport Collection

By Jaci Conrad Pearson Black Hills Pioneer

Pictured is one of several photos derived from the Fassbender Collection. It shows a scene on Main Street around 1928. The Fassbender Studio can be seen on the corner of Illinois and Main streets, as well as the American National Bank building in the distant corner. Photo courtesy of the Fassbender Collection


Continued from Page 8

Task Force at the time and Deadwood Historic Preservation Officer. “I identified it early on as a secure, climate controlled environment area in the Northern Hills with the space available to house the collection,” Kuchenbecker said. “It’s a wonderful space to move the collection to. Held upstairs in the photographic vault, it is the only collection in the room until it’s processed.” A veteran photojournalist who spent 20 years in the newspaper field, Carlson worked to establish a formalized system to process the collection that is similar to one he developed for negatives at a former newspaper he worked at. “We’ve digitized more than 1200 images--and many of those images need more thorough iden-

tification and information.” Carlson said. As part of that process, volunteers work to repackage the photographic items for storage, in some cases scanning and digitizing and in every instance, creating a record in a database that will eventually number close to one million records. Carlson’s main goal? “I want to come at this from two directions,” Carlson said. “I want to continue to process the collection and get it in a database as efficiently as we can, while at the same time getting at those images that are most interesting to the general public. For example, I want to start getting pictures of presidential visits, events and landscapes cataloged, digitized and available to the public as soon as we can.”

Pioneer photo by Josh Larson

Then & Now

As part of the 125th Anniversary, the Leland D. Case Library provided historic photos of Spearfish in order to showcase the changes to many historic sites over the years. Pictured at left is the Passion Play ampitheater in April 1939, and at right is the former ampitheater, which has been renamed Lookout Ampitheater.

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For many locals, much of the 20th century or the better part of six decades, the name Fassbender said “photography,” not only in Spearfish, but throughout the Black Hills and much of the surrounding region. Fassbender was born in Lobberich, Germany in July, 1892. Prior to the onset of World War I, Fassbender left Germany and came to the United States. Fassbender arrived in the states in 1914 with a man named Father Golden, who was headed to an Indian reservation in South Dakota to do missionary work. He ended up working a couple of years as a cowboy near Lovell, and then as a clerk in the drugstore at Faith before he established Josef’s Studio in Faith in 1917. The following year, he married Magdalena Mengenhauser, and they began their family of three boys and two girls. Fassbender arrived in Spearfish around 1924, he went to work for the O. A. Vik Studio, located on the corner of Main and Illinois, where “Horses to Harleys” is now located. By 1928, he had established his own “Black Hills Studio,” which he and his family would continue to operate well into the 1980s. Fassbender’s “Black Hills Studio” was located at 621 North Main St., where the High Plains Gallery is now located. For a time, the family business enterprises included the Mobil filling station, which pre-dated the Coffee Corner and RMS bicycle shop now located on south Main and Grant Streets. Fassbender died in 1958. While his oldest son, Henry, had gone on to a career with the Eastman Kodak Company, another son, George, took over operation of Black Hills Studio at just 25 years of age. George continued the family business for several more decades, but passed away in 1998. George Fassbender cared deeply about what would happen to he and his father’s photographs and before he died made arrangements for two good friends – both with deep roots in the region – to take custody of them. Johnny Sumners and Ed Furois did just that and preserved the collection for several years. While the vast majority of the estimated 800,000 images are portraits, mostly school pictures, the balance of them include a treasure trove that captures a wide diversity of life in the Black Hills and surrounding region. These photographs, negatives, slides, and film footage provide a glimpse of activities ranging from rodeos and sporting activities to the carving of Mount Rushmore and almost all significant activities that took place at Black Hills State University for several decades.

Pioneer photo by Josh Larson

Then & Now

As part of the 125th Anniversary, the Leland D. Case Library provided historic photos of Spearfish in order to showcase the changes to many historic sites over the years. Pictured at left is the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery in 1942 after a May snowstorm, and at right is the hatchery today.

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September 2013

130 years and counting … BHSU history preserves past to carry into future Black Hills State University, originally known as the Dakota Territorial Normal School at Spearfish, was established in 1883 as an institution specializing in the training of teachers. The first building on the grounds was built in 1884. One year later in August of 1885, Fayette Cook, the former superintendent of schools in Rochester, Minn., arrived in Spearfish to take the position of principal of what was then known as Spearfish Normal School. Cook is remembered for numerous impromptu positions he headed, including his role as the sole teacher, the janitor, principal, and later, president of the school. Cook retired after 34 years of service, establishing a successful institution for training South Dakota teachers. After Cook’s retirement, E.C. Woodburn assumed the position of president of the State Normal school, promoting numerous changes at the college. By 1922, State Normal started offering four-year degrees and less than 20 years later, the institution was renamed Black Hills Teachers College. When Woodburn finished his term, Dr. Russell E. Jonas became president of Black Hills Teachers College. Enrollment grew considerably following World War II. Jonas retired in 1967, passing the torch onto President M.N. Freeman, and enrollment grew to nearly 2,000 students at that time. Additionally, the university started offering graduate courses in education, and in a joint project with the United States Air Force, began offering classes at Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City. The institution was officially named Black Hills

State College in 1964. Maurice Fitzgerald served a one-year term as president beginning in 1976. Then, in 1977, Dr. J. Gilbert Hause became the new president of the college. He retired eight years later in 1985. Dr. Clifford Trump became president and facilitated the building of the Donald E. Young Sports and Fitness Center to promote recreation and healthy lifestyles. The Donald E. Young Center remains on campus today, serving as a facility that hosts community events and provides recreational opportunities for Black Hills State University students and residents alike. In the late 1980s, Black Hills State College was officially renamed Black Hills State University (BHSU). Still specializing in the education of new teachers, the university also began offering majors in Business and Technology and Arts and Sciences. The university president at this time was Dr. Thomas Flickema, who served BHSU for 12 years. Today, Black Hills State University’s campus sprawls 123 acres with 21 buildings and more than 100 full-time faculty members, and 72 degree programs under the leadership of President Dr. Kay Schallenkamp. Black Hills State University offers undergraduate programs in the arts, humanities, education, behavioral sciences, mathematics, social sciences, natural sciences, business and technology and selected disciplines of strength at the graduate level. The campus is also a venue for many extracurricular activities, including a disc golf course, musical programs and numerous college-level “Yellow Jackets” sports teams for students. Black Hills State University remains the only comprehensive university in western South Dakota and the third largest in the state.

Pioneer illustration by Heather Murschel

Case Library preserves private collection at BHSU Leland D. Case, a historian, journalist, Black Hills resident and co-founder of Westerners International, donated his private collection of approximately 5,000 western history volumes to Black Hills State University in 1974. Located on the second floor of the E.Y. Berry Library at Black Hills State University, the Case Library now contains more than 15,000 books, photographs, and

manuscripts relating to the west, emphasizing South Dakota, the Black Hills, and American Indian history. Today, the Leland D. Case Library for Western Historical Studies continues to be a primary source for students and community members, providing books, manuscripts, photographs, and other materials that relate to the history of western South Dakota and the United States.

Spearfish 125th Anniversary  

Happy 125th Spearfish!

Spearfish 125th Anniversary  

Happy 125th Spearfish!