Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Sept 10, 2017 Photos from Ranch A, WY Open House

Spearfish Area Historical Society Tours Ranch A Sept 10, 2017

Ranch A Lodge Main Room

 The Spearfish Area Historical Society kicked off the 2017-18 season pm Sept 10, 2107 with an open house at Ranch A, Sand Creek, WY with over 80 people taking the tours.

  Nels Smith and Leo Orme each shared stories of the history of Ranch A.

Light inside Ranch A Lodge
Ranch A Lodge interior
Ranch A Log Columns cut

Saw used to cut each log column

Ranch A Barn Sept 10, 2017

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

"Women of the American West" by Kristi Thielen

Kristi Thielen and members of the Spearfish Area Historical Society

Kristi Thielen presented "Women of the American West" on April 4, 2017 to an appreciative audience of the Spearfish Area Historical Society at the Spearfish Senior Citizens Center.

Kristi Thielen, currator of the Tri-State Museum in Belle Fourche, SD, wrote the program using diary entries from women who helped settle the West.  Kristi also led the presntion which included portions that were in reader's Theatre format with Charlotte Fladmoe and Laurie Williams-Hayes, in costume, reading several of the diary entries that women wrote.


Charlotte Fladmoe and Laurie Williams-Hayes (left to right)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

"Black Hills Forestry History" by Bill Coburn

Bill Coburn presenting "Black Hills Forestery History" on May 2, 2017
Bill Coburn
Bill Coburn, forestry specialist, presented "Black Hills Forestry History" to the Spearfish Area Historical Society on May 2, 2017 to an audience of over 80 people at the Spearfish Senior Citizen Center.

     From the Custer Expedition to current events, the Black Hills has enticed folks interested in forestry.  Documentation from the Custer Expedition in 1874 noted the young forest of pines and also the forest fires.  In 1875, the Jenney Expedition with geologist Walter Jenney also made comments on the pine forest.  (Note that Calamity Jane was a stowaway on this expedition and that is how she came to Deadwood).  By 1876, portable sawmills were set up in Custer by Murphy Sawmill.   In 1880, John Durst and Sons started up the first portable sawmill in Hill City.  Seventeen years later there were 42 portable sawmills in the Black Hills producing 1.5 billion board feet, with 1/3 waste.

     Key historical events included:
·         1891 - Forest Reserve Act was passed with the goal of creating forest reserves and national parks. 
·         1897 - H. Graves Report included comment of the dense second growth of pine in the Black Hills. 
·         1897 - The federal government Organic Act established forest reserves available to the public and regulated those reserves. 
·         1898 - The first timber sale by the federal government was near Nemo and was sold to the Homestake Mine.  The same year, a mountain pine beetle infestation was noted.
·         1901 - Seth Bullock became the second forest supervisor of the Black Hills Forest Reserve.
·         1880's to 1890s - Forestry loss due to fires from lightning, trains, and slash burning. 
·         1896 to 1901 - The infestation of mountain pine beetle destroyed 3,000 acres of forest and grew to 116,000 acres
·         1908 - The Black Hills Reserve became the Black Hills National Forest (included the Bear Lodge Mountains)

     Today, the Black Hills National Forest sells more timber at 9-11 billion board feet per year than any other national forest in the USA.

     A few facts about Mountain Pine Beetle -- 500 to 3,000 beetles will fly to a tree within 2-3 days when they give off a gathering scent.  When the tree is full, the beetles give off an anti-gathering scent and the beetles go elsewhere.  When trees are thinned, the beetles cannot find their way to the next large tree and they get lost.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Photo of antique Broom Holder from A. Furois general store in St Onge

Broom Holder from the Adolphe Furois hardward store in St Onge, SD.  Mfg in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo courtesy of Craig Williams.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Ranch A and Sand Creek Histories by Nels Smith

Leo Orme (right) introduces Nels Smith (left) on Mar 7, 2017
Nels Smith shared the "History of Ranch A and Sand Creek" at the March 7 Spearfish Area Historical Society at 7:30pm at the Spearfish Senior Center with approximately 130 people attending.  

Nels organized his review of Snad Creek properties by going down Sandcreek, starting with the head of Sandcreek ath Tinton mines

1) Tinton Mines, tin mining into the 30's
2) Harvey Talley Ranch with landmarks Red Canyon and Grand Canyon
3) Sandcreek and Ranch A
    Started as a fish Hatchery by George LaPlante.  Moses (Mo) Annenberg, newspaper publisher, was on this way to Yellowstone with his son, Walter, and stopped to eat at Buelah, WY. Mo thought that the trout he was served was excellent, so he asked where it came from.  Then answer came back "Sandcreek".  Mo investigated further and bought the 650 acre Ranch A on the spot for $27,000.   Mo and Walter were the chief users of the ranch and their guests would arrive by rail to Aladdin, WY.  Walter later became US Ambassador to Great Britain.  Ranch A was filled out with Thomas Molesworth furniture.  Molesworth later became known as the pioneer of Western Design. 
Ranch A lodge designed by architect Ray Ewing

Shortly after Mo died in 1942, Nels Smith (speaker Nels Smith's father) bought the ranch with two other partners.  Ranch A was used  as a dude ranch for 20 years.  It was featured in the Oct 1956 National Geogrphic in an article titled "Back to the Historic Black Hills".  It was sold to Ford Motor Co. from Mitchell for awhile.  Then, in 1963 the Fish and Wildlife Service bought the ranch and used it as a genetics lab for research on salmon ids, fish diet & growth rates, and pesticide resistance. In 1996 the property was deeded to the state of WY for educational purposes.

Back to Sandcreek going downstream:
4) Sandcreek Country Club
5) Reneke Ranch - 2 miles of public fishing.  Banks of creek are maintained by special grass with long roots that resist erosion.
6) Toomey Mill

Note:  some pieces of Molesworth furniture can be viewed at the High Plains Western Heritage Center in Spearfish, the Crook Co Museum in Sundance and the Cheyenne Museum.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The History of Home Economics -- Ida Marie Snorteland

A Home Economics class receiving instructions on cooking. Ottawa, Ontario, 1959.
Ida Marie Snorteland presented "The History of Home Economics" to an appreciative audience of the Spearfish Area Historical Society on Feb 7, 2017.  

The term "Home Economics" began as a government training program to improve the living conditions at home with emphasis on Science and common sense.

Home Eeconomics, now known as Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS), is the field of study that deals with the economics and management of the home and community. 

One of the first to champion the economics of running a home was Catherine Beecher, sister to Harriet Beecher Stowe. Catherine and Harriet both were leaders in mid-19th century North America in talking about domestic science. 
The Morrill Act of 1862 propelled domestic science further ahead as land grant colleges sought to educate farm wives in running their households as their husbands were being educated in agricultural methods and processes. IowaKansasNebraskaIllinoisMinnesota and Michigan were early leaders offering programs for women. There were women graduates of these institutions several years before the Lake Placid Conferences which gave birth to the home economics movement.
Ida Marie took the group through the changes in time and changes in discplines of Home Economics, including:
  1 - science, technology, economics, mathematics
  2 - child development, housing, fashion merchandising, journalism, interior design, nutrition
  3 - gardening, sewing, water sanitation
  4 - entreprenuership, wellness
1993 New Name Family Consumer Sciences
  -- energy crisis, food insecurity, food deserts (cities where nurtritional food stores are not found in poor communities), again, sustainable farm agreculture

June 1, 2 and 3 History Symposium "Forts, Wars and Treaties of the Northern Plains"

History Symposium June 1, 2, 3 in the Northern Hills
photo courtesy of Case Library

The Leland D. Case Library for Western Historical Studies in cooperation with the Old Fort Meade Cavalry Museum is pleased to sponsor “Forts, Wars and Treaties of the Northern Plains” 

check out the details at  www.bhsu.edu/AboutBHSU/Events/CaseLibrarySymposium.aspx

Saturday, December 31, 2016

"The Beginnings of Black Hills Skiing" -- Paul Higbee

Paul Higbee presented the first 2017 program for the Spearfish Area Historical Society on Jan 3 at the Spearfish Senior Center.   The topic was "The Beginnings of Black Hills Skiing".

Paul Higbee presenting "The Beginnings of Black Hills Skiing"
It all started in 1938 when the Bald Mountain Ski Club was formed by a group of interested citizens.  The cost to join was $2.50 plus $1.00 per month.   The name was selected because the group thought that Bald Mountain had the best opportunity to provide skiing.  However, that same year, Bertha Stewart (Stewart Slope) donated a plot of land, mostly-treeless, on Terry Peak.  Homestake Gold Mine donated a long fat rope and an engine.  Bud Irish, a Homestake engineer, put up the first tow and Ken Keller, Homestake Attny., defined the first legal needs for the Terry Peak slope.   1938 was the same year that the Passion Play came to Spearfish and the same year that the first motorcycle rally came to Sturgis.  In 1942, Homestake donated the Terry Peak rope and engine to the WWII efforts, and the slope was shut down during the war.
Bart Trucano's collection of photos and history

In 1952, a private corporation was allowed in to build the ski lift on Terry Peak.  The last national competition was held in 1968 in a year when there was a lack of snow in other ski states but the Black Hills had great snow.  In the late 1960's Deer Mountain skiing was opened.  By the late 60's Terry Peak was making snow; this was enhanced in 1971-72 when a well was drilled to provide the water source for the snow machines.
Today, there are over 70 runs in the Black Hills on the two mountains and Black Hills skiing is known for its beautiful location and lower crowds where there is opportunity to make many runs, up to 50, in a single day.

Bart Trucano's vintage skiis

Local Spearfish Area Histoical Society
member, Bart Trucano, brought in a collection of ski photos and history along with a pair of vintage skiis.