Monday, October 13, 2008

Glints of Galena

Silver was the stuff of fortunes – and it lured many a miner to the hills and valleys south of Deadwood late in the 19th century. Dozens of silver mines and claims dotted the area around Galena, one of many small communities that thrived and then died.

But Galena has never really allowed last rites to be given, and the community has taken pride in its historic past and its wilderness beauty.

Jeri Fahrni and Marilyn Schwaner are among Galena locals who are members of the Galena Historical Society. They shared dozens of pictures and intriguing stories about Galena during “Glints of Galena,” the October program of the Spearfish Area Historical Society. The society gathers monthly at the Spearfish Senior Citizens Center.

Marilyn and Jeri were kind enough to allow us to display several of the photographs in our History Gallery.

Three miners, Frank Cochrane, William Stillwell and Pat Donegan are cited as starting the Sitting Bull Mine a ways down stream from what is now Galena. The community virtually exploded with prospectors; mills and smelters popped up around the area, which still contains remnants of structures and artifacts from the boom era.

Galena once sported two churches, several saloons, a mercantile, restaurants, boarding houses, a newspaper, and a drugstore. Of course, the local school – built in 1882 – was the center of the community for many years, and the structure still stands.

The Galena Historical Society sponsors an annual walk through the historic village. The next one is slated for June 2009.

The next SAHS program will be Ghosts of Rose Hill Cemetery with Linfred Schuttler on November 11th.