Monday, April 7, 2014

Quarnberg & Wendelken Families in Dakota Territory

Riverside Mill, Dakota Territory 1880 (hand-painted photograph)
The April 1, 2014 program of the Spearfish Area Historical Society featured the stories of the Hans & Minnie Quarnberg family as they crisscrossed Dakota Territory from 1869 to 1913 to settle in Belle Fourche and the Ralph & Anne Wendelken family, who set up farming in Spearfish Valley Redwater Hill in 1922.    Approximately 72 people attended the program led by the Jack Wells family (Jack, MaryAnn, Richard, Linda, and Allen).   MaryAnn is the granddaughter of Hans Quarnberg and daughter of Ralph and Anne Wendelken.
From friendly Indians buying flour from the mill, to watching an ice flow taking down the railroad drawbridge in Chamberlain, to a motorcycle falling backwards down a hill in the Badlands, the stories were plentiful.
Hans Quarnberg
Tri-State Mill, Belle Fourche 1929
Hans Quarnberg was an innovator and entrepreneur, building two water-powered flour mills near Vermillion and one in Cascade Springs before he was 35.   He managed a mill in Chamberlain and then bought the mill in Belle Fourche at age 58, incorporating as Tri-State Mill.  

With two of his sons, Tri-State greatly expanded throughout the northern hills and Rapid City areas.   

Hans kept innovating and, at age 67, located a new water source for Belle Fourche and built a canal and hyrdro-electric plant for the mill.    At age 72, he opened a clay pit and started up a brick factory Black Hills Clay Products Company in Belle Fourche.
Wendelken Dairy of 40 Guernseys on Redspear Farm
Ralph and Anne Wendelken farmed at the northern end of Spearfish Valley (Redspear Farm).  

The Wendelken Dairy provided milk to much of the area from 1923 to 1940's.  

An eight minute original film from 1937 of life on the Wendelken farm concluded the program.