Rodeo ad in the Daily Republic on June 22, 1945

A June 30, 1945, article in the Daily Republic stated, “ Cowboys from five South Dakota communities and cities in Colorado will appear at the Junior Chamber of Commerce rodeo at Kernel park …a bull which appeared in the famous Madison Square Garden will also be used here. ...
Eight tough broncs all considered bad horses are being brought in the rodeo company it was added….
A parade precedes the rodeo…it will form at the ball park at noon and will travel through the business section and will return to the park.
Prizes will be given to the 10 best decorated bicycles in the parade and business men have been urged to enter floats in the parade. A feature of the parade will be covered wagons typifying travel in South Dakota 75 years ago.
Proceeds from the rodeo will be used to aid the Davison County war memorial fund, the Junior Chamber stated.”

Published in the July 13th, 2022 Mitchell Republic

Early Settlement of Mitchell at Firesteel 1879

Mitchell had its beginnings at a little settlement called Firesteel located about 2 miles east of Mitchell near the mouth of the Firesteel creek. The settlers had hopes of the railroad making a station at Firesteel, but the railroad decided that the danger of flooding was too great at this location and moved their building site to what is now Mitchell.  Not to be deterred many of the settlers of Firesteel moved their buildings to the railroad location and established the town of Mitchell. Businesses shown in the photo include Wm Van Eps (a general store), a harness shop, a law and land office, and Valley House.  Photos of early Mitchell clearly show the Wm Van Eps store. The Carnegie Resource Center has a monograph titled Firesteel, Birthplace of Mitchell, SD written by Ethel Dowdell Abild in 1980 recounting the experiences of Mrs. Louise Greene Hammer, an early settler, up to 1944.   Louise’s adventure as a nine-year-old coming to Dakota Territory in a covered wagon in 1870 with her family tell of the everyday life of an early pioneer in Dakota Territory. Heman Greene was her father who helped survey the town of Mitchell and built the first house in Firesteel.  Ethel Dowdell Abild is a relative of Louise Greene Hammer. If you want to learn about how Mitchell and the surrounding areas became settled, come down to the Carnegie Resource Center and find yourself taken back to the pioneering days in Dakota Territory in such writings as the Ethel Dowdell Abild’s recounting of Louise Greene Hammer’s experiences and EARLY PIONEERING IN DAVISON COUNTY by Nellie M. Lindsey as well as many other documents.

Published in the March 26th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

“In a July 4, 1861 speech, Lincoln told the nation the purpose of America’s government was "to elevate the condition of men, to lift artificial burdens from all shoulders and to give everyone an unfettered start and a fair chance in the race of life." He followed through with the passage of the Homestead Act, which remained active for 124 years until it was repealed in 1976, and resulted in 10 percent of U.S. land—or 270 million acres—to be claimed and settled.” Homestead Act - Definition, Dates & Significance - HISTORY

The look of each homestead varied. They all had one thing in common – they were a dream. The reality of the dream was often a harsh and uncompromising struggle with the land and the elements. Notice that there are no trees, but the fences are made of tree branches. This homestead was fortunate to have a house made from sod and wood and shelter for animals.  Many homesteads only used sod as their building material. Even though life was hard on the homestead, many were able to fulfill the requirements and felt like they were working for themselves and making a better life. All US citizens, including women, African Americans, freed slaves, and immigrants, were eligible to apply to the federal government for a “homestead,” or 160-acre plot of land. Homesteaders “paid a filing fee of $18—$10 to make a temporary claim on the land, $2 for commission to the land agent and an additional $6 final payment to receive an official patent on the land. Land titles could also be purchased from the government for $1.25 per acre following six months of proven residency.” They had to stay on the land for five years, make improvements and work the land. The Ickes homestead (SW corner of section 27 in Stanley County, South Dakota) sat near the Bad River. They sold the land to William Young on April 24, 1926, according to Deed Record No. 141, page 485.   

Published in the July 16th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

When the founding fathers and citizens of Davison County were of the opinion that the area was permanent and stable, talk of a place to hold county business arose. Davison County was established in 1874 with different boundaries than today. Mitchell had been established as the County Seat. The money for the construction of the building was from the selling of warrants (bonds) to be no bigger that $500 with no more than 7 percent interest.  A canvas was taken with 264 for and 56 against the venture.  The contract was given to H.H. Calhoune, who was also the architect. It turned out that he was unable to finish the project and settled with the county.  The commissioners decided to take on the job of finishing the project.  Originally, the plan was to have the building completed by December 31, 1882, but it was not able to be occupied until late 1883.  The building was to cost no more than $20,000 but it went over budget. It was an elegant building in its day and served the public for 50 years until the current building was built in 1935.  Davison County had simply outgrown the capacity of the first Davison County Court House.


Published in the May 21st, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

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     Stedman’s Grocery was first located on the NW corner of Birch and South Sanborn in the mid 1940’s. The location of the former Robo Car Wash.
     Barney’s Market was not across Sanborn at that time. According to Forrest “Bing” Gaetze, his father Barney, had his store North across the RR tracks on the west side. When the Viaduct was approved for construction in the late 1940’s, Barney moved his store to the SE corner of Birch and South Sanborn.
     My Dad and Grandpa moved Stedman’s to 9th and Main in 1950. A fire in 1951 did $15,000 dollars in damage to the grocery store and the adjoining store, a radio and tv repair/sales shop, had significant damage, too. The cause was determined to be electrical.
     In 1965 The store closed due to tough competition when Sunshine built right across Main Street from us and from Randall’s. Stedman’s was considered to be a neighborhood store.
     With the closing of the grocery store my dad Leo, started the Fabric Care Center Laundromat and Dry Cleaning at the 9th and Main location which is still in business.

Photos and text courtesy of Rich Stedman.

Published in the November 26th, 2022 Mitchell Republic. 

Mitchell Marble and Granite Company
The original picture by Ole Leland was on a postcard found in his published souvenir book from 1911. 

The Mitchell Marble and Granite Company was established in 1905 and sat at 603 N Main Street (across the street from the current Corn Palace). By 1915 The Mitchell Trade Journal states, “This establishment is perhaps the largest and best known of its kind in South Dakota.” The Journal further states that, “S.W. Ballard, the owner, has grown gray in the business, having been one of the firm of Godden and Ballard who established marble works in Emmetsburg, Iowa in 1884, of which he is still part owner. He is also a member of the firm of Ballard & Son of Sioux Falls.”  The 1907-1908 City Directory also lists John H. Godden, Charles II Potts, Silas W. Smith as associated with the company. Major S.W. Smith of Mason City, Iowa, brother-in-law of Godden, buys into the company according to the Mitchell Capital newspaper of November 16, 1906, “Mr. Smith and his family moved to Mitchell, yesterday and are now occupying the residence adjoining the marble works, Mr. Potts and family having moved into the house to the north of that one.” The residence for both Ballard and Godden is listed at Emmetsburg, Iowa. In 1921 the company was purchased by Godden Monument of Emmetsburg, Iowa.Type your paragraph here.

Published in the September 3rd, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

The Widmann Hotel sat at the SE corner of Main and First Avenue in Mitchell, SD where Casey’s now sits.  Construction of the building started in 1902 and finished in October 1904. The hotel had two large boilers that furnished steam for the electric generators (capacityof 600 lights) and heat and hot water to each room in the hotel. This boiler was installed in 1914 at a cost of $616.02. In 1912 boilers in the Widmann also furnished heat for the Navin Hotel across the street to the west where the Navin Apartments are today.

Published in the April 16th, 2022 Mitchell Republic

Photo found in the Carnegie Archives of an unknown male swimmer - circa 1935
Swimming suit ad from Sears, Spring 1935 catalog
Our unknown swimmer was right in style according to the ad from a Sears catalog in 1935.  How the times have changed! The ad reads: Left, an elasticized “Speed Suit” suspended from the shoulders.  Center, trunks with a separate tuck-in shirt. Right, a “two-purpose suit” whose top attaches with a zipper.
According to  men were required to wear swimwear that covered their nipples until the mid-1930’s.  By 1934, it was more acceptable for men to swim bare-chested but not all beaches were liberal in this view. This all wool swimming attire was available for around $1.50. 
If anyone recognizes the unknown swimmer, please contact the Carnegie Resource Center at 605-996-3209 or email at  Our mailing address is 119 W 3rd Ave, Mitchell, SD  57301.

Published in the April 2nd, 2022 Mitchell Republic

With March Madness upon us, it is fun to look back at some vintage photos to remind us that this frenzy isn’t new.  Even though the current term is used for college basketball tournaments where it is a fast single-elimination, the excitement seems to carry over into all levels of competition. This 1947 Whittier grade school team look very determined and ready to win some ballgames. From left to right: Spencer Brady, Don Reynolds, Orva Sweeney, Don Giese, Andy Wiblemo.

Photo donated by Ron Ross.

Published in the March 12th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

​​​​Back in Time 2022.

Mitchell’s 100 North Main as it looked, circa 1961. 

On the left at 107 North Main was Gambles, managed by Dale Cockayne, 111 North Main was Mitchell Paint Company owned by Milton Hanson, 113 North Main was Anderst Lunch owned by Carl and Albertine Anderst.  On the right at 110 North Main is Kiner’s Café managed by Jerry Ross, 112 North Main was Bauer Clothing owned by Albert Bauer, 114 North Main was Mitchell Music managed by D. W. McDowell, 116 North Main, owned by Harry Hegge, 116 ½ was Tom’s Café owned by Thomas and Antonea Ramos, 118 North Main was Frisco Café owned by George Georgopoulos, 122 North Main was Merchandise Outlet Store owned by Toy and George Coury.

Published in the December 31st, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

Clark’s Radio and Refrigeration Service, owned by William and Gladys Clark, was located at 118 S. Main Street (now a parking lot).  A 1950 Mitchell Gazette newspaper ad, Clark advertised Sunbeam and Apex appliances; one ad was for an Apex Dish-a-Matic for $289.95.  For comparison purposes we checked one of today’s appliance ads online and found built-in dishwashers selling from $1499 to $499.  The 1948 city directory shows that the business was located at 109 S. Main Street (now a parking lot). In the early 1950’s the business moved to 402 N. Main Street and was called “Home of Crosley”, a building that is part of what is now known as Midtown Plaza.

Published in the September 24th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

Did you know that the Rink had it’s beginning in a tent? Ray Weinhart and another Avon man purchased the roller skating rink as a tent with a moveable floor. It was said that it took days to get it set up and ready for skating.  It definitely was a summer activity center in Mitchell however, it could be found inside the Hutchinson County Fairgrounds in Tripp during the winter months.  Ray and Ruth Weinhart eventually became the sole owners. In 1952 a storm shredded the tent on opening night ending the season before it hardly got started. However, out of the adversity came the Roller Drome in a permanent building on the outskirts of Mitchell.  The Roller Drome opened for skating on Saturday, January 24, 1953, located at 1410 N. Main.  As the years went by and Rock and Roll became more popular, the building was used as a dance hall along with roller skating. Many top name area bands played at the Rink, as it became known, on Saturday nights. Among those were The Chevells, the Defiants, Jay Bee and the Kats, and the Fabulous Flippers. The Roller Drome was inducted into the SD Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014 to honor it as a venue that highlighted the height of the Rock ‘n Roll era. Sadly, on Tuesday, January 29, 1985, the Rink burned.  At the time of the fire, the building was owned by Roger Sackreiter of Mitchell. 

Published in the September 10th, 2022 Mitchell, Republic.

Entertainment options in 1903 were quite different than today. These articles give just a snippet into the lives of early Mitchellites.  The A O U W is the Ancient Order of United Workmen.  It started after the Civil War and became an organization to provide social and financial support.  It was the first of the "fraternal benefit societies", organizations that would offer several types of insurance.  The A O U W Hall was located at 109 Main in 1902 and at 214 Main in 1908 according to the City Directories from those years.  The Order disestablished in 1952.
Calico is a very versatile cotton cloth that can be dyed many different colors and can have a wide variety of small patterns.

Published in the March 19th, 2022 Mitchell Republic

Webster Cook & Company (Wilton C., Wm H. Webster, and Jasper L Cook) was located at 90 S Main Street in Mitchell, SD. The 1907-1908 City Directory says they were a general hardware, sporting goods and hay tools distributor. There are three Websters(William H., Wilton C. and Leonard B.) listed in the 1902 directory as being in business as the Webster WH & Company at the same address.
The 1900 Gravity Washer in the ad was considered a real time saver and it should make wash day almost FUN! It was a wooden tub that oscillated when human power was used to move the crank on the side of the tub back and forth. The washer was considered to be easier on clothes to make them last longer; it even bragged that such delicate items as laces could be washed in the machine. Other ads say that this machine could wash a load in six minutes with little effort. To encourage sales, the washer was often offered to buyers on a trial basis for 30 days. If the buyer wanted a  wringer, they could get that for an added price. Around 1920 the electric motor was added which made it more convenient. However, leaking water and electricity was a recipe for accidents, some of them fatal. A similar washer is being advertised for $495 on ebay. Don’t think we would trade our computer-chipped washers in for this model.

Published in the January 1st, 2022 Mitchell Republic. 

From the Carnegie Archives.

This famous photograph shows United States Marines raising the U. S. flag on Iwo Jima in WWII. The caption of the photo identified the soldier on the far left as "unknown", later he was identified as Jack Thurman of Mitchell, South Dakota. When the photo was taken, Jack was standing near the flag, the regiment asked Jack to join in the picture, as he was one of them, even though he was from another regiment. Jack was wounded twice on Iwo Jima.
Reprint - first published in the November 10th, 2014, Daily Republic.
Jack Thurman will be 97 years old in September of 2022.  If you want to drop him a note, he currently resides with his daughter, Karen Thurman, P.O. Box 6131, Longmont, Colorado 80501.

Published in the May 28th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

Back row, left to right:  Beverly Pooley, Neva Vittetoe, Ruth Edwards, Shirley Lassegard and Veronica Weins. Front row:  Bertha Gehring, Marvel Husen, Evelyn Tastad, Myra Porter and Rena Lesser. Not pictured:  Helen Bates, Betty Boone, Ginger Braden, Donna Dondelinger, Betty Lyle, Donna Palmer, Ruth Smith, Loreda Kiner, Margaret Bowerman and Emma Trieber. 
     The Lady Bugs organization was active in Mitchell for about twenty years.  The Military Order of Lady Bugs was an independent organization, composed of mothers, wives, sisters and daughters of honorably discharged overseas veterans.  The objectives of this organization were many faceted. They were both fraternal and patriotic, promoted fun and harmony, preserved and strengthened loyalty among its members, supported all worthy causes for country and members, and kept alive the spirit of optimism and humor so characteristic of the Lady Bugs. The Lady Bugs devoted much of their time, efforts and financial aid to hospitalized veterans and non-veterans, bringing a smile and a word of cheer to the ill. They visited veterans in the local hospitals and also the VA Hospital in Sioux Falls, holding bingo parties and other gay festivities for the veterans.   Their bright red uniforms, lavishly decorated with bugs, were an inspiration to the groups they visited and help make a reality of their motto--"Keep Them Smiling In Beds of White."
     When searching for information about the “Lady Bugs,” a vintage 1949 cookbook was found for sale on ($9.75) that probably had been a fund raiser for the Northernite Circle Military Order of Lady Bugs in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Other finds for those interested is a ribbon and pin for $49.99 with a red lady bug on a white background and a watch fob on 

 Published in the November 19th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

Widmann Fire.

Fire destroyed the four-story Widmann Hotel and two other buildings on April 14, 1950.  The fire, believed to have originated in the Moose Club Rooms, which occupied the north-east corner of the first floor, was discovered at about 7:55 a.m., by Mrs. Robert Miller, a maid at the hotel.   An explosion about noon, believed to be ammonia in the hotel’s refrigeration plant, injured two fireman and several spectators. Most of the guests were reported to have formed a human chain by joining hands and were lead through the smoke to safety, 62 guests were evacuated from the hotel.  A total of 11 businesses were destroyed in the fire.  The blaze jumped across First Avenue, north from the Widmann and destroyed Kress Drug which also contained apartments on the second and third floor.  The drug store building also housed Waters Paint and Glass and Nobis Barber Shop was in the basement.  Pickwick Bar just south of the Widmann was also gutted.  Assisted by fireman from 24 neighboring towns, the fire department battled a hopeless fight against the blaze.

Published in the January 29th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

Photo from the Carnegie Archives.

First school built in Mitchell was known as “West Side” school, but was renamed“Whittier Elementary.” The original wooden building was built in 1880-81 in Mitchell, Dakota Territory at a cost of $7,000 on land donated by the C.M. and St. Paul Railway Co. (SD became a state in 1889.) It first sat facing west on the north end of the block; then in 1864 was moved to the southwest corner of the block to make room for Central. The new brick Whittier built in 1936 was located at the corner of West 2nd Ave. & Sanborn St. The average monthly teacher’s salary in 1886 was $27.88 for males and $24.75 for females. The population of Davison County in 1885 was 5,940. (The building on the right side of the picture is the First Methodist Church located at 421 W 4th facing north. Now a private home.)The old wooden Whittier school was moved to 209 W 2nd Ave. in193. Koch Apartment Buildings purchased the building to convert to apartments.

Published in the May 7th, 2022 Mitchell Republic. 

Published in the February 26th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

From the Carnegie Archives.

Shown is the stage setting for the Bromley Evangelistic Meetings held March 15 to April 18, 1911 at Holiness Camp (also known as Riverside Camp), drawing crowds of 400 people to the camp. The South Dakota Holiness Association was organized in 1893. The Riverside location was purchased in 1906 by the association and was 4 miles east of Mitchell. In 1908 permanent buildings were erected. The South Dakota Holiness Association Campground was sold to the Church of Christ around 1980. The tabernacle was flooded in 1998 and is now property of a private owner. During its history, Nazarenes, Wesleyans, Free Methodist, Salvation Army, Faith Home, and many other holiness churches joined together for the annual revivalist events

Published in the July 2nd, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

Elton Hill’s photo of Mitchell’s City Hall - circa 1920
The city offered the building to be used as a temporary state Capital, even though it was still under construction if Mitchell won the race for South Dakota state capital. Mitchell stated that this would save the state money until another arrangement could be made. Mitchell did not win the vote to become the South Dakota state capital.

This building sat on the northeast corner of West Second and Rowley Street. City Hall was built in 1904 by A.J. Kings who built many other buildings of the time including the Carnegie Library (now Carnegie Resource Center), Masonic Temple, Elks Lodge, Methodist and St. Joe Hospitals, Holy Family Catholic Church and Dreamland Ball Room.  This building was razed in the 1960’s because the building had become unstable due to land settling; it was built on land that at one time was a slough. A parking lot now occupies the space.

Published in the February 12th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

From the Carnegie Archives.

The Sixth Avenue Café - Circa 1950

The Sixth Avenue Café was located at 523 N. Main (the former Dairy Queen and currently Jones Supply). Owners John and Mabel Verner operated the business from 1948-1950 with a seating capacity of 190. The café offered a full menu including daily specials. For example, Under the Verners’ operation customers could buy a Choice Top Sirloin for $2.25, a Filet Mignon encased in bacon for $2.85, Grilled Pork Chops for $1.85, French fried Louisiana Jumbo Shrimp for $1.75 all of which came with salad, a vegetable, choice of potato, drink and dessert. The café was owned by L.C. Russell and Lionel “Bud” Jones after that and later was closed down in 1955 when Jones used the building for his laundry and dry cleaning business (Palace City Cleaners and Laundry). Palace Cleaners is now located at 109 W Sixth Ave in the building that is attached to the back end of the former café. In 1948 the café was known as Bernie’s Café, owned by Bernard and Clara Jones, who were parents of Lionel “Bud” Jones. 

Published in the August 6th, 2022 Mitchell Republic. 

Glenwood Springs Park/ Glenwood Park   The photographer of this gem found in the Carnegie archives is unknown.  Likely the racetrack area with spectators watching the action.
Some accounts list the location as 5 east and 2 south of Mitchell while others say 4 east and 2 south. This park was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Dare K. Johnson. In 1924 they built a pavilion on the James River where they intended to have a recreation area close to their home; they welcomed all who came to use the park.  There were no gates and many picnics happened on the property. Mrs. Johnson only asked that large groups let them know ahead of time. There were 240 acres available in the park.  Rural electricity was not available so they bought a small electric plant from a town nearby and further installed a wind charger on a hill behind their house to light the pavilion. On the south end of the property a natural amphitheater was the site of a half-mile racetrack featuring auto, horse and motorcycle races and a ball diamond. Grandstands provided onlookers a seat.  The Johnsons built chutes in the center of racetrack for occasional rodeo activities. As soon the outside activities were over, dances started in the pavilion. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson would provide the music for dancing. As time went on another open-air dance floor was constructed across the creek where 5-piece orchestras played in an orchestra stand shaped like a bell on its side.  Sometimes moonlight dances were held with all the lights turned off and children running around with sparklers or bonfire dances where the pavilion was lighted by bonfires.   Roller skating was an attraction on Sunday afternoons and evenings for the public in the pavilion with private parties on weekdays.
1926 – Large crowd work preparing Glenwood Springs for Labor Day celebration (Evening Republican 06-03-1926)
1927- 800 People attend Glenwood Park Opening (Evening Republican 05-02-1927)
1928 – Glenwood Park opened to a record crowd (Daily Republic 05-01-1928) has a park and pavilion
1929- July 4th – Crowd of 7000 persons gather to celebrate 4th of July
1930- 4th of July celebration consists of Auto races, horse, pony and mule races, two ball games, Stickney 60-piece band and two dances
1931 – Glenwood draws crowd of 3000 for 4th of July’s wild west celebration
1935 – July 17 newspaper Relief Workers entertained at Glenwood Picnic; State Rodeo at Glenwood Park – open to all riders and bulldoggers, calf riders
1937 – July 4th – motorcycle races, stunts and fancy riding1938 – Glenwood Park’s 50 acres of shade – FREE July 4th.  Ball game, Roller skating, Dance in evening.
1949 – Hot Rod Races to be held August 7    *Woonsocket Man wins “Hot Rod” race at Glenwood
1951 --  Monday July 16, 1951 – Glenwood Springs announced that new picnic tables for 400 people had been installed and roller skating, fishing and boating were available.   Accommodations at the pavilion were available for large groups, banquets, roller skating, boating, and dances on the James.  Glenwood is located 4 miles east and 2 south of Mitchell. 

Published in the August 20th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

George Georgopoulos in front of the Frisco Lunch. 

George, a young Greek immigrant, started his journey to America alone when he was around 11 years of age.  He served on a ship in the kitchen where he learned skills he would put to use later. A brief employment with the railroad and ultimately travel to find his brother in Mitchell, who was employed by the railroad, all added to the life experiences of George. After finding his brother, the brother decided to return to Greece, but George stayed and ultimately got into the restaurant business as a chef apprentice at the Frisco. He was promised that he could buy the café and did so by 1919 at the age of 16.  When visiting friends in Sioux City, he learned the art of making the hot dog (also known as Chili Dogs, Red Hots, Coney Islands, Coney Dogs) for which he became famous. His dogs had no beans in the chili and originally sold for five cents. Many in the Mitchell area remember those hot dogs!  He married Anna Gaveras in 1938 and they continued to make the Frisco a successful business and became productive members of the Mitchell community.  After 53 years of serving the area, The Frisco was sold to Goldie Cain in 1970.  The Carnegie Resource Center located at 119 West 3rd Avenue is hosting a Celebration of the Frisco Hot Dog on September 24, 2022, with Stella Georgopoulos Treiber, a daughter of George and Anna, present to socialize and remember the Frisco. They will be serving Chili Dogs and sides from noon to 2 p.m. All are invited to come and take a walk down memory lane to The Frisco.

Published in the September 17th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul train wreck in 1907 – Stair Photo
Found in the Carnegie Archives – Writing on the picture says, “James River 4 miles east of Mitchell. Water 18 feet deep. Bridge rests on old sawed off piles.  43 men was in the coach. Wrecking car derick pulled bridge down. Not one injured.”

Published in the July 23rd,2022 Mitchell Republic.


L.E. Stair captured a milestone of Mitchell development – the paving of the streets.  The date on the picture is July 1912.  Several onlookers were keeping track of the progress.

Published in the May 14th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

With the hope of spring and summer around the corner, thoughts turn to a great place to see your friends, get cooled off or enjoy an ice cream treat. This Zesto Shoppe located at 422 South Sanborn, circa early 1950’s, owned by Wilbur (Buzz) C. Oligmiller served that purpose.  The house to the right of the Zesto at 424 South Sanborn was owned at the time by Millard and Goldien Cain and was eventually removed to become a parking lot for the Zesto. The business changed hands and is owned by Roxie Ackman and Brittany Royston. Although the Zesto closes during the winter months, its opening each year is looked forward to by many patrons which is March 4th in 2022. Today’s Zesto is located at 212 W 1st Avenue in Mitchell, SD with indoor and outdoor seating featuring fast foods, ice cream and frozen yogurt.  The old location is now the Hungry Dog featuring gourmet, locally sourced hot dogs, hand crafted sandwiches and house made soups.

Published in the March 2nd, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

From the Carnegie Archives.

These men are identified as Yahne, Cooper, Martin Tischler, John Anderson and George Wallace with one man unidentified. This area was the Anderson farm that was to become Lake Mitchell.  The men cut the trees and processed the logs into lumber, clearing the land for lake to be built.  This land was sold to the City of Mitchell by Joe, Charlie and John Anderson.  The building of the lake was started in 1928 and completed in 1929. 

This photo was donated to the Mitchell Area Historical Society by Lee Anderson of Spearfish, South Dakota.

Published in the January 15th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

             Much of the enjoyment and knowledge gained by the Back in Time feature published in the Mitchell Republic is adding to the store of information to which we have access. It is great to get feedback from those who see the feature.  This Back in Time is adding to our collection. After seeing the “Shipping Corn at Letcher, SD” by Leeland Art Co., Mitchell Area Historical received a call from Carrie Reardon in Lawrence, KS relaying the fact that these kind of postcards were popular at the turn of the century and are called “Tall Tale Postcards” by collectors.  She mentioned that Cynthia Rubin and Morgan Williams published a book, Larger Than Life, with many examples from 1905-1950. The technique used was to have two photos – one close and one farther away- and then the photos were combined to make the TALL TALE! We ordered the book and will have it at the Carnegie Resource Center for those who might like to see other Tall Tales.
     The Swanson Plumbing building on the 500 block of North Main was a feature on July 25, 2022. Our information showed that, “517 and 519 N. Main was listed as Swanson Plumbing owned by Gustav Swanson. Swanson opened the business at 517 N. Main in 1919 after returning from WWI. In 1952 he tore down the two buildings and built a brick structure at that location.” A patron told us that the tall building was not torn down but moved to 600 W. 7th Avenue and with some remodeling became a family home. This home still stands and upon examination of the pictures it is apparent that they are the same building.
We would like to thank all who help us increase our knowledge of the area.

Published in the October 29th. 2022 Mitchell Republic.

Found in the archives at the Carnegie Resource Center this 1926 Stair photo shows a corn exhibit in the Corn Palace.  Likely it was one of the attractions during the Corn Palace week celebration. Many varieties of corn are identified.  This event happened in the third Corn Palace that sits on the corner of Sixth and Main built in 1921 at a cost of $200,000 with a seating capacity of  5,000.

Published in the August 13th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

An ad from the 1902 City Directory.  According to the 1902 and 1907-08 City Directories, The Mitchell Printing Company sat at 105 West 3rd Avenue. It printed two of the early newspapers, The Daily Republican and The Weekly Capital.  Eventually, the business published The Daily Republic and its address changed to 113 West 3rd Avenue.  The Carnegie Library built in 1903 was located to the west at 119 West 3rd Avenue and is now the Carnegie Resource Center.  This former location of the Mitchell Printing Company is now a parking lot for Ticked Pink.

Published in the April 9th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

This souvenir fan is on display at the Carnegie Resource Center along with signed photos of many of the past performers.  The United States was at war in 1917. Restrictions and the country’s need for farm products limited the decorating of the Corn Palace to simple touch-ups. A comparison of photos from the previous year show the 1917 Palace decorations have faded and grasses have been substituted where some corn had been the year before.
     A 50-piece band, 8 vaudeville attractions, and free street attractions daily were provided for entertainment during this six-day celebration. There were many patriotic, agricultural, educational and industrial exhibits as well.

Published in the August 27th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

Photo taken circa 1949.

Mitchell based radio station 103.5 (Pure Oldies) plays classic hits and radio ads.  They have been running an ad about the White Rose gas station on West First.  This piqued curiosity as many at the Carnegie couldn’t remember such a gas station.  The hunt was on. Searches through the files turned up little, the city directories were somewhat helpful and visiting with long-time residents came up with sparse information.  By chance, a photo was found in information about the struggle to build a viaduct over the Milwaukee train tracks that crossed Sanborn. The White Rose gas station sat at the intersection of West First and Sanborn Street on the south side of the street (323 West First Avenue-right side of the picture). White Rose was owned by Claude Miller. Facing White Rose on the north corner was a service station owned by Arnold Sievers (Phillips 66) at 322 West First Avenue on the left side of the picture.  The insert is an example of another unknown White Rose station used for comparison of building style.
     Construction in 1949 of the viaduct changed the landscape and affected the businesses in the area.  Re-bar sticking up in the forefront of the picture are locations for pylons of the overpass. If anyone has pictures of the White Rose or the Arnold Sievers (later called Arnie’s) Phillip 66 gas stations and would like to share them, we would love to add them to our archives.
     “White Rose Gasoline was a product of the National Refining Company, which was founded by J.I. Lamprecht in 1882. He ran the company until he died in 1920. Afterward, his son W.H Lamprecht took over.
     The company produced a range of products. Its brands included National, ENARCO and Royal motor oil, White Rose and Royal gasoline and motor oil, and White Rose, Royal and National light oil. In 1950, the company was acquired by Ashland Oil.” The National Refining Company (

Published in the October 8th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

L.E. Stair ad in the Crocus - November 1912

“Perfect pictures of the perfect girl,” L.E. Stair’s twist on Christmas is to have or give a gift that lets one remember “The Holiday Girl.”  He seems to have captured the idea that is prevalent in many of today’s ads such as “Give the gift that keeps on giving” and “Priceless.”  Stair was a very active photographer in the Mitchell area and recorded many happenings and buildings for which we are grateful as they give us a chance to see Mitchell and it’s citizens throughout many years.
The Crocus was the Mitchell High School paper.  We have several issues on file at the Carnegie Resource Center for anyone who would like to see the news of that day.

Published in the December 10th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

Leeland Art Studio captured the Dode Fisk Circus as it paraded up Main Street, June 22, 1909, from the Omaha Train Depot to the Driving Park (now Hitchcock Park), where they set up for their shows.  The circus consisted of 19 train cars to haul all of its equipment.  The circus was brought to town by the Elks Lodge, who were trying to raise money to help with the expense of constructing a new building.   The crowds were so poor that they did not realize any money.  The circus gloated of having a Mammoth Menagerie of Wild Animals, 8 famously funny clowns, “Ding” the largest trained elephant in the world, 5 thrilling Dare-devil Aerial Acts, Roman Ballet and 2 Big Uniformed premium Concert Bands.  The Elks also held a drawing for a cow to be given away during the circus.  The cow was won by Charles G. Woods.  Some of the local businesses seen here are: The Varsity Place at 305 N. Main, (now a vacant lot, building razed at the same time as the Champeny Building) which was a confectionary.  At 301 N. Main in the Champeny Building was the Mitchell Candy Company, (removed due to structural damages).  Across the street to the south of that was the Western Bank Building, (being renovated into apartments and new businesses).  Notice the windows on the first floor of the Western Bank Building, they are now bricked over.  Next to that was the Mitchell National Bank Building (now Tickled Pink).

Published in the February 5th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

Photo from the Carnegie Archives.

Leeland Art Co’s Studio in Mitchell, SD at 318 N. Main.      
We have many Leeland photos at the Carnegie Resource Center.  It was a find to discover a photo of the studio forwarded to the Mitchell Area Historical Society by Cynthia Rubin. Ole Leeland was instrumental in documenting the early days of Mitchell and the surrounding communities.  We have photos as early as 1908 of Mitchell Main Street, an undated photo of the Methodist Church in Fulton, the Manhattan Oil Co fire in 1911, the Mitchell Hotel fire in 1913, the 1935 Gamble/Butterfield fire and many more. Without these early photographers, it would be difficult to visualize some our early history of the area.

Published in the October 15th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

Circa after 1900
How did stores get their cream and other dairy products in the early days? One way consisted of farmers who would drop their excess dairy products at various locations and the products would be collected for resale in towns. This is just one of those collection vehicles.  Sitting in the cream wagon are Theodore F. King and Rev. David Powell.  Theodore F. King hauled cream from outlaying stations to Mt. Vernon.  Mr. King came to the Mt. Vernon area about 1900.  Rev. Powell was the minister of the Methodist Church in Mt. Vernon.  Standing at the back of the wagon is Ole Rygg and John Silvas. 

Photo donated by Florence Althon. 

Published in the April 30th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

Warnick delivery wagon in front of Stair Photography     circa 1916

     A Warnick Dairy delivery wagon sits on Main Street as it delivered products to the area.  The Warnick’s Dairy was located at 1300 E. Fourth Avenue. 
     L.E. Stair’s studio sat at 113 S. Main Street.  Lawrence E. Stair was a local photographer who sold many different items on the side.  Photo supplies, motor cycles, bicycles and Bush cars were among the items available from Stair’s.  He also repaired items of various kinds and was a locksmith. The Corn Palace was a yearly favorite subject; one season he sold 30,000 postcards of a single design. Buildings in Mitchell adorned his postcards with more than 60,000 views.  He died in 1948. 
     Hauert and Rubin Grocery Store sat next door at 111 S. Main Street owned by Jacob Hauert and Fred Rubin. We have very little information about the dairy or the grocery store.  If readers have information they would like to share, we would love to add to our history of Mitchell. Contact Mitchell Area Historical Society at the Carnegie Resource Center -119 W 3rd Ave – or call 605-996-3209 with information to share.

Published in the December 3rd, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

Circa 1917   His Bridal Night began touring in August 1917 in Red Bank, NJ.  It starred Bowers and the Warren Twins succeeding the Dolly Sisters who had starred in the opening in 1916 for a run of 77 shows. Harry Lillford was the only hold-over from the original production.  A “Symphony Orchestra” accompanied the show.  In 1918 The Warren Twins were replaced by the Sheridan Twins.  
The ad reads, “Note from the Management: I regard the above as the most important theatrical announcement made in Mitchell in several seasons.  This splendid big city attraction plays here enroute to Denver and is booked to appear this season in most of the principal cities of the country.  This is the original and only company.  I will positively guarantee this attraction to you.  A.J. Dix, Mgr.”
The Metropolitan Theatre sat at 311 N. Main St. in Mitchell, SD on the site of the burned Gale Theatre. The Gale Theatre was built in 1906 and gutted in 1914 by fire. Within 10 months a new three-story building that boasted 2 balconies, 8 boxes, 12 dressing rooms, and seating for 1,065 was completed under the name of the Metropolitan. The Metropolitan was the first theatre to have movies with sound.  In 1932 it closed for three months to remodel and reopened with a new name, The Paramount Theatre.  Paramount was considered to be the best in the area.  It became the State Theatre in 1952 and the last owner of the building was The Area Community Theatre group until it burned in 2004.

Published in the June 25th, 2022 Mitchell Republic

The Shubert Bottling Company  had its inception in 1904 and was located on South Kimball. In 1905 Andrew Ellwein, F.J. Prezler and James Brown purchased the Shubert Company from Gus Shubert and named their new business the Mitchell Bottling Works.  By 1910 Ellwein bought out Brown and by 1912 Prezler. 
The early plant employed three men and the machinery was powered by a two-horse gasoline engine.  Bottles were washed by hand in a wooden tub and bottles were capped on a pedal-operated machine at the rate of six bottles per minute.  Freight and horse-drawn wagons were used to distribute the cases of soft drinks.
In 1929 the name of the business was changed to Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Mitchell.  By 1936 a new bottling plant was constructed at 120 South Kimball across the street from the original.  Booming business required additions in 1937, 1938, 1967 and 1975.  The business remained a family business until 1979 when F.D. “Doc” Randall purchased and changed the name to the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Central South Dakota, Inc.

Published in the June 18th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

The remains of Kress Drug after it was consumed by fire on April 14, 1950.  The fire started in the Widmann Hotel and spread across First Avenue to the Kress Drug building.  This building was torn down and replaced by a one story building in which Kress Drug reopened in September, 1950.  In the front part of the basement, Ed Nobis’ Barbershop was also reopened.  Nobis formerly occupied the same space in the old building.  Singer Sewing Machine Store occupied the building for a time and Rusted Wing Gift Shop now does business from this site at 100 N Main.

Published in the October 1st, 2022 Mitchell Republic. 

Early photographers would go to many heights to get just the right picture angle.  Harry Hersey liked to take aerial photos and built this tall tripod to use to get those beloved photos.  Harry and his brother Tom were photographers in Mitchell for many years.  This photo was taken on the Dakota Wesleyan Campus; in the background on the right is the president’s house, Science Hall (center), College Hall on the left.

Published in the January 22nd, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

Photo from the Carnegie Archives.  

This 1939 advertising board for the Corn Palace Festival Shows once stood proudly in front of the Corn Palace for all to see.  It tells of the entertainment slated for September 25-September 30, 1939.  The main act to perform was Paul Whiteman and his orchestra, plus Rosco Ates (the stuttering comedian from Hollywood), Hollywood Glamour Girls, The Olympic Trio, Hudson Wonders and Whitson Brothers.  Admission was 25 cents for children, 75 cents for general admission and $1.25 for reserved seating.  Mayors of 86 towns in South Dakota were invited to be guests of Mitchell’s Mayor, George Fredericks, to attend any of the Corn Palace Shows during the Festival.  Lyle Swenson is shown here with the original 1939 advertising board, now housed in the Corn Palace Room at the Carnegie Resource Center, 119 West Third Avenue in Mitchell.  The Carnegie Resource Center invites everyone to come in and see this board and numerous other Corn Palace memorabilia displayed there.  Admission is free and hours are Monday through Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Published in the March 5th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

Carnegie Archives Photo.

Cruising on the James River.    

As the ice thawed and the summer heat moved in, residents found ways to take their minds from the heat.  Cruising on waterways was one of those ways. Jim Tobin provided the boat for this group to take a cruise down the James River.

Photographer unknown.

Published in the June 4th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

Shipping Corn at Letcher, SD by Leeland Art Company
We are at a loss!  It says corn, looks like corn, but can it be?  Or is this another jackalope? If anyone has any information on this photo, we would love to have the story about it.  Contact the Mitchell Area Historical Society at the Carnegie Resource Center if you can help us figure this out.  Our number is 605-996-3209 and our address is 119 W 3rd Ave, Mitchell, SD.

Published in the October 22, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

Bowling has been part of Mitchell’s recreational activities for many years. The top Hersey photo is of Rozum Motor Company, located at 5th Avenue and Main Street in 1939. In 1941 an eight-lane bowling alley was opened at 510 N. Main in the basement of the building. Notice in the bottom photo, part of the windows and the brick wall were removed to put in a doorway. Mitchell Bowling Center owned by J. B. and Clarence Shearer had previously been located at 108 E. 3rd Avenue. Shearers purchased Mitchell Bowling Center in 1939 from P. W. Huntemer. Shearers later sold the business to Phil Thompson in 1949. The Bowling Center was in this building until December 10, 1959, when it moved to the new building at 1500 N. Duff and was then called Village Bowl. Village Bowl  burned down on July 16, 1975, and was rebuilt and reopened in 1976. The first Village Bowl was a 20-lane alley, while the second was built as a 24-lane alley. There were several other bowling alleys in town as early as 1907. Scharnweber Brothers had a billiards and bowling parlor at 106 N. Main (bowling alley was on 2nd floor). The J. W. Elliott Billiards and Bowling Parlor was at 308 N. Main (bowling alley on 2nd floor), now Harve’s Pro Print. Scott Brothers opened a bowling alley, December 4, 1907, in the basement of the Widmann Hotel located the corner 1st Avenue and Main Street, now Casey’s.

Published in the January 8th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

Photo from the Carnegie Archives.

West side of 500 block of North Main Street, circa 1950.

According to City Directories at the Carnegie Resource Center:
511 N. Main was Rozum Motor Company used car lot.
515 N. Main was listed as Casey Collection Service owned by Leo Casey.
517 and 519 N. Main was listed as Swanson Plumbing owned by Gustav Swanson. Swanson opened the business at 517 N. Main in 1919 after returning from WWI. In 1952 he tore down the two buildings and built a brick structure at that location. Sherwin Williams Paint Store now resides there and 519 houses Alvine Law offices.
521 N. Main was Bernie’s Liquor Store owned by Bud Jones.
523 N. Main was the Sixth Avenue Café owned by John Verner.
521 and 523 are now occupied by Jones’ Supply Company.

Published in the July 30th, 2022 Mitchell Republic.

Pictured is South Sanborn Boulevard looking south from 1st Avenue and Sanborn Boulevard intersection.  As you can see, this photo was taken before the viaduct was built.  The city of Mitchell first started discussing the construction of a viaduct as early as 1914.  Since Sanborn Boulevard was a busy street, the residents of Mitchell were concerned for the pedestrians and traffic that had to cross the railroad tracks to get from one side of the city to the other.  In 1939, Mayor George Fredericks made it his mission to get the viaduct constructed.  Construction began on the viaduct in 1949 and was completed in 1950. The first viaduct was demolished in 2000 and its replacement opened in 2001.   Shown on the left is Mitchell Hide Company, which was owned by Henry G. Gwynn.  S. Sanborn St. Mitchell’s  Most Popular Boulevard, Mitchell, S. D. by Hersey Photography.

Published in the April 23rd, 2022 Mitchell Republic.