Before it was Lake Mitchell, this area provided other services. We know that the quality of this photo is not the best, but still find it valuable to get a sense of the landscape that lies under Lake Mitchell. The photo is marked “MITCHELL LIVE STOCK.” We believe that this farm belonged to the Anderson family and sat along Firesteel Creek valley; it is now underwater.  Discussion about the topic of creating Lake Mitchell began on October 18, 1926. On August 30, 1927, the City Council, after testing of the Firesteel Creek as a source for water, approved plans for a proposed dam on the creek. By the end of 1927, the Council approved the name of “Lake Mitchell” for the reservoir. The lake was to provide water to the city of Mitchell and planners were interested in keeping it a natural area for the public. If anyone has photos surrounding the establishment of Lake Mitchell and would like to share, The Mitchell Area Historical Society located at the Carnegie Resource Center (119 West 3rd Ave.) would love to get copies that will be added to the archives that records the history of the Mitchell and the 16 surrounding counties.

Published in the May 13th, 2023 Mitchell Republic.

Repeat of a 2012 Back In Time. "This panoramic photo by Mitchell’s Hersey Photo Service was donated to the Mitchell Area Historical Society by LouOra Houk of Mitchell.  The photo recorded for history an impressive musical event by three choral groups when they presented Mendelssohn’s oratorio “Elijah” on April 26, 1931, at the Corn Palace.  This was only the second time this musically challenging achievement was performed in South Dakota.
     The three groups which included three hundred singers and 25 orchestra members were the Mitchell Philharmonic Society Chorus and orchestra, the Mitchell High School Chorus, and the A Capella Choir of the Dakota Wesleyan University Conservatory.
     Names that may resonate today are Miss Valentine Preston, supervisor of music in the public schools who directed the 150 member High School Chorus and Miss Virginia Thomas, piano accompanist of the High School Chorus.  Thomas Williams, tenor, and Professor Arthur J. Graham, pianist, were both from D.W.U.  The director of the performance was A. A. Beecher.
     The reviewer gave highest praise to the fine quality of the entire production and commented on the enthusiastic appreciation by the 1500 persons in the audience."

Published in the April 29th, 2023 Mitchell Republic.

As the dream of Lake Mitchell started to become a reality in 1928, many workers were needed to complete the task. These pictures show what is now on the bottom of the lake. Notice the intake tower in the top picture that would eventually supply water to the water treatment plant on the east side of Highway 37. These bunk houses were used for lodging workers during the construction of the dam for Lake Mitchell.

Published in the May 27th, 2023 Mitchell Republic. 

Shown is an aerial photo of the east side of the Mitchell Senior High School circa 1962-1967.  The Senior High School opened at this location (920 N. Capitol) in 1962.  Many additions have been made to the building since this time.  The house and trees on the bottom right were removed for the Kernels present practice field.  On the top left Disco seeds is shown here, which was demolished in the 1990’s.  Below that was the Kernel’s Baseball Park (previously, MTI’s west parking lot) where Mitchell’s Basin League team the Kernels played their games.  The Kernels played at the Stadium in the 1950’s at the beginning of the Basin League, a semi-professional league that saw more than 130 players move on to the major leagues.  There were no locker rooms or shower facilities, so players dressed at the Elks Lodge.  The Basin League existed from 1953 to 1973.  The Kernel Baseball Park was torn down about 1968.  Mitchell Area Vocational Technical School was constructed in 1968.  On the right is shown the Kernel’s Track and Field which was renamed Joe Quintal Field in 1984.

Published in the March 25, 2023 Mitchell Republic.

The importance of railroads in settling the United States cannot be underestimated.  Passengers could sleep on trains, eat on trains and just travel from place to place.  This example of the plates used in dining cars and the menus available give a peek into the past of a railroad trip from the first half of the 20th Century.

Published in the Mitchell Republic, January 14th, 2023.

Circa 1944/1945

Reierson’s Bakery and Ice Cream was located at 519 South Sanborn.  Pictured is the largest truck in their fleet. It made three round trips to Winner per week, outbound on Highway 18 and returning the next day via Highway 16.  The driver was Clarence Cunningham (“Sunshine”, as he was known to his west river customers.)  The photo was taken in front of the Cunningham home at 315 East 11th Avenue.  (Note the unpaved road.)  Pictured with Cunningham are his children, Glenn and Delores.

Published in the March 4th, 2023 Mitchell Republic.

Progress is ever marching forward. This photo found in the archives at the Carnegie Resource Center illustrates that fact. It shows Mrs. George (Daisy) Cooley and Harriet Cooley in front of their home at 207 East 4th Avenue, across from the Court House, in 1897 or 1898. Notice the wood sidewalks.  George Cooley is found in the 1907 City Directory residing at 310 E 9th. His occupation is listed as clerk. Harriet Cooley married (baby in the picture) Ed Rice and lived at 632 W 22nd St., Sioux Falls, SD.
     Court House records show that this property was sold to Fowler in 1900, and then to Smith in 1908, and then to Bowering. Maps at the Carnegie Resource Center from 1914 still show the house at this address.

Published in the May 6th, 2023 Mitchell Republic. 

Back in Time 2023

     One of the “finest, men’s clothing stores in the area,” says a Daily Republic article from 1964. Becker’s was known in South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, and North Dakota. They prided themselves on having a variety of sizes and even advertised, “We fit the hard to fit. Long men, short men, tall men, all men.” Becker’s even helped supply some of the smaller clothing stores with merchandise at a reduced rate. Emil Becker and his son Delvan came to Mitchell in 1887. Emil was working for Hirsch-Wickwire and Company, a clothing company from Chicago. He so loved the business that he purchased the store from the company. In 1906, Emil Becker remodeled his two-store front to a one entrance store at 206-208 North Main with A.J. Kings doing the work of tearing off the old fronts and replacing the front with pressed bricks for a unified look. This building now houses Cherrybees Floral and Gifts; look high on the building and the Becker – 1906 company name plaque can still be seen. Emil Becker sold this property in 1929 to J.J. Newberry Company of New York.
     Delvan T. Becker took over the business from his father and purchased the building next door at 210 North Main, the Larrison Drug Store, in 1929. The front was remodeled with the new Becker name plaque reading 1930. This is the store front in the picture.  He moved his clothing business to the new store and continued in business at this location until August of 1964 when he sold its assets. Delvan Becker was very involved in his community and at retirement thanked all those customers from the last 70 years for their patronage.  Xtreme Dance now occupies this space.

1930 photo donated by Bob Brown and the 2023 photo donated by Linda Oster to the Mitchell Area Historical Society.

Published in the January 21st, 2023 Mitchell Republic.

TG.C. Slack & Co from Soo (Sioux) Falls, SD took this picture of the Main Street in Dimock, SD.  Dimock sits in Hutchinson County and had a population of 137 in the 2020 census.  It was a destination for many German immigrants from Dane, Wisconsin coming to the area to homestead. Some of those families who came in a wagon train in 1879 were the Schlimgens, Zehnpfennings, Webers, Lockens, Puetzes and Hohns. The community was called Starr until the railroad changed the name to Dimock after Warren Dimock who came to the area from Wisconsin in 1885. He was a Hutchinson County State’s Attorney, a state senator and county judge. Dimock is home to the elegant Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. Today’s church was the end result of a series of several earlier churches; it was completed on October 6, 1909, and sits prominently on West 1st Street to the east of Highway 37 overlooking the cemetery which reaches to the highway.  According to A Pictorial History of Parkston - 2006 , Dimock had a hotel, hardware store, blacksmith shop, bowling alley, hat shop, theatre, café, gas station, garage, bar, and car sales lot.  One of the long surviving businesses in Dimock is Dimock Dairy, a cheese factory established in 1931, which boasts "handcrafted artisan cheese the old fashioned way.” 

Published in the February 11th, 2023 Mitchell Republic.

A behind the counter look at the old First Mitchell National Bank that sat at 217 North Main Street in Mitchell, SD. The original bank stood at the 207 North Main where Geyerman’s now stands in a small wooden building. It was established by the Davison brothers and four other merchants when they were issued a National Bank Charter on October 22,1886, and opened for business on November 22,1886. They moved to the Roman columned building at 217 North Main in June,1907, and remained there until a new building at Lawler and Fourth made of precast concrete was put into service for the bank on August 8, 1977. The bank became a Norwest Bank on August 1, 1983; Norwest bank then acquired Wells Fargo in 1998 and assumed the Wells Fargo name by August 26, 2000. The 217 North Main location now houses Tickled Pink Boutique.

Published in the February 18th, 2023 Mitchell Republic.


This Bob Brown photo shows the interior of the Town House Café that was located at 103 North Main Street.  The business began in 1935 as the Majestic Bar, owned by Mike Props and Tom Duros (Tom owned the Palace City Café next door).  In 1936, Mike Props, his brother Chris and Peter Economos acquired the Palace City Café and added the Royal Liquor Store and Sandwich Shop.
In 1942, Chris enlisted in the Air Force and was killed in New Guinea. Mike Props also served in the military which left Pete alone to run the businesses.  He closed the Sandwich Shop and operated the bar and liquor store. The original café was moved around 1948. Part of the building was rented  by George Psiropoulos, Gust S Papoutisis and George Karendis, according to the 1953 City Directory, under the name of the Oriental Café. In 1955, the whole building was renovated and opened as the Town House Café. After Pete Economos was killed in a car accident in 1973, Maria, his widow carried on the partnership with Mike Props until they sold it in 1985.
     The café and lounge was bought by Darwin Buus in 1985, and in 1994 purchased from Buus by Dale Snyder. The building became the VFW Club in 1997.  The building was torn down in 2013 due to structural damage from an adjoining building. Photo provided by Darwin Buus. Informational details from Mitchell Re-Discovered – July 16-19, 1981 and Pat Economos.  If you have pictures of the Town House and would like to share, we would appreciate any photos, information etc. for our files.  Please contact the Carnegie Resource Center either by phone 605-996-3209, email at  or stop in at 119 West Third Avenue, Mitchell, SD. Thanks in advance for any photos or information.

Published in the February 4th, 2023 Mitchell Republic.

Circa 1907 Brush Automobile The black/white photo could be a Leeland photo since it was found with several other Leeland photos. The color photo is advertising this car for sale on website.
This unknown driver is taking a break from driving his Brush car. The license plate reads SD 45431. According to, “A whopping $485 ( over $13,000.00 in today's money.) would buy you this Runabout back in 1907. ...These Brush models were built with a wooden chassis and even wooden axles in a time when they were losing favor, and in a thoughtful note, Brush designed his 6-horsepower single-cylinder engines to run counter-clockwise to make hand-cranking it safer on the user. …
The American company Brush Motor Car Company operated from 1907-13. The company was founded by Alanson Partridge Brush who designed a light car with a wooden chassis (wooden rails and iron cross-members), friction drive transmission and ‘underslung’ coil springs in tension instead of compression on both sides of each axle. The frame, axles, and wheels were made of oak, hickory, or maple, and were either left plain or painted to match the trim. Powered by a water-cooled single cylinder engine They were an entry level car, simple, reliable, and easy to operate.
Wider axles were available for use in the Southern region of the United States, where a 60-inch tread fit wagon ruts on country roads. The horn was located next to the engine cover, with a metal tube running to a squeeze bulb affixed near the driver. A small storage area was provided in the rear, with a drawer accessible under the rear of the seat.”
For those who would like to hear and see this car run, there are two YouTube videos to let you experience in a small way the Brush Automobile. and 

Published in the March 11, 2023 Mitchell Republic

Main Street is ever evolving. This 1955 view of 4th and Main looking north shows many businesses that are no longer with us or have moved to new locations. The 1955 City Directory for Mitchell lists these businesses on the 400 block of North Main:
On the west side of the street – 401-403 G.F. Buche Co. department store; 405-409 Red Owl Stores with groceries and a coffee bar; 413 Moonlight Bar and liquor store; 415 Service Café; 425 Montgomery Ward.
On the east side of the street – 400 Den Beste Drug; 402 Clark’s Radio and TV Service; 404 Sears Roebuck and Co. order office; 408 Modern Home Appliances; 408 ½ 14 apartments; 410 Nortwestern Public Service - Elec. Workers Local No 690; 412 Loon Motor Co. - used car lot; 414 Chris’ Inn; 424 Elk’s Lodge No 1059.

Published in the April 8th, 2023 Mitchell Republic.

             Found in the Carnegie Archives negatives from the 1949 Mitchell Prom.  The prom was held at the Masonic Temple on May 7th and was designed around the theme “Good Luck.” The Warbler (School Yearbook) stated that around, “170 students, faculty members and guests attended the banquet. The banquet tables had centerpieces of two gold flower vases with horseshoes connecting the vases. Miniature elves sat on the tables and the lilacs.
     Nearly 50 couples descended the stairs in the Grand March led by Jim Smith, junior class president and his date, Myrna Neystad. The revolving spotlight shone on a beautiful rainbow on the east wall of the Masonic Temple.  An outside scene composed of a tree, artificial grass, and a white lawn chair dominated the northwest corner.
     Music was furnished by Bob Harges and his orchestra.”
     You are invited to the Carnegie Resource Center to take a look at the 1949 Warbler to see additional pictures of the prom, as well as, other activities during the1949 school year.

Published in the April 22nd, 2023 Daily Republic. 

Fun in the snow 1912 version.  An unknown photographer’s photo found in the archives of the Carnegie Resource Center is labeled “1912 Sleigh ride on Court Merrill and McCabe.”

What was the winter of 1912 like? Wikipedia says, “January 1912 was the seventh-coldest January on record in the contiguous U.S. The states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota had their coldest Januaries on record.  Minneapolis/Saint Paul endured a record-setting 186 consecutive hours of below 0 °F (−17.78 °C) temperatures, from 8 pm on December 31 until 1 pm on January 8. After only four hours above 0 °F (−18 °C), the temperature again dropped below zero, this time for 121 consecutive hours, until 10 am on January 13. Sioux Falls, South Dakota dropped to −38 °F (−38.9 °C) on January 12, which is the city's second-lowest temperature during its 1893 through 2017 period of record. …
February 1912 was less extreme. It was the 24th-coldest February on record for the contiguous U.S….
March 1912 was the second-coldest March on record for the contiguous U.S., with widespread heavy snowfalls. Williston, North Dakota had its coldest March on record from 1895 through 2017.”

Published in the January 28th, 2023 Mitchell Republic.

With gas prices always in the news these days, this picture takes us back to circa 1914.  Ruth Doane Hersey, is posing with a gas pump hose aimed at her head in front of Mitchell Auto and Supply, at 114 W. 4th Avenue. She seems to be saying, “I’m going to get some more get-up-and-go.” The Odd Fellows Hall was on the second floor of the building.  The Odd Fellows owned the building and leased the main floor out. Some of the former tenants were Reynold’s Furniture and Reynold’s Business College. The Odd Fellows building was razed a few years ago. Behind her to the far right is the Beckwith Building, which is now the Midtown Plaza.  The house sits where Buche’s was built later on, and was the Fabric Warehouse for many years and is now 401 on Main a facility associated with LifeQuest.

Published in the April 1st, 2023 Mitchell Republic. 

The L.O. Gale buildings, located on the corner of 4th Avenue and Main Street (lots 8 & 9), were destroyed by fire in the early morning hours of April 28, 1908.  Gale had constructed the two buildings after the first Corn Palace was torn down (1905) and the Corn Palace site was moved to the corner of 5th Avenue and Main Street.   W. H. Bacon had a grocery and bakery store in one building and Mrs. Anderson had a millinery store in the other.  Four families resided on the second floors of these buildings and Mr. and Mrs. Anderson lived on the first floor in the back of their store.  All occupants were able to escape the fire thanks to a young boy who worked for the Hardy Bakery at 104 E. 4th Ave, right next door. He had just finished his work at the bakery and was headed home to his dwelling in the Bacon building. He discovered the smoke and woke those who lived in the buildings saving many lives. The families were able to save very little and were forced from the building in their night clothes. It was believed that the fire of unknown origin started in the space between the buildings.
     Firemen were able to rescue some of the millinery goods, but they were so water soaked that they were practically ruined; the rescued goods were taken to the Weller building across the street. Bacon’s grocery goods were completely destroyed, but he was able to save some working tools and his bake oven. The two businesses carried insurance, but the losses exceeded their insurance amounts. These businesses relocated.  Gale had insured his buildings and settled insurance claims for $4500.  Arthur Wright purchased Gale’s ½ interests in the property in May, 1908; the other ½ interest in the property belonged to L. Beckwith.  Wright quickly sold to H.R. Kibbee, and Kibbee sold to Beckwith; by June 8, 1908, all property rights to the original Corn Palace lots 8 and 9 belonged to L. Beckwith. In 1911, L. Beckwith built a brick building on the site – today Midtown Plaza occupies the NE corner of 4th and Main, home of the first Corn Palace.

Published in the April 15th, 2023 Mitchell Republic

The 100 Block of North Main Street in Mitchell, circa 1967.  On the right at 113 North Main was the Anderst Café owned by Mrs. Albertine W. Anderst.  At 111 North Main was Mitchell Paint Company owned by Calvin E. and Ida E. Schultz.  The building on the left was Gambles Furniture and Carpet Center at 107 North Main Street.  Miles Winship was the manager.  The American Legion Café occupied the Gambles building for a time and Jades Bar, Restaurant and Casino is now at the 107 N Main location.  The other two buildings are no longer there, it is now a parking lot.

Published in the March 18th, 2023 Mitchell Republic.    

     With summer fast approaching, nostalgic thoughts turn to those special treats enjoyed at drive-ins. The Dog ‘N Suds was a local destination for many in the Mitchell area. Located at 605 S. Sanborn the business appears in the City Directories in 1964 under the ownership of William Greenway. Dog ‘N Suds is a midwestern drive-in chain that started in 1953 in Illinois with over 700 franchises sold by the 1970’s. However, as with many businesses, they slowly began to decline and by 2021, the Dog ‘N Sud’s website says that there are still 15 locations with a Dog ‘N Suds drive-in.
      In 1966, Don Uptagrafft purchased the Mitchell site and expanded the business by adding a larger parking space, installing picnic facilities and offering plain as well as charcoal hamburgers. (Pictures donated by Don Uptagrafft.)  Drive-up service and inside seating were featured along with a special of a 19 cent Coney Dog in 1967.  Dog ‘N Suds often ran coupon specials which might include a free malt with a purchase of a sandwich or taverns for 19 cents, ice cream cones for 10 cents or a Coney Dog in 1976 for half price (25 cents).
     Randall and Marilyn Goldammer bought the business in 1979.  They advertised a new salad bar and the return of car hop service. By 1981 Dog ‘N Suds no longer had an entry in the City Directory.
     Over the years, after the Dog ‘N Suds drive-in, this location has hosted different kinds of businesses. The Mouse House is listed in the City Directories from 1987 -1997 on the site.  Prairie Town Grocery is listed in the City Directories from 2009-2014 as being at 605 S. Sanborn. Marco’s Pizza is the current resident.

Published in the May 20th, 2023 Mitchell Republic.

Worthing's store circa 1910 by unknown photographer
Worthing’s is a name known in Mitchell businesses since 1905. F.P. Worthing came from Iowa with his family and established a grocery store in the south half of the current Burg shoe store. By 1909 he had built a store at 115 West 2nd which featured groceries, dry goods, and shoes.  F.P., his son, Forrest, and daughter, Florence, operated the store. The store changed its product line many times from hardware, new and used furniture, western wear and arts and crafts.  Forrest and Dorothy Worthing and their son, Kenneth were running the store later on.  Late in 1968, Ken Worthing opened Worthing’s Western Wear at 201 North Main and the business at 115 West 2nd now named Worthing’s Arts and Crafts housed Dorothy’s art studio at the rear of the store. This West 2nd store was a great outlet for artist Dorothy’s work, as well as, other regional artist’s works. Art and craft supplies were available for sale. Dorothy died in 1969 and Forrest ran the business until his death, at which time Kenneth Jerald, Forrest’s son, and his wife, Kathleen, owned it until they closed Worthing’s Arts and Crafts in November 1978.

The L.O. Gale Pharmacy, Jewelry and Book store sat on this corner of 2nd and Main in Mitchell’s early history. Worthing’s Western Wear at 201 North Main was in this location and featured all kinds of western attire for the family for many years. A fire destroyed the building on December 17, 2007, when it housed Janitor’s Express; after the building was taken down the location became an outside seating area for Dr. Lucky’s Bar and Grill.

Published in the February 25, 2023 Mitchell Republic.