Thousands Throng Mitchell when Company F leaves state, September 27, 1917, for Camp Greene, N.C.
Unknown photographer -  Linda Oster, Researcher

 Europe had been rumbling with old feuds and past grievances. When Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, the Duchess of Hohenberg were assassinated by Serbian anarchists on June 28, 1914, it was the stimulus that ignited Europe into war. “Austria-Hungary quickly declared war on Serbia and Russia entered the war on the side of the Serbs and France also allied with the Russians. Germany, who was an ally of Austria-Hungary's, realized the time was ripe to reclaim territory from France that it had lost in 1871 and invaded the French province of Alsace-Lorraine in August of 1914. England immediately joined sides with the French and the Russians. On May 7, 1915, German torpedoes sunk the British ship, the Lusitania. More than 100 Americans on board ship were killed.” 
     The United States was very isolationist at the time and President Woodrow Wilson was determined to keep America out of European squabbles as were many Americans. However, in “February 1917, British intelligence purportedly uncovered a plot linking Germany with Mexico in a plot to invade the United States from its southern borders. Month later, German "U"-boats (submarines) sunk five American merchant vessels. Although Wilson had been re-elected in 1916 on the slogan, ‘He kept us out of war,’ the President could no longer ignore the facts that the war was now coming to America. Wilson requested the United States Congress declare war on April 2, 1917. The Congress complied by declaring war on Germany on April 6, 1917 and on Austria-Hungary on December 7, 1917. Countries chose sides and formed into two alliances known as the "Allies" and the "Central Powers."
    With America at war, training camps for new soldiers were needed. One of those places that sprung up was in Charlotte, Mecklenburg, North Carolina where Camp Greene, named after the Revolutionary War hero, Nathaniel Greene, was born.  Life for the citizens of the city was greatly influenced by the major military facility. “Thousands of men from across the country trained at Camp Greene. Tents and wooden barracks were erected, roads were built, and men and materials started pouring in by train. The military selected the site for Camp Greene because of its access to transportation systems, a large source of water, and the amount of land available. The camp was built in record time, less than 90 days. By the end of the war, it had become a city unto itself. It had its own stables, bakery, laundry, hospital, chapel, YMCA buildings, Knights of Columbus hall, water tower and post office. … The residents of Mecklenburg were not familiar with the sight of so many military men in their area. Images of men in uniform ran in the newspaper to teach local citizens the different types of soldiers and sailors that would be seen on the streets and roads.”

Published in the September 23rd, 2023 Mitchell Republic.

Alexander Mitchell Hotel on the northeast corner of Third and Main
Col. Joseph L. Davenport arrived in Dakota Territory in 1875 and in Mitchell in 1880. He operated a grocery store and leased the Sanborn House upon arrival to Mitchell. In 1881 he purchased six lots from John Lawler for $150. Within 65 days he built this first-class hotel with Robert Doudell as the main contractor. Since the Chicago Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad hauled his construction supplies free of charge, he named the hotel after the railroad's president. The formal opening was a gala affair for Mitchell and was “attended by many prominent men in political and civic affairs, territorial officials and people outside the territory.” The men wore white gloves, food was imported from Chicago caterers as was the orchestra. Fresh flowers decorated the banquet room with no expense spared. This property went through several hands until it burned on November 3, 1913, at a complete loss.  The story about the trials and tribulations of this historic building can be found in The History of Mitchell Hotels and Houses by Garvin Bertsch at the Carnegie Resource Center.

Published in the October 14th, 2023 Mitchell Republic. 

     This is a reprint from a Back In Time dated February 11,2013. At the time information was requested about the machine Frank Rowley is sitting on and the church that is being moved. Frank Rowley was listed in the city directory as being a foreman for Isaac Spears Moving Company.
      Information that was received stated that the machine shown was in fact a “Capstan Winch” used to move large items.  It had a series of pulleys and gears that were powered by a pair of horses that would constantly circle the machine and as they did, a cable attached to the church would pull it.  Most likely the cable was about 200 feet long; it required moving the machine after each pull.  The machine was held in place by a “deadman” which was a large timber buried several feet down horizontal to the machine and attached by chains.  Also, information received thought the church was the one now part of the Baptist Church on the corner of Edmunds and Douglas. If anymore information is available about this picture, please contact The Carnegie Resource Center at We would love to add it to our collected history about the Mitchell area.

Published in the October 7th, 2023 Mitchell Republic.

Newspaper Ad from December 9, 1910, for L.E. Stair Photo Studio             Linda Oster – Researcher

     L.E. Stair, entrepreneur, helped Mitchell grow.  His store/studio was located at 113 S. Main, Mitchell, SD. We have a newspaper ad as early as March 25, 1898, in the Gazette for Crescent Bicycles ranging from $20 to $50 in price.  He was born April 4, 1858, in Elkhart, Indiana and like many in his generation moved around until he found a place to stay put. Mitchell was fortunate to be that place. Stair was a person who took the opportunity to sell many kinds of items. For example, Pope and Pierce Motorcycles, kerosene lamps that burned mantles, the Brush Runabout car for $485, Michelin tires, photographic supplies, Tungsten Batteries, and photo services to name a few.

     From correspondence with a customer who owed him a bill and had paid with a check on the First National Bank that couldn’t be cashed in 1923, he shows that he is a man who was willing to work around a situation to get the bill paid. First National Bank was a failed bank at this time and he tells the customer that he hopes she didn’t have much money there. He is sympathetic with the customer and relayed that 54 banks had failed in South Dakota and that the bank Guarantee fund was behind in payments. He requests that she send stamps to pay the bill; his last sentence says, “Received your Kodak work which will be made today.”

     Stair was interested in the growth of Mitchell and its movement forward. In a letter to the editor on March 12, 1912, he writes that the citizens of Mitchell should support the mayor and city council in a dispute over who was going to supply the phone service to the city. The city was struggling over which company should provide services. Stair’s article listed examples of other towns and states who had done business with some of the contenders and what a nightmare it could become.

    On February 27, 1948, a short article in the newspaper stated, “Stair Rites Are Held Here At Masonic Temple.” He is buried at Graceland Cemetery and gravesite services were in charge of members of the Masonic lodge.

Published in the December 16, 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

Jim Blades photographer – 5th & Main Street - 1952 – Linda Oster Researcher

     The midway as it sat on Main Street in 1952.  Opening day was September 21st. Note the businesses that no longer occupy those spaces on Main. Rozum Motor, The Salvation Army, Automotive Supply, Dolan’s Standard Station, Porter Motor Co., The National Guard Armory, and the Sport Bar to name a few.  Men in suits and ladies in their finest are wandering the street.  The Midway ran down Main Street which was blocked to all traffic.  Many kinds of exhibits could be found in addition to the regular carnival entertainments. Bingo was a popular activity for the older folks. 
     Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians were the headliners for the 1952 Corn Palace entertainment. The program included twin pianos, singers Kenny Gardner, Bill Flannigan, Cliff Grass and Kenny Martin.  Ray Eppel was on the Hammond Organ. Nearly 49,000 people attended the 14 performances. Lombardo put on a special performance that was broadcast nationally from the Corn Palace on the radio show, Hit Parade.  A second performance was also broadcast from the Palace.
     Oscar Howe, a local professor at Dakota Wesleyan University, designed the panels for the Corn Palace which represented the major holidays celebrated South Dakota style.

Published in the August 19th, 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.

On October 3, 1927, “T.J. Tobin Company of Madison was awarded the contract for ‘construction of an earth dam, concrete spillway and bridge … at prices named in their bid.’ “ Notice the mules and horses being used in the construction of the dam. After the pillars were set, dirt was filled in on both sides.  The top picture is the east side of the dam; this area will become Lakeshore Drive.  Highway 37 can be seen on the right-side of the photo along with the low bridge.

Published in the June 3rd, 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. 

Commercial Trust and Savings Bank - Circa 1906-1960           Linda Oster - Researcher

On January 6, 1897, Howard Kibbee, Joseph Morow, George Rew, and Samuel Webber established the Commercial Savings Bank in a two-story wooden building located at 220 North Main. When it became a state bank in 1901, it was renamed Commercial Trust and Savings Bank. In 1903 it became incorporated with a capital of $25,000 and by 1906 had doubled its capital to $50,000. The original two-story wooden building was replaced in 1906 with a new three-story brick building at the same location. The old building was moved to the back of the lot. Another move in 1961, took the bank to 208 East Third with the main entrance on the north side of the building. A remodel of the building in 1981 provided a drive-up feature and moved the front entrance to 210 N Lawler. In 1999, Commercial Trust and Savings Bank merged with First National Bank South Dakota in Yankton and this group again merged in 2014, and is operated as part of First National Bank of Omaha. Commercial Trust and Savings Bank became inactive as of November 5, 1999. 
The Commercial Trust and Savings Bank building at 220 Main Street was destroyed by fire in 1981 and razed in 1982. At the time the building burned it housed Pretty Things Plus flower shop and Ellie’s women’s clothing store. The business next-door, the Whistle Stop Ice Cream parlor was the starting point of the fire. The strong firewall built between the Whistle Stop and Woelfel’s saved that building and likely, according to the Fire Chief Jerry Sorenson, the rest of the block.

Published in the December 30th, 2023 Mitchell Republic.

J.F. Anderson Lumber Company float sitting beside the business.  This lumber company opened in 1882 and once sat at 720 N. Main. It offered a variety of products seen advertised on the “mill” located on the right side of the picture. If you were looking for coal, lumber, cement, windows, doors, Anderson Lumber was the place to go. The 1967 city directory lists J.F. Anderson Lumber Company under the management of Richard G. Koch located at 720 N. Main offering building materials, coal and paint. The 1969 city directory lists Richard G. Koch as the manager at UBC Inc.-Anderson located at US Highway 16 W. and the 720 N. Main location as vacant.

Published in the Sept 30th, 2023 Mitchell Republic.

White’s Mill  -  D. Vance drawing in 2010 -  Linda Oster, Researcher
     This blank note card was found in the Carnegie archives. It depicts White’s Mill located on the James River. On the back of the note card was this explanation:
“In 1879, at the bend in the James River just east of present-day Mitchell, John R. White and a partner constructed a flour mill, hauling lumber for the mill 75 miles from Yankton. White was a Quaker immigrant to Dakota Territory by way of North Carolina, Indiana and Iowa, and he built a family home on the river bank near the mill for his wife and five children. ‘White’s Mill’ was the first such mill in the region and soon attracted people from far away who needed to grind their wheat. They camped beside the mill, which stayed open day and night to accommodate the business. The mill was torn down long ago, though its mill race and part of its foundation still can be seen.
     In recent years, a story has emerged about a spirit who inhabits land near the old mill race. An old farmer, Ian McCleer, has been seen at dawn walking his dog along the wooded breaks beside the river. He calls out to his son, Johnnie, hoping to find him somewhere there along the river.
     Ian’s son, Johnnie, was lynched on the cottonwood tree just above the river by members of Mitchell’s Ku Klux Klan back in the 1920’s, for he’d had an affair with a Klanner’s wife. Although in recent years local people claim to have seen and talked to Ian in the early morning along the river, he has been dead for over 70 years. No one ever was arrested for Ian’s son’s murder and, back in the 1930’s there among the river breaks Ian shot himself in despair.”
     A mill race is the current of water that turns a water wheel, or the channel (sluice) conducting water to or from a water wheel. The Carnegie Resource Center has no comment on the validity of the ghost.

Published in the October 21st, 2023 Mitchell Republic.

Building on the NE corner of West 2nd Ave. and Rowley Street - Photo by Elton Hill, Circa 1904-1907

     This impressive building in Mitchell, SD was constructed by the city in hopes that it would be home to the SD state government.  Mitchell was in a fierce battle with Pierre for the honor of being the state capitol. Many dollars later and some ill will, a vote was taken and Pierre, with 58,617 votes to Mitchell’s 41,155 votes was able to maintain its stance as the capitol city of SD.
      The building was made of jasper granite and had the following specifications:
*88 x 112 feet in size *3 stories *21 office spaces *2 legislative halls 16 x 90 feet *6 committee rooms *14 vaults.  This building became Mitchell’s City Hall.
      The Carnegie Library, now the Carnegie Resource Center, can be seen behind it at 119 W. 3rd Ave.  City Hall and the Carnegie shared a heating system until City Hall was torn down in November of 1960.  A city parking lot now occupies the space. 

Published in the July 8th, 2023 Mitchell Republic.

Unknown photographer - Circa late 1950’s - Unidentified man - Linda Oster researcher

     In August, 1948, Lawrence “Doc” and Marge Boedeker purchased Jensen Grocery from Al Bauer and Art Jensen. Ray Tyrrell was in charge of the meat department and Detty  Lulewicz was listed as another employee. Under new ownership the name of the grocery changed to D & M Market and listed their address as 123 W. First Ave. They offered free deliveries twice daily, were open evenings until 9:00 and Sundays from 8:00 to 6:00. According to a Daily Republic story dated August 15, 1955, after 7 years in business, the Boedeker’s had to deal with fire – not one but two fires in two days. On Thursday afternoon, the fire was contained mostly in the upstairs apartments and the stock stored up there was a complete loss with extensive damage to the building owned by Loren Weber. Smoke and water damage on the ground floor was great. The tire shop next door also received damage.  On Friday, another fire was discovered shortly after 5 p.m. in the basement near a motor.  Damage to the basement was extensive and additional smoke and water damage was suffered on the main floor.
     In the January 7, 1958, issue of the Daily Republic on a page headlined, “Largest Investment in Schools, Churches, Hospitals” (in the past year) the new Piggly Wiggly store is pictured stating that the building was 50 x 100 feet in size for a cost of about $50,000.  In the fall of 1957, the store was purchased from Doc Boedeker by Piggly Wiggly Hills. This sale resulted in some legal battles for several years.  Wally Ernster was named manager in August, 1960, replacing Estil Parshell.  By October 28, 1960, the store was sold to Harry DeVine and Ray Gile. Ownership of the store again changed hands in August, 1964, when Andy Neal from Sioux City became the new owner and manager.
     The Piggly Wiggly building at 123 W. 3rd Ave. became Berg Appliance by July, 1965, and remained so until around 1974. Mitchell Paint and Decorating occupied the building in 1975 and 1976.  According to the City Directory the building was vacant in 1977.  Wholesale Electronics took possession of the location in May of 1978, and remains the business on the SE corner of West First and Rowley Street. 

Published in the July 22, 2023 Mitchell Republic.

 Linda Oster, Researcher          
     With harvest season well under way, scenes from the past give a glimpse into how harvest times were in times gone by. This L.E. Stair photo shows1500 harvest hands on one freight train going through Mitchell, SD in July 1916. These desperate harvest workers were often at the mercy of robbers, gamblers and hold-up men. Many were simply searching for any kind of work to support themselves and their families.
     There was an attempt to organize these workers for fairer wages and safer working conditions.  This photo does not back up the new union’s statements concerning the treatment of these workers in Mitchell, SD. The following information comes from a union’s point of view. “The October 1916 edition of the International Socialist Review reports: The Militant Harvest Workers. HUNDREDS of swarthy faced, hard muscled harvest workers are now turning their backs upon a hard summer’s work and are bound for the lumber camps.” The Agricultural Workers’ Organization of the I.W.W. “in which the harvesters are organized, has flung out the greatest picket line the sun ever looked down upon, extending from Kansas City, Mo., to 300 miles north of Aberdeen, S. D. Every picket carries organizers’ credentials, and the unorganized harvest hand is out of luck this summer unless he kicks in and helps in the struggle for job control. …   At many places along the line the union harvesters are receiving a cordial welcome. At other points they are treated as hoboes and hold-up men. In Mitchell, S.D., all incoming freight trains are met by deputies, gun men and vigilantes at the point of rifles. Harvesters are searched. Those without union cards are allowed to proceed and the union men are turned back. Men of all nationalities, occupations and trades make up this migratory army of union workers who are on the job with both feet and hard fists fighting for job control.” Hellraisers Journal: Report from the Harvest Fields by W. T. Nef of the Agricultural Workers Organization – WE NEVER FORGET

Published in the September 2nd, 2023 Mitchell 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. 

Top left photo submitted by Jerry & Joanne Shaw  -  Top right photo unknown source  -   Bottom left photo submitted by Shirley Lohnes  -  Bottom right photo submitted by Linda Oster

Mitchell is fortunate to have many of the early homes still in good repair and a valuable part of our history. The house at 501 E. 6th Avenue in Mitchell, SD is one of those homes. It was owned by J. Arthur and Beatrice Larrison.  Pictured in the top left photo are their daughters, Pauline and Kathryn, (the smaller child unknown). Larrisons operated the Larrison Drug Store in downtown Mitchell.  By 1922, the front porch had been enclosed; we believe that the girls in the top right picture are Pauline and Kathryn, although they are not identified as such. The youngest daughter, Kathryn and her husband, Judge Harold F. Ricketts owned the home after J. Arthur and Beatrice. The older daughter Pauline and her husband Kenneth Shaw took possession after the death of Kathryn. The only grandchild of the Larrisons, Jerry Shaw, submitted the oldest photo of the home.

Published in the June 24th, 2023 Mitchell Republic.

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The annual Halloween party at Dakota Wesleyan University was celebrated at least as early as 1903 and was one of the most popular events on campus. The Phreno Cosmian reported that the 1913 Halloween party “eclipsed all previous efforts.” “New students witnessing for the first time the faculty on their annual rampage voted it the biggest event of the year thus far.” Festivities began at 8:30 that Friday night with everyone in costume. After their fortunes were told, students were paired up and then unmasked. Coffee and sandwiches were served, and then students passed through the tunnel, where they encountered wet bags and the skeleton known as “Old Maud,” and macaroni was dribbled down on them, “giving much the same feeling as angleworms.” Arriving in the basement of Science Hall, they made their way to the chapel (which is now the Patten-Wing Theater in Hughes Hall), where the faculty performed a variety of musical numbers and comedy skits. This photo is of all the faculty ladies performing a “Ghost Drill.” “Coming in a long line, white and silent, they went through a drill of various positions. This was done in such a weird way that we felt it was certainly Halloween.”  Submitted by the  Dakota Wesleyan University Archives.

Published in the October 28th, 2023 Mitchell Republic.

In 1921-22 a tourist camp began operation in Hitchcock Park.  The camp office was located on the western edge of the park. The building cost $3200 to build.  Mitchell citizens could not use the facility; it was reserved for tourists only, and up until 1924, the camp was free of charge.  A 50-cent fee was charged per car starting in 1924.
     In 1925, the tourist camp had 2,323 cars and showed a profit of $901.45. Fees changed in 1926 to 25 cents per adult and 15 cents per child. If tourists only stayed during the day, there was a charge of 25 cents per car for the use of cooking, washing and washing facilities. By 1928 two additional 8 ft. by 10ft. cabins were built for a cost $183 each. There were as many as 40 cars per night staying at the camp. Further improvements were made at the camp throughout its years of operation and eventually in 1933 the park showed a deficit of $14.72.  The camp closed on April 12, 1935.

Published in the July 1st, 2023 Mitchell Republic.

Unknown photographer – Village Chalet, Mitchell, SD – circa 1960-1975   - Linda Oster, researcher

The original Village Bowling Alley opened with 20 lanes on December 10, 1959. The Village complex added a lounge, a coffee shop, drive-in liquor store, and the Village Chalet-restaurant. Good Food. Good Drinks. Good Times. The ads pronounced the Chalet to be the place to go, “When you want to go first-class…go to the Village Chalet.” It was a restaurant with the feel of a Swiss Chalet that offered a variety of food on the menu: Steaks, Prime Rib of Beef, and Seafoods, Cocktails in the Lounge or dining room.  At times they also offered entertainment. In 1966 they featured country western and popular music by the “fabulous” Carroll’s and Mark Marker at the Chalet piano bar entertained during the Corn Palace celebration.  1967 saw the Longhorn Trio, D-M Combo, the Sophisti-kats, Swede Pierson and The Chappell Show entertaining at the Chalet. In 1968 they presented Little Miss Sharon and her country and western music.

     Fire, the great villain in many stories, was part of the Chalet’s story.  On June 16, 1975, The Village complex was destroyed by fire. The owner of the building at the time, Jack Verschoor, said that the building originally cost $300,000 and that replacement would likely be $500,000. At the time, the business was owned by a group of Mitchell businessmen.  A July 18, 1975, feature in the Daily Republic stated, “Damage to the building likely to run into the multi-millions.” The bowling alley was rebuilt by February, 1976. The Chalet and bottle shop were opened July, 1976.

     By 1989, according to the City Directory, Sneaker’s Peanut Bar is listed with the entry for The Village. Sneaker’s Peanut Bar and Thirsty’s are still located at the Village. Rita’s Café, Legend’s, and County Fair Banquet Hall have been past businesses at the Village complex.

Published in the July 29th, 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.    

Back in Time 2023

Down Town Super Service, circa 1950, located at 120 East 2nd Avenue, owned by Nelson Logan.  Originally, there was a livery stable at the corner of Second and Lawler.  The building was approximately 50’ x 100’ and faced Lawler Street.  Sometime in the 1920s the livery stable building was torn down and George Logan built a gas station and auto repair shop on the roughly 90’ x 100’ lot.  The original shop building was only 25’ deep with a private alley behind it running east to west alongside the Roxy Theater.  The gas station rented to various tenants over the years.  In 1948, Nelson Logan expanded the shop utilizing the area of the private alley.  He built 5 apartments on the second floor above the expanded shop.  At about the same time, Nelson acquired the Hudson car franchise and turned the entire building into the Hudson dealership.  This was after the war years when auto manufacturers were allowed to switch from war production back to making cars.  There was a waiting list to buy new and used cars.  Logan sold the Hudson dealership and leased the station to Milo Kelly in 1952, then Kenneth C. Lord (Down Town Cities Service) in 1955 and then Wally Meinke in 1958 . 

The front, showroom part of the building became Roxy Service, a radio and TV shop selling Dumont TV’s operated by Nelson Logan.  Logan closed Roxy Service about 1958.  Sportsman’s Barber Shop, operated by A. D. Orton was also located in the building in 1950. In 1958, the barber shop area was leased to Stewarts Beauty Shop from Sioux Falls until 1961.  Later tenants included Ilene’s Beauty Shop, Marilyn’s Designer’s Den and Showbiz Video.

The last gas station closed about 1960 and the building was used as a warehouse for the Roxy Theater until 1986 when Jeff Logan demolished it to build additional auditoriums for the Roxy Theater.  The new auditoriums survived the fire in 2001 that burned the original Roxy Theater building.  The addition became part of the new Luxury 5 Cinemas.

Published in the June 17th, 2023 Mitchell Republic.  

From the M. Strand Collection                        Linda Oster - Researcher
These Old Time Christmas cards are just a few that have been donated to the Carnegie Resource Center. On the back of the booklet there is a greeting that reads, “ Ida Strand, From Mary Hatenborg     Xmas 1907.” It contains a couple of Christmas verses and more pictures. The postcard comes from Annie to Mr. & Mrs. Strand at RFD #2 in Mitchell, SD.  The greeting is addressed to Moder & Fader. She talks about getting home without it getting any colder and that she will return some items that were left in her box. The card is dated December 20, 1909. These pieces of the past give us a glimpse into another time. We have several cards displayed for those who would like to come take a look. The volunteers at the Carnegie wish all a happy holiday season.

Published in the December 23rd, 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.

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.

Christmas decorations on the corner of Third Ave. and Main Street in 1975. On the left is the Woolworth’s (on the NE corner of the intersection) with Commercial Bank on right side of picture (SE corner of the intersection). The Commercial Bank was destroyed by fire in 1981; the building was razed in 1982. This lot is now a park. The Saterlie Drug Store was on the SW corner of the intersection. Johnson Furniture Store’s sign can be seen in the background down Third Ave to the east on Third and Lawler.

Unknown photographer – Linda Oster researcher.

Published in the December 9th, 2023 Mitchell Republic.

September 22, 1903 - Photographer unknown – Linda Oster, researcher
     This find at the Carnegie Resource Center takes us back to a Corn Palace Festival in 1903.  Parker is a community in Turner County, SD and is the county seat. It is bordered on its eastern side by SD Hwy 19, and lies 42 miles east from Parkston.
     “Parker was established in 1879 as the county seat; it was incorporated as a city in 1883.  The name Parker was the maiden name of a railroad official’s wife. … The 2010 census showed a population of 1,022 people.” They also host the oldest county fair in SD and have continued the fair since it was started in 1880. They are very proud of their history and display it along with early school houses during the fair.
     In 1903 this band was part of the celebration in Mitchell, SD known as the Corn Palace Festival. They appeared during that year with Ronda Rossa, the Third Regiment Band of Woonsocket, and the Williams Colored Quartet.  A special address was given by then Governor Herreid.
      Identification of the band members in the photo was given on July 27, 1976, by Mrs. Bert Johnson who was 84 years old at the Senior Citizens Hall in Parker, SD.  She is a daughter of J.A. Steninger.  Eddy B. Stevens was the band leader and organizer (born – October 27, 1858 – died August 5, 1924). The 1900 census says that he was a piano tuner and the SD State Census of 1905 estimates his arrival in SD in 1899. By the 1920 census, he is living in Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County, and his occupation is listed as piano and pipe organ tuner,
     The bottom section is the writing on the back of the photo. Mrs. Johnson was able to identify several of the band members. Those identified are: top row: C. Flether, Charles Goff, Ed Gothlf, Geo Sage, Ed Sage; 2nd row: L. Pier, Abney Melvin, Fred Clark; 3rd row: Roy Clark, Director E.B. Steven, JT Appleby on snare drum; 4th row: Charles Clark, Allie Lathrop, Addison Fisher. There are many blanks.  We would appreciate further identifications if anyone reading this could help.  Contact us at the Carnegie Resource Center either by phone at 605-996-3209, email at or mail 119 W 3rd Ave.  Mitchell, SD  57301.

Published in the August 5th, 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.

Unknown photographer – W line-up at a football game on Dakota Wesleyan Campus – circa 1917- Linda Oster, Researcher

The world that these students lived in was full of strife; this is the time of World War I. There are some very important historical events that happen in 1917. Following are some that are listed on the internet site, Historical Events in 1917: 17th January - The United States pays Denmark $25 million for the U.S. Virgin Islands known as Virgin Islands and take possession on 31st of March; 23rd February - German plan to get Mexican help in WW I exposed (Zimmerman telegram); 24th February - Red Sox sell Smokey Joe Wood, his arm dead at 26, to Cleveland for $15,000; 7th March -1st jazz record released on a 78 by Original Dixieland Jass Band for the Victor Talking Machine Company ("Dixie Jazz Band One Step," one side "Livery Stable Blues" other); 13th May - Three children report the first apparition of Our Lady of Fátima in Fátima, Portugal;18th May - World War I: The Selective Service Act of 1917 is passed, giving the President of the United States the power of conscription; 23rd June - In a game against the Texas Rangers (baseball) called Washington Senators, Boston Red Sox pitcher Ernie Shore retires 26 batters in a row after replacing Babe Ruth, who had been ejected for punching the Umpire (baseball) known as umpire; 26th June - The first U.S. troops arrive in France to fight alongside United Kingdom named Britain and France against Germany in World War I; 28th August - Ten Suffragettes are arrested while picketing the White House; 7th October - First British bombing of Germany in World War I;  6th December - World War I: USS Jacob Jones DD-61 6 is the first American destroyer to be sunk by enemy action when it is torpedoed by German submarine ship SM U-53; 7th December - World War I: The United States declares war on Austria-Hungary. With all the fighting around the world, it is good to see this peaceful, fun-loving scene on campus.

Published in the September 16th, 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.

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.

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

Postcard of Jean Geyerman - 1911 – Linda Oster Researcher

     Our postcard is labeled Jean Geyerman on the back.  It appears that the attraction of having your picture taken in a fake hot air balloon was all the rage. We have a few other postcards with different people in photos taken in that same basket.
    A September 27, 1911, newspaper story claims that excursion trains brought over 3,000 people to the city for the exposition.   Another article on September 22, 1911, listed special days set aside for certain towns and organizations to be honored. The article went on to say that the Milwaukee, Omaha and North-Western railroads had special trains running from as far away as the Black Hills. Rates to ride to Mitchell were one fare for a round-trip ticket.
      Rain was an issue, but did not stop the crowds from coming. It was reported that most tried to stay on the sidewalks as the street was muddy – Main Street had not been paved yet and this muddy mess helped progress the idea that it was a job that the city must do. Road conditions for automobiles coming into the city were pretty awful as most roads were dirt.
      A souvenir program from the thirteenth Annual Mitchell Corn Belt Exposition says, “Held in honor of His Majesty, KING CORN.”  The celebration was held from September 25th to the 30th. The decorations were “Egyptian in character” with Floyd Gillis the designer of both the exterior and interior of the building. Yes, it is the same person who was attending the medical department of the college at Ann Arbor, Michigan. The program listed ads from corsets, pianos, photographers, seed dealers to Val Blatz Brewing Co’s. Milwaukee Lager Beer.  Included were the variety of performers and kinds of entertainment. 
     Advertising for the exposition added pennants on automobiles and motorcycles.  An effort was made to attend other cities’ celebrations with banners to advertise, gain support and possible audiences for the exposition. Fourteen counties had booths to exhibit the products grown in those counties.
     Two shows were given each day and each show was different even if some of the same performers were presenting. In addition to the Ellery Band of Syracuse, N.Y., the Redfield Band and Orchestra were engaged along with several other bands for the street; Bayne Young - Baritone Soloist and Tom Wallace Tenor Soloist also added to the week’s entertainment.  The total cost of the musical and theatrical attractions was $6,168.  After expenses, there was a cash balance on hand of $2,800.

Published in the August 12th, 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

Circa 1930's   This postcard shows Lakeshore Drive on the east side Lake Mitchell.  The intake tower is visible and the original spillway can be seen in the upper right of the photo behind the tree in the foreground.  A sliver of Highway 37 is also visible.  When the new horseshoe spillway was constructed in the 40’s, this road was changed and no road crossed the new spillway.

Published in the June 10th, 2023 Mitchell Republic.

Leeland photographer – 1929 Corn Palace Festival – Linda Oster Researcher
     Leeland puts a small message on his photo of North Main looking south; “The last week in September, That’s easy to remember.”  The 1929 Corn Palace Festival was held September 22nd through the 28th.  This was earlier than normal hoping for better weather conditions. However, mother nature had her way and the festival was hit with rain and colder temperatures. Lower attendance resulted in lower profits. On October 1, 1929, the Evening Republican reported that total receipts of the show amounted to $24,040 which was $7,800 below 1928 figures. The profit for 1928 was $5,167.58. Operated at a loss in 1929.
     The most visible businesses in this photo are located on the east side of the 400 block of North Main.  According to a 1930 business district directory, those businesses would include: Mitchell Hardware at 400 N. Main; Coxe Printing Co. at 404; Gurney Co. at 406 along with the Singer Sewing Center; North Western Public Service at 410.  The Elk’s building sat at the end of the block (424) and is not visible in the photo.  The Gurney Company advertised this store as a general merchandise store selling clothing, foods, guns, tires and tubing, and radios among other items. They also had a greenhouse business and fresh flowers could be purchased at the main location. Northwestern Public Service was the headquarters for Hot Point appliances. Corn Palace week gave the business an opportunity to have a sale. For example, waffle irons normally priced at $11.50 sold for $8.50 and a $5 electric toaster or iron would sell for $3.95.
     Designs on the Corn Palace centered around the 50th anniversary of the city of Mitchell.  Seventy people were employed to get the Palace ready for the festival. Designer, W.M. Kearney pictured the progress in Mitchell and Davison County from the time when Indians roamed the plains to 1929. The panels on the south side told the story of Davison County starting in 1870 with an Indian chief pointing to the west. Other panels showed a wigwam and a sod shanty with the first settler in 1879. A farm scene with few trees, a farm more developed with wheat stacks, a modern farm with an airplane in the sky were the topics of other panels.
     Entertainment at the Palace showcased many females.  The Campus Cuties and Shuron DeVries Dancing Troupe were featured. The Campus Cuties were a group of 25 young dancing women who exhibited much energy in their performances.  The Fourteen Brick Tops, an all-girl, red-headed jazz and dance group were described as “fiery flappers, personifying flaming youth in its whoopiest moments.”  Cowboy Comedians and the “finest of all big time vaudeville” rounded out the entertainment.

Published in the August 26th, 2023 Mitchell Republic.

     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.

Photo from DWU Archives - unknown date –
Dakota Wesleyan University’s first Blue and White Day, held Oct. 18, 1913, bore little resemblance to DWU’s present-day homecoming week September 11-17, 2023. Also called “Class Day” and “College Day,” the first Blue and White Day was created by then-President William G. Seaman in an effort to end the “class scraps” between the college classes – particularly the freshmen and sophomores – which were increasingly bitter and sometimes resulted in injury. The only football game that year was between the freshmen and sophomores. Other events included a basketball game between the juniors and seniors, a cane rush between the classes in DWU’s preparatory school (high school), and class stunts performed in the chapel that evening. In succeeding years, other events were added, including an all-student snake dance, obstacle race, the popular tug-of-war, and musical entertainment. Intercollegiate football was added in 1916. In the 1920s, alumni were invited home, and Blue and White Day became homecoming. This early Blue and White Day photo was taken from the south side of the DWU campus, looking north toward Mitchell. Behind the senior and sophomore girls’ band are Science Hall to the left and College Hall to the right.

Published in the September 9, 2023 Mitchell Republic.