Monday, September 22, 2014

Railroading highlights the fall meeting of LCHS

by Larry Miller

Reed Richards
More than 50 people gathered yesterday (9/21/14) at the Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center in Deadwood for the fall meeting of the Lawrence County Historical Society.  Balmy weather, a program about railroading in Lawrence County, and another fine lunch catered by Cheyenne Crossing's Stage-Stop Cafe combined to lure one of the larger turnouts in recent memory. Guest speaker for the event was railroad historian Reed Richards  of Spearfish.

Richards gave a photographic tour of railroad history in the county, sharing a myriad of photographs that depict the important role that the rail industry played in the growth and development of the northern Black Hills — particularly as it related to mining.

Born in Deadwood in 1944, railroading seems to have been a life-long passion for Richards, and he recalled youthful activities that exposed him to the many rail routes, depots, bridges, and other infrastructure that once abounded throughout the area.  An attorney, Richards left the region for schooling and a stint in Sioux Falls because of his father's job in 1975, but otherwise has lived in Lawrence County all of his life.

Black Hills & Ft. Pierre train in Elk Canyon
"I've lived in Centennial Prairie since 1975…and still do some legal work, if my client can find me and it's the kind of work that I still want to do," he says.  "I enjoy putting up hay in the summer and studying history and archaeology in the winter."  And his lingering passion for railroad history is quite evident.

His extensive collection of railroad photos spurred much conversation among the attendees. From rail route maps, mines and old bridges to depots and roundhouses, there were dozens of photos that kept most of the group focused on the screen throughout his presentation.  Find a few more photos related to this presentation in our LCHS Gallery.

President Norma Kraemer took a few moments to unveil the new LCHS booklet  Town Timelines of Lawrence County, South Dakota.  The publication has been compiled under the auspices of the Lawrence County Historical Society as part of celebrating South Dakota's 125 Anniversary of Statehood this year.  Mary Gallup-Livingston of Whitewood has served as chairperson of the committee that has worked on the project. 

LCHS "Town Timelines" booklet
The Town Timelines booklet includes information and photos from Central City, Deadwood, Lead, Nemo, St. Onge, Spearfish, and Whitewood. Among those participating in production of the booklet were Rocky Mattson, Donna Watson, Mary Livingston, Cynthia Harlan, Jean Martin, Don Toms, Norma Kraemer, Jeannine Guern, and Joanna Jones.

The booklets have been distributed free of charge to the public libraries in Deadwood, Lead, Spearfish, and Whitewood.  Also, copies have been given to the elementary schools in Whitewood, Lead-Deadwood, and Spearfish, where South Dakota history is taught in 4th Grade.  Individuals interested in purchasing a copy of the booklet should contact the Lawrence County Historical Society.  The cost for the booklets is $15.00 each.  Send an  e-mail to Town Timelines