Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hidden treasure: Terry school photo

Undated school photograph believed to be from Terry, South Dakota.
Over the past several days, members of the Lawrence County Historical Society have been completing an inventory of a couple of filing cabinets containing old society financial records, manuscripts, audio tapes, photographs, and sundry other materials.

Among the treats we came across was this undated school photograph.  On the back of the photo was written Terry school children and teachers.  Terry has been a subject of much discussion lately, so we thought you might be interested in this photo.

Even better, we're hopeful that someone may recognize the photo -- perhaps have a better copy of it.  Best of all, perhaps we could date and begin identifying some of the people in the photo.

Visit our LCHS Gallery for a higher resolution version of the above photograph, along with numerous other photos related to the history of Lawrence County.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Plight of Terry Cemetery garners statewide interest

It's not a "done deal," but the historic Terry Cemetery appears to have dodged the bullet -- at least for the moment.  The 1.3 acre cemetery is within an expansion area that Wharf Resources hopes to mine for gold over the next few years. 

The South Dakota Board of Minerals and Environment last Thursday (3/17/11) voted to include the cemetery on a list of "Special, Exceptional, Critical or Unique Lands," effectively protecting the cemetery from disturbance by Wharf -- at least until the Board makes a final determination, and that decision may not come for several months.

The cemetery lies adjacent to State Highway 473 about three miles west of Lead on the way to the Terry Peak Lodge and Wharf Resources, but it is hidden from motorists by a wooded hill.

Wharf's plans have attracted considerable media attention, and a story written by veteran capitol reporter Bob Mercer has found ink across the state from Aberdeen and Mitchell to Pierre and Spearfish.

One of the more recent stories regarding the embattled cemetery appeared in the Pierre Capitol Journal last Friday (3/18/11), and you can read it here.  The story was headlined,  "Wharf Official says Terry Cemetery won't be mined."

Friday, March 11, 2011

Terry, South Dakota -- an early view

The following article was originally posted on Black Hills Journal, a web site dealing with both contemporary and historic aspects of the Black Hills region.

Undated view of Terry, South Dakota
With all the talk lately about the Terry Cemetery, which appears threatened by the planned expansion of gold mining near Terry Peak, we thought it might be of interest to post this photograph from the Lawrence County Historical Society archives.

The undated image -- probably taken at the dawn of the 20th century --  contains considerable detail. It is simply labeled "Terry." As can be seen, Terry was a formidable community, reliant upon the mining industry.  Some of the old  gold mining operations of an earlier era can be seen to the left in the photo.  That's probably the main operation of the Golden Reward Mining Company, which was easily the biggest business in Terry.

Terry was also a stop on the Burlington rail line.

Calamity Jane
In her book Roadside History of South Dakota, author Linda Hasselstrom wrote that  Terry was "home to a thousand people in 1893" and was one of the larger communities of Lawrence County.

If you click on the town photo above, you'll see a larger image, and you'll be able to more clearly see details of the old town, including the steeple of a church climbing skyward in the upper right quadrant.

By most accounts, Martha Jane Cannary -- better known as Calamity Jane -- died in 1903 at the Calloway  Hotel in Terry.  She was 51 years old.   Apparently Jane had requested that she be buried in Deadwood near Wild Bill Hickok, which is exactly what happened.

Some reckon that Hickok probably wouldn't have been too keen on that arrangement.  But for Calamity Jane, it was probably just as well.  Otherwise, she might have been buried in Terry, meaning that she could be uprooted anyway, if Wharf Resources chooses to go after the gold they believe is underneath the old Terry Cemetery.

Terry Cemetery
Disturbing the old cemetery at THAT is something many folks might consider a real calamity.

There are at least 120 souls who "went to their final resting place" at Terry Cemetery.  Although less than a couple of hundred yards away from Nevada Gulch Road (State Highway 473), the cemetery is hidden by a steep hill that runs adjacent to the busy road.  Workers on their way home from a day at Wharf Resources -- and skiers on their way to Terry Peak Lodge -- are likely oblivious to the existence of this historic little cemetery.

If you have information or photos about the old town of Terry that you'd like to contribute, please contact us at Black Hills Journal.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Something "fishy" in Spearfish?

Perhaps one of most overlooked historic sites in the beautiful Black Hills is nestled in a small canyon on the south side of Spearfish.

The D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery has been a city landmark for more than 110 years.  Created in 1896, the facility was a very successful fish production sites – one of the earliest in the west.

It started hatching fish in 1899 and remained true to its mission “to propagate, stock, and establish trout populations in the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming." For many years, the old Spearfish National Fish Hatchery was headquarters for federal hatchery operations across much of the western United States.

Members of the Spearfish Area Historical Society learned all about the historic hatchery last night (2/1/11) at the March meeting of the society at the Spearfish Senior Citizen’s Center.

Despite bitter cold temperatures, a good crowd was on hand to hear hatchery curator  Randi Smith talk about the early days of the hatchery, as well as a few tips about preserving documents and photogrphs. 

Smith, shown at left, has been at the fish facility since 1992, but she nearly missed her career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  She was a math major at the University of California-Davis when she became involved with the Antique Mechanics Club.  She ended up with a degree in history and a job as an interpretive historian in California State Parks.  That was followed by a 15-year-stint as curator at the Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site in Montana, which she says is “one of the most intact historic sites around.”  At D.C. Booth, she takes care of the museum, house, exhibits, research, and the museum collection and archives.

Smith traced the origin of U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service (USF&WS) back to 1871, when it was known as the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries – or simply the “Fish Commission.”  Its first leader was Spencer Fullerton Baird, who also served simultaneously as Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.

The first superintendent of the Spearfish hatchery was DeWitt Clinton (D.C.) Booth.  A large, two-story house was built for the Booth family in 1905, and it remains an inviting landmark on the hatchery grounds.

“By the late 1970’s, the Fish and Wildlife Service started putting the first museum collections at Spearfish,” said Smith.  “They recognized that they were accumulating historical items across the country – books, equipment, pictures, including a time capsule and other artifacts from the Hotchkiss National Fish Hatchery at Leadville, Colorado.”

In 1982, the Museum and Visitor Center opened, and the historical collections “really took off,” according to Smith.  The following year, the McNenny National Fish Hatchery just northwest of Spearfish was turned over to the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks.  While D.C. Booth Historic National Fish hatchery continued to rear fish that were hatched at McNenny, the Booth facility began to focus more on history.  It became a center for the collection of historic fisheries material from across the country, as well as the history of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In addition to the many exhibits and historical items open to the public, Smith estimated that there are “about 175,000” items in storage that have come from across the region and the country.

“In the 1990’s, funding was received to construct an archive building, formally named the Collection Management Facility,” says Smith.   The collection includes materials from both public and private entities, including items from tribal governments.  While the original collection focused on hatchery items, it has been expanded to include anything related to fisheries.  Hatchery offices are also in the building.

Smith expressed the desire that many of the records and photographs at D.C. Booth be scanned and be made available to the public via the internet.

Touching a bit upon archival methods, Smith shared a number of hints that people can use to avoid damaging old photographs and documents.  Using acid-free paper and folders is important, as is shying away from products that contain adhesives – including rubber bands.

Pointing out that volunteers play a critical role in the operation of the historic hatchery, Smith took a moment to recognize several hatchery volunteers who were in the audience. You can learn more about the D. C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery by visiting this link at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.