Monday, December 29, 2008

Military Humor

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Past - "You're going to shoot your eye out kid!!"


1940 Montgomery Ward Winter Catalog courtesy Joel baumwool

Who remembers Red Rider, the famous BB gun, Ralphie, and the sight/taste of Red Lifeboy Soap?

Wow, $2.95 was big money in the 1940s. A thoughtful Santa Uncle Gordon gave me one and I had years of fun with it until it went to Toy Heaven. It was the last present of Christmas and was hidden behind the davenport. 6mm lead BBs are now plastic in many colors and sell for around $5/1000. The Red Rider BB guns are still available new for around $40 and kid's eyes are still at risk.

Photo Credit Jim Veitl

This 1945 picture is Dale Allen, Me and Jim Veitl. Our other companion, not shown, was Jim's dog Nugget a white and brown spotted water spaniel. He was over barking in a barrel. The more he barked the more it rang his ears and that made him bark more. We were a nerdy bunch and hardly smarter than Nugget.

We all had BB guns and enjoyed playing war games on the hills surrounding Deadwood 4thWard, Wabash and Rodenhaus Streets. Many days we would trek to Devil's Cave to drink ice cold water squirting out of a pipe leak from a near by spring. Sometimes we would work up our courage and venture into the spooky cave but didn't always have a flash light. We usually had our guns in case of trouble. High on a far away hill, we could see Angel's Cave from a certain outcropping above Devil's Cave. We never were able to find its entrance.

Jim's Dad Albert was always around telling us interesting stories, encouraging our daily projects, and hill side adventures. Albert was an engineer with a keen mind for technology and life in general. Both Dale and I become engineers, so he must have planted seeds for our careers. I think he did and I remember him often. Sadly, Albert died not many years after this Brownie Camera picture.

We also spent a lot of time laying on the hill side in the sun and watching the clouds roll past. Nugget was always with us where ever we went. Those were golden Deadwood years and memories for us.

The Christmas House still lives . . . select the word link!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

1920 ~ Two Wagner Girls Pose a Horse Drawn Passenger Wagon in front of the Fish & Hunter Warehouse

Select on image for large picture view, press browser back arrow to return.

Bill Beshara DHS55 says his picture is from around 1920. It shows Loretta DHS32 and Florence Wagner DHS30.  Loretta later became Mrs. Fred Gravelle and they ran Merritt's Grocery at 93 Sherman Street for years.  Florence was a long time stenographer for the Adams Brothers Wholesale.

The Wagner girl's Father Chalk Wagner and Deadwood Benefactor W. E. Adams were both inducted by the Deadwood Historical Preservation Committee into the 2008 Deadwood Wall of Fame.  A posting of these two men's achievements and contributions to Deadwood is in the works.  The Wagner Grand Daughter Sandy Gravelle Beshara DHS57  attended the dedication with her family members.

In terms of mode of transportation, notice the contrasting motor vehicle in background.  Deadwood has always been progressive. Two years after Alexander Bell's telephone patent, the Black Hills Telephone Company opened operations in Deadwood in 1878. It was an historic event since it was also the first telephone exchange in the territory and it came into existence the same year that the first commercial switchboard was placed in operation in faraway New Haven, Connecticut, demonstrating that the metropolis of the Black Hills was a progressive as the older Eastern community.  Paul Rewman, manager for the Black Hills Telephone Co. was the company's first resident and business subscriber.  There were 14 telephones in operation in Deadwood by December of 1879 (from editor Bob Lee's "Gold-Gals-Guns-Guts").   Annie Talent is recognized as the first white woman to enter the Black Hills/Deadwood region with the 1874 Gordon-Russell expedition.  She wrote about the telegraph reaching Deadwood in 1876.  The telegraph provided infastructure that accomodated the early arrival of the telephone. 
In 1879 most of the Deadwood Main Street business section burned and or was torn down.  It was rebuilt then ravaged by a flood in 1883 which also destroyed the main school located by Whitewood Creek.  Deadwood progressively rebuilt more fireproof/floodprotected and recovered again.  The current school building location is on higher ground and all the ward schools were combined into the new building location.  The DHS Cannon arrived from the US War Department and was installed in front of new school in 1899.  It remains in its original location aimed down Pine Street.  Annie Talent died in 1901 but she was very active in Pennington County education management but was unpopular in contemporary views of Indian rights support.  So you wonder what positive infulence she played in the development of the Deadwood Schools and their excellent reputation, facilities, faculty, staff, administrators, and students.

Deadwood High School and Grade School ceased to exist in 1972 when it was merged into the Lead School District.  The 1924 brick Deadwood School building remains today like proponent Dr. Howe envisioned as Deadwood Mayor.  The 1902/1904 portion of original building site that housed the high school study hall was destroyed by children arsonists in 1987.  The brick building inside is still familiar, very clean with school odor that brings back fond memories.  It is only a middle school now. The school district is considering making the the whole facility surplus at a consultant's study suggestion.  This could mean "The Home of Deadwood High School" building might become another historic building converted to gambling.

A closing comment on the wagon picture above, the almost never changing old  Homestake Slime Plant 1906 is in the far background.  But true to the progressive Deadwood spirit it is being remade into the Deadwood Mountain Grand Hotel and Casino.  See following video of progress:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Jon Crane and Black Hills Historical Preservation Trust Join Forces to Save the Meeker Ranch and other Historic Black Hills Sites

Shown is Jon Crane's image of Meeker Ranch (left select for larger image and return arrow to return to dhsclassates).

The famous Black Hills artist Jon Crane is working hard to save the historic Meeker Ranch. For more information and images select on the text links Meeker Ranch and Jon Crane's special project  .

Jon Crane's art captures the US Heartland Legacy and remains a favorite of many of us for years.  His private studio is still near Hill City.  His original gallery in Hill City has changed to private ownership and that includes the resident kitty.   Jon now only sells to selected art gallery dealers across the country.

In his early days Jon also did art lessons.  My Mother took lessons from him.  She kept Jon's style and left us some family heritage art work of her own.  One special is the Person Ranch homestead cabin.  The cabin was built and settled by my wife's grandparents.  It was destroyed years ago but the cabin foundation still exists on the road from Hill City to Moon SD.

The Deadwood Magazine also has more detail in its November 2008 issue.

On December 8, 2008, Jon Crane sent the following comment:  

"Good to hear from you.  I certainly remember your Mother.  I believe she also took a workshop that I gave in Spearfish.  The links on your blog look great.  We appreciate your help in getting the word out on the Meeker Ranch.  It is a wonderful place that really needs to be preserved.  We have joined forces with a group that is saving the Gold Mountain Mine outside Hill City to form the Black Hills Historical Preservation Trust.  We will keep you updated.

Thanks for your support,
Jon Crane"

Monday, December 1, 2008

Jim Hutcherson DHS55 Passes Away

Jim's image from DHS Bear Log 1955

Jim was born Sept. 26, 1937 at  Fort MeadeSD to Lt. AC and Marjorie (Gailey) Hutcherson. He was raised in Deadwood. Graduated fromDeadwood High School in 1955. Married Katherine White in Deadwood 1957 Moved to California the same year. He was employed by the State of California for forty-two years in three departments. His last position was as Systems Analyst for twenty-two years at the Teale Data Processing Center until he retired in 2003. They have a son, a daughter, a grandson, two granddaughters and two step-granddaughters.

Personal comments:

Unfortunately he didn't keep in touch with any classmates. Jim thought we had excellent teachers. He talked most about Mr. Horsfall, Coach Ferguson. Miss Jensen and Mr.Krug.
Jim loved to watch football. While our children were studying for their degrees at 
Cal they were in the marching band. He enjoyed getting his two for one, watching the kids and football on the same day.

See comments for contact info.