Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Velma Tapken Comment

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "George Tapken Dies After Sudden Illness":

I don't know how many of George's classmates check out this site article but I would like to wish you all a
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Best wishes
Velma Tapken

Ho Ho HO!!

I send the best Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year wishes to all my dhsclassmates viewers.

In 2010, I plan to keep the dhsclassmates web site article base and focus the same as in the past. However, from time to time I will add new interesting articles that are outside of Deadwood, the Black Hills, and South Dakota. I may add general photos of my own and of other talented photographer web friends. I also hope to encourage more guest contributors.

I appreciate your feedback and ideas. Just email me when you have time.

In the 2009 review, you all know that the most extensive article I have published is the web linked Tribute to Deadwood's Mattie Hill. Luckily, I was blessed with a lot of professional and personal help. Dr. Lilah Morton Pengra was the driving force that made the article possible. She and our delightful friends Clifford & Georgia Melrose (Mattie Hill's Grandson) joined with me to sign and nominate Mattie Hill to the Deadwood Wall of Fame. Mattie's nomination form was accepted by the City of Deadwood Preservation Officer, Kevin Kuchenbecker. The Deadwood Historic Preservation Committee passed the nomination to the Wall of Fame Committee for review around this coming June 2010. On receiving the nomination, there were a few committee member comments, mostly negative.

The dhsclassmates' challenge for 2010 is to ensure that Mattie Hill's Deadwood Wall of Fame nomination receives full and fair consideration. We are not sure that the nomination consideration is a transparent process. As you know, Mattie was a private person in life but she freely helped the whole Deadwood Community, her whole life. Not many know during Mattie's time in Deadwood, the KKK was a powerful and vengeful force against the Lead Catholic Miners and any person of color. There were 3000 Klan members in SD in the 1920s. The largest Klan rally ever held in the USA was held in the Centennial Valley. So wisely, but sadly, Mattie did not attract attention to herself and her life long Deadwood community good deeds and caring. Mattie did in deed bring color to the Deadwood community in many ways.

Note: Currently there are around 3400 viewers that follow dhsclassmates web site. That exceeds over twice the population of the current Deadwood town.

~~~ In the interest of importance, I am showing Kevin Kuchenbecker's comment to this article both as text and site comment. I appreciate his comment and interest.

Kevin wrote

"On behalf of the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission, I can assure you that the Wall of Fame Nomination which was presented for consideration will be reviewed closely with all other nominations for this recognition program.

The Commission will select two nominees for the 2010 Wall of Fame program. Any nominee not selected in 2010 will be held over for consideration in the future. No pre-selection has been discussed nor will be as official action of the Commission.

The Commission, in my opinion, did not make any negative remarks or actions regarding this nomination. All nominations are important and worthy of review and consideration.

Kevin Kuchenbecker, Historic Preservation Officer"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Marcia Kay Whitelock reports Deadwood 20 Year Anniversary of Legalized Gambling

THE OREGONIAN, Travel, Sun Nov 29 GAMBLING REVIVAL KEEPS DEADWOOD LIVELY (Chet Brokaw) Marcia Kay Whitelock DHS54 wrote "nice pix of Bodega side of Main Street and the article is a winner!".

For compete newspaper article see http://www.oregonlive.com/travel/index.ssf/2009/11/gambling_revival_keeps_deadwoo.html

Monday, November 16, 2009

All Kids seem to love mud holes!!

Click "start" triangle to see video

The video source is unknown but appears to be in public domain. In any case, it is too good not to share.

DickD Note: I am going to add other things of general interest from time to time. All Deadwood is too dreary and too focused. Leave comment below as an anonymous comment with or without using your name. You can also send me an email.

I would really like to have feed back and suggestions. Thank You!!

Deadwood Infrastructure Business Falters and Will Close ~ by Tim Velder LCJ Staff

Economic Development director expects grocery to close this month

Article/picture by Tim Velder, Lawrence County Journal staff | Monday, November 16, 2009

Lead-Deadwood Economic Development director Chuck Turbiville is prepared for the worst when it comes to the fate of the lone grocery store in Deadwood.

He said the owners of the Blondies IGA store on Sherman Street plan to continue with a shutdown schedule to result in closure at the end of November.

The owners announced their plans to close the store in late October, but they were willing to talk about some rescue possibilities.

Turbiville, who oversees the lease of the city-owned building to the owners, said a move to cut the lease payments in half and offers to invest money for weatherization and efficient heating systems wasn't enough to bring the store's expenses in line with revenue.

Turbiville is now making plans to secure a federal grant to pay for weatherization and upgrades to the heating system. He is also engaged in informal talks with other business interests who might be interested in occupying the building for undisclosed ventures.

The store opened two years ago after Decker's Food Pride pulled out in the summer of 2007. The city of Deadwood purchased the building with the intentions of restoring a retail grocery business in the building. It was previously a Safeway store.

Turbiville said recessionary conditions have hampered the store's ability to draw customers.

There is a Lynn's Dakota Mart grocery store three miles away in Lead, Howdy's in Whitewood, and a Wal-Mart Supercenter, Safeway and Lueders in Spearfish. ~~~These are impossible walking distances.~~~

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Lodge At Deadwood opens soon

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The newest lodge in Deadwood is now taking reservations. It will offer expanded banquet and meeting room accomodations which are sorely needed in Deadwood. They also have an indoor water park that accommodates kids.

The Lodge is located on Deadwood Hill across the highway from the Costner properties. See The Lodge at Deadwood for complete information and specials.

The Lodge solves the parking space problem of the classic Deadwood businesses. Handicapped parking should not be a problem either.

See the Lodge at Deadwood on Facebook, they welcome your comments.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Old and New

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Deadwood one of 2009 Prettiest Towns in USA by Forbes Traveler

See Forbes Traveler for more details and other towns.

Deadwood just seems to keep reinventing itself, native citizens fade away and old buildings find new use.  Can you just imagine the Deadwood School Building remodeled into another gambling establishment? 

The Lead-Deadwood School District has a study result that says they should surplus the Deadwood School Building and sell it.

After 85 years. I don't think the original leading supporter, Dr. Howe, would approve selling this cherished school building.


At least we have plaque on the front entrance stairway that denotes
the "Home of the Deadwood High School"!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Buster the Raptor Counting Doggie

Recently it was Buster the Buffalo and his herd on the Frawley Ranch. Today it is Buster the really fine Raptor Counting Doggie. 

Read this interesting newspaper article details with more pictures about this neat Raptor Migration Counting Effort !

Images and article credit to Wenatchee World Newspaper

George S. Moses the Black Hills Storyteller and Historian

George S. Moses was a long time Deadwood resident for the greater part of his 83 year life. He was the oldest son of immigrant parents and came to Deadwood when he was in the 4th grade. During his youth he had to work to earn enough money for food. Life was hard in those days. His parents most of the time lived apart from each other. Each day for him and them was a fight for survival. From those humble beginnings and survival George developed a keen sense of life and events around him. For over 50 years he worked as self employed tailor. He was self made man and graduated from the American Gentlemen School of Tailors in New York City as a cutter and clothing designer. Working his early Deadwood days for Sidney Jacobs, owner of the Hub Clothing Store was the biggest professional learning experience in his life. In later years, Moses had a prominent tailor shop off the lobby of the Franklin Hotel. A lot of history evolved in that hotel lobby in those days. George was there to observe and took part in the happenings. His interest in Deadwood and Black Hills history fueled his memory as a storyteller.

After the peak years of Deadwood being a thriving Black Hills business center, in the 1940s and 1950s, the infrastructure businesses began to fade and move away. The railroads abandoned Deadwood, gambling was outlawed and prostitution was closed down. Since 1876 Deadwood had survived many devastating fires, mass illnesses, frequent major floods, and many decades of fire resistant rebuilding methods on high ground. But the business heart of Deadwood nearly quit beating. In 1976, the entire city of Deadwood was designated as a national historic landmark. Then in 1986, legalized gambling paved the way for Deadwood to reinvent itself with a facade of gambling business in the remodeled historic buildings and town area. By this time, almost all Deadwood infrastructure business was gone. George Moses and wife Nathelle moved to Rapid City. In January of 2002, the Homestake Gold Mine finally shut down after more than 125 years of continuous operation.

In Rapid City, George started a new career as a history contributor for the Rapid City Journal and his column was well received. In the spirit of Camille Yuill of the Deadwood Pioneer Times (27 Lee Street), they both lived and reported history from their view point. George was a storyteller and Camille was a brilliant reporter of her contemporary times. Camille was my boss when I had my paper route down Lee Street, up Sherman Street, Charles Street and above. She would sit at her roll top desk and stare off into space when she was writing. Camille was a smoker and the cigarette would dangle on her meaty lips. She could develop the longest ash, one can imagine, before it would fall down her ample front. I liked it best when she did not notice me because she often chewed on my ass about some delivery complaint or that I owed money for my papers. In those days, the customer was always right and a telephone call always rated a 10 (I believe that these phone calls were part of how Camille kept a finger on the pulse of Deadwood). However, for me it was hard to find many people home when I tried to collect. My first delivery was to Old John Sohn, the shoe cobbler. His Lee Street cabin shop was leaning on the PT building. It never changed and it looked original old Deadwood inside and out and he never had a telephone in the shop. He was always quiet but friendly. He once told me he made boots for Wild Bill and Calamity Jane. All he would say was they were not nice people and the old days were bad times. I should have accurately recorded what little he told me, but I didn't. Looking back, his timeline is questionable but who cares . . . he was a real Deadwood pioneer and lived in its founding days. John was always prompt to pay me. I had a credit account at Fish and Hunter so I could get candy and energy to deliver papers (I think Bill Mays the grocery manager had my slips in his personal drawer, who else would give candy credit to a 12 year old?). It seemed like all the route money I could ever collect just covered my papers from Camille and the F&H candy account. Luckily, I didn't eat much candy as Swander's Bakery was across the street from F&H and my dad managed the old bakery at 97 Sherman Street. A sack of fresh hot doughnuts eaten sitting on the RR tracks behind the bakery would supply plenty of juice to go quite a ways!

Anyway, back to George Moses. Shortly before he died in 1995 in an accident while fishing alone on Rapid Creek, my wife wrote him about his recollection of her dad "Lefty". Hank "Lefty" Person was hired by Carlton Gorder to move to Deadwood in the 1930s to play semi-profession baseball and be a First National Bank teller. George wrote a very nice letter response on his old upright typewriter. He was very cordial in his memory of Lefty and what a kind man he was. Lefty was a pitcher on the 1934 Deadwood Champion Baseball Team. George noted in that year Babe Ruth traveled to Deadwood for gambling and sport... However, Babe's "sport" did include an exhibition game with the Deadwood Champs. Baseball was very serious in those days and involved a lot of local support/emotions and betting was usually fierce. In those otherwise quiet days in Deadwood, Lefty would walk to the bank from his Charles Street house next to Beshara's Super Market. He would stop downtown at Ewing's Barber Shop on the corner of Main Street and Lee Street. Each day Lefty would get a shave and a shoe shine. Hair cuts were as needed. The morning scene at Ewing's offered the news of the day and sports reports. Deadwood was a close knit business town and everyone knew each other and were friends. Before he died, Bill Ewing had a high quality image print made for my wife of the 1934 Champs showing her dad Lefty and 12 other prominent Deadwood names like Clancy, Rakestraw, Slott, Gorum, Stevens, Arnold, Goodrich, Kniss, Ewing, Theilan, Pierson, and Whalen.

Personally, I knew George well as I was a bell hop at the Franklin Hotel for a few years. George's shop was next to check-in counter so he could see everything that happened. He would stand outside his shop door and wait for Charley Klein to make his morning appearance. Charley had a Fleetwood Cadillac and always aimed at the loading area in front of the Franklin. He would leave the back end sticking into the Main Street traffic lane. Charley was a gruff exterior person and owned to the local movie chain. He had a Black Hills Amusement Company office in the hotel so nobody messed with his parking or the car. He would briskly come thru the lobby revolving door and look for George. Immediately he would shake his fist in George's direction and yell " . . . George, you S O B !!" and George would yell something back as they would meet face to face and go have coffee in hotel cafe. They would come later as nothing ever happened . . . it was just their expressive way of being close friends. It was funny to watch people's shocked faces at all the yelling. It didn't happen all the time but frequently.

In 1991 the Rapid City Journal published the George Moses book "Those Good Old Days in the Black Hills". The book is a compiled set of George's unique memories that include Deadwood's characters and history. It is out of print now but a few copies remain available for those readers interested in George Moses’ storytelling and neat recalled history. See Amazon.com and AbeBooks.com. George was in the US Navy and is buried at the Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis SD.

Note in George's image, the sign over his head is from his original tailor shop in the Franklin Hotel.
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George S.Moses 1912 - 1995

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Frawley Ranch Development - Elkhorn Ridge Golf Estates

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This impressive new development called Elkhorn Ridge Golf Estates is situated on the historic Frawley Ranch. The Ranch is approximately 4,500 acres with 2,800 set aside as a conservation easement. It is near I-90, Exit 17 and close to Deadwood and Spearfish.

The Elkhorn Ridge development is approximately 1,000 acres - 400 is dedicated to open space and the golf course, the remaining 600 acres is master planned for housing, commercial and office uses.

Every feature of the property has been designed with the greatest attention to detail with their objective being to consider the needs of the entire regional community as well as respect their stewardship of this magnificent natural landscape in the Centennial Valley.

For more details click => Elkhorn Ridge Golf Estates

Hank and Molly are still living on their portion of the Frawley Ranch. They are very active and are now proud new grandparents!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Gail Williamson and Pat Biggs pose with Hickok at 2009 DHS Dinner

Photo courtesy Larry and Shirley Rounsevell

Wild Bill Hickok greeted many during the DHS Dinner, Sepember 12, 2009 held at the Deadwood Social Club, Saloon #10. In this picture Hickok poses with sisters Gail Williamson and Pat Williamson Biggs. Afterwards he joined their table for a longer conversation.

There will be more pictures in the future . . .

"Amazing Grace" by R. Carlos Nakai

The music featured on web site "J'ellen in the Black Hills" is world famous flute player R.Carlos Hakai. He is of Navajo-Ute heritage, Nakai is the world’s premier performer of the Native American flute. He began his musical studies on the trumpet, but a car accident ruined his embouchure. His musical interests took a turn when he was given a traditional cedar flute as a gift and challenged to master it. As an artist, he is an adventurer and risk taker, always giving his musical imagination free rein. Nakai is also an iconoclastic traditionalist who views his cultural heritage not only as a source and inspiration, but also a dynamic continuum of natural change, growth, and adaptation subject to the artist’s expressive needs.

Native Americans can be innovative and talented artists. I recently heard an amazingly beautiful hand flute of Jessie Lucas (WA Snoqualmie Indian Tribe). In the picture, Jessie is teaching my grandson's teacher Mrs. Williams how to do a hand flute. It is very difficult to do but with practice and ability the sound is similar to Nakai's sound. The Snoqualmie Tribe regards Snoqualmie Falls as its birthplace. The spirits of various resources of the Snoqualmie River valley and the spirits of the prairie upstream meet at the falls, forming a sacred site for seeking spirit power. The Snoqualmie Indians are few in numbers but are close knit and expressive people that have great pride in their heritage and beliefs.

I hope to do a future article that shares insight into Lakota Indian culture and beliefs. The Lakota, Indians are members of the family of the Great Sioux Nation of North America. They have a very rich spirituality and a deep respect for all life, visible and invisible. The word Lakota means "considered friends", or "alliance of friends". They understand and celebrate diversity.

~~~ On a sad note, J'ellen's web site today is dedicated to a young moose that was killed by poachers in the Black Hills. The moose was found shortly before he died. There is a $4,415 reward to find the poacher. This Black Hills Moose was amazing creature, please listen to

YouTube comment: I love this song, my name is Phenice Nakai and this was played by my uncle R. Carlos Nakai at my grandfathers funeral (Raymond Nakai). So thank you for doing this. The song brought back some great memories of my grandpa. Thank you and god bless you."


Thank you for the article about Nakai and another plug for my blog. :O) I find his flute music so relaxing and spiritually uplifting. Alice Gomez's too. And thank you for observing the loss of our poor little moose visitor.

As you know, hubby and I recently ate breakfast at
Colonial House; his 2nd visit, my first...they have superior breakfasts, to be sure!

Jann October 20, 2009

Georgia and Pat Lubisher (Hungerford) Report Quality Award for Beshara Family Business

Georgia and Pat Lubisher (Hungerford), both DHS classmates, report that the Beshara family has won a state wide quality award for the Colonial House Restaurant, Bakery, and Bar (non-smoking). Pat and Georgia's dhsclassmates' guest report article and pictures follows..

" Bill's Grandson, Max was most charming, he told us more about the award and the royal treatment they received. Georgia and I caught it on TV a couple of nights before we went down to Rapid--Besharas missed it but hope they have a copy of it by now. It talked about the Beshara family and also the fact that everyone who works for them is considered "family", it was nicely done."

Award history and description . . . the South Dakota award of Excellence in Family Business recognizes the successes of exemplary family businesses from their rich heritage and strong values to their community involvement. Each year for the past 16 years, the Prairie Family Business Association presents the regional award to families whose businesses have successfully transitioned from one generation to the next.

DHS classmates Bill and Sandy Beshara and Family, transitional owners and operators of the Colonial House Restaurant and Bar in Rapid City, have won the 2009 statewide award. The award is named for the late owner of the Hotel Alex Johnson in Rapid City.

The Beshara family has operated the Colonial House on Mount Rushmore Road since 1981. They have created a new menu cover, see => Colonial House Menu ~~~~ Be sure to listen to the Bob and Kevin's sound clips!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

News items on dhsclassmates web site articles in work

~~~Last Friday, I submitted the nomination of Mattie Hill to the 2010 Deadwood Wall of Fame for Inductee consideration. Kevin Kuchenberger, the Historic Preservation Officer for Deadwood, has a copy of our Mattie Nomination. The final copy has been signed by Clifford & Georgia Melrose (Mattie's Grandson), Dr. Lilah M. Pengra (Author & Historian) and myself. Kevin is submitting the nomination to the review committee today October 13, 2009. Wall of Fame Inductees will be picked next June for an Inductee Ceremony in October 2010.

The nomination requirements are: "The Wall of Fame Awards represents a step forward in recognizing Deadwood's diverse historical figures. Each year the Historic Preservation Office along with the City of Deadwood will honor a number of citizens from the colored past that help shape the landscape of Deadwood. These citizens will include businessmen, historic characters and people that just made life in the town more colorful"..

Hartshorn College early campus on the Bowe Plantation in Virginia. Mattie Hill attended this college.

~~~ When I first wrote the article about Coach Stewart Ferguson on June 10, 2007, I made reference to the Ferguson history booklet. The booklet was actually the nomination information for Coach Ferguson into the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame. The nomination also made references to memoirs that Coach Ferguson had written. For over two years, I have been trying to find these memoirs and talking with Edna Ferguson Robinson. She said I could get a copy but she would have to find them in her Deadwood house. Edna recently died so I took my quest to family members. I have located the original with a nephew and he is willing to share information. It is 400 type written pages.

I hope to be able to write something of Coach Ferguson's personal view of our years at Deadwood High School.

Also see article about son Freddy Ferguson.