Monday, October 4, 2010

Deadwood and the Black Hills Region Grew and Prospered with 125 Years of Railroading Which Then Faded Away ~ Contributor Rick W. Mills

Select on the logo below for link to South Dakota State Railroading Museum

Rick Mills writes:

I am pleased to welcome you to the Museum’s web site. I feel fortunate to be in this position at the Museum, as I have always had a passion for trains and their history. I ask that you keep this Museum, our Board, and myself in your thoughts, prayers, and hopefully your giving and support of our mission.

The South Dakota State Railroad Museum, Ltd. (SDSRM) is a not-for-profit 501c3 organization established for the purposes of preservation, education, promotion, and interactive interpretation of railroad equipment, memorabilia, and the ever-changing historical material specific to South Dakota and related American railroads. It is a destination designed for all ages and levels of interest. After 16 years of planning the the museum finally opened its doors for the first time on May 1, 2010!

Whether you are a die-hard railroad or history buff, the member of a railroad family, or a lover of cross-country train travel, the South Dakota State Railroad Museum, Ltd. is a statewide project that you will be proud to support.

South Dakota State Railroading Video

Western South Dakota Railroading Video

Before 1879 - 2004

The South Dakota State Railroad Museum brings to life the financial and political intrigue, the machinery, the people, the mythology, and the pure joy of perhaps the most romantic mode of transportation ever built.

Museums like this connect us to everything we know— and to what we have yet to learn— reminding us of times, places and things, and of innovations that have shaped our past and present, and will shape our future.

Americans have always had a love for railroads — there is nothing else like them. The building of the American railroads was a special combination of steel, timber, and sweat which linked our nation from the Atlantic to the Pacific. As explorers, entrepreneurs, and immigrants from across the world sought freedom and opportunity, the railroads and our nation grew up together.

South Dakota’s unique landscape spawned one of the most unusual and complex railroad histories in our nation; a history that has helped define us as a people and as a state. The rails have carried our hopes, our dreams, our riches, our bounty, our cultural treasures, and our families from past to present.

By the time the Dakota Territory was carved into North and South in 1889, the railroad and the High Plains were intertwined. Agriculture on the plains relied on the railroads, as did mining and timbering in the Black Hills. South Dakota was realized, in large part, thanks to the men, women, investment, and machines of the railroad.

Automobiles, Interstate highways, and aircraft, however, shook the railroad system to its core. By 1969, one hundred years after the completion of the transcontinental railroad, South Dakota had lost it’s last passenger service.

In the next two decades, corporate mergers helped to bolster railroad operations. The times had changed, our needs had changed, but the value and importance of the South Dakota railroads had not.

. . . continued on SDSRM web site. Also note the October 16, 2010 SDSRM Gala Event held at Sylvan Lake Lodge. Be sure to contact Rick Mills at SDSRM web site!

~~~ DickD Addition: ~~~

Rick has written several railroading books. "Making the Grade - A Century of Black Hills Railroading" was published in 1985. In 2004, Rick published "125 Years of Black Hills Railroading" which included most of the older book and updated with more text, more photos and more illustrations and covered before 1879 through 2004.

I have a copy of Rick's last book and find it exceedingly interesting and use it frequently for reference. It is out of print and a few copies can be found. I recommend the 125 Years book to anyone who loves those lost days of railroading.


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