Monday, March 21, 2011

Deadwood's Award from American Cowboy Magazine

Select on  following image to view ACM web site

I talked to the American Cowboy Magazine Editor and he confirmed that Deadwood has been chosen by them as one of the greatest places to live in the West 2011. Deadwood SD has beebchosen based on their authentic cowboy culture and charm, respect for history and heritage, recreational, leisure and outdoor activities and having a strong sense of community coupled with a free-spirited rugged independence.  He added that it is an popular destination point for tourists.  The award will be added to the initial award and will be published in the hard copy April/May Magazine issue.  Sometime later it will be published in the above blog site.

Photo Credit
Lee Harstad of the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce commented to me . . . . "We are truly honored to be named one of the best places to live by American Cowboy magazine. The publication is a respected one, and that makes the honor even greater. The magazine’s editors used the criteria of history and heritage, culture and charm, and recreational, leisure and outdoor activities to choose their top places to live feature, and under that criteria, we feel they would have a tough time selecting another location. Deadwood is unique in its offerings, and the millions of visitors that walk the streets - just like millions before them – can attest to the authenticity and experience that only Deadwood can offer."

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Travis Dewitz and His Train Photographs

It is my pleasure to feature photographers of interest from time to time.  Travis Dewitz has a wide range of photography subjects in his portfolio.   What drew my attention to his photographs is Rick Mills of the SD State Railroad Museum in Hill City SD.  Travis has a great Railroad collection.  I contacted Travis and he agreed with this article and shared this beautiful train photo below.

Travis Dewitz of Eau Claire WI
I am a commercial photographer with a passion for capturing images that make you say “Wow!”
Is my photography all skill or am I just lucky? Well, it is both, but it is not the main reason I succeed. You have to be there. That is really 99% of the photo. If your not there, you won't get the photo. You need to go out looking for the compositions you want. Once you are out there looking it is luck's turn to help you out. Luck is what makes a good scene great. Luck is what lines everything up for that once in a lifetime amazing shot. Luck is useless if you aren't out looking. Skill is what fine tunes the photo. Skill is what helps you see and capture strong compositional elements. It is skill that fine tunes your camera into a skilled tool. You need all three elements to pull off great photos.

Select on the following image to see 1229 amazing train images

Photo Credit Travis Dewitz Collection

Also see Travis Dewitz's PHOTOS and WEB SITE

Monday, March 7, 2011

135 Years Ago Today Bell's Patent was Issued for the Telephone which was Followed 2 Years Later by Deadwood Telephone System

Public domain image
Alexander Graham Bell

135 years ago on March 7th 1876, 29-year-old Alexander Graham Bell received a patent for his revolutionary new invention, the telephone.  There was a dispute over the patent but Bell prevailed.  Bell and his partners, Hubbard and Sanders, in 1878 offered to sell the patent outright to Western Union for $100,000. The president of Western Union balked, countering that the telephone was nothing but a toy. Two years later, he told colleagues that if he could get the patent for $25 million he would consider it a bargain. By then, the Bell Company no longer wanted to sell the patent. Bell's investors would become millionaires while he fared well from residuals and at one point had assets of nearly one million dollars.

Paul Rewman courtesy of:
Adams Museum
Ann Stanton
Also in March 1878, the progressive Deadwood had the first telephone exchange in the state of South Dakota. The Black Hills Telephone Exchange was established by Paul Rewman.  He offered calls between Deadwood and Lead for 50 cents which was 25 cents cheaper than a stage ride between the cities, and much faster. The weekly Black Hills Pioneer reported the completion of the exchange/line which was promptly celebrated with a large bonfire, gathering, and a grand ball at the Grand Central Hotel.  The hotel building does not exist today.  After only two years of operation, the Grand Central Hotel went on the auction block July 1878. With the sale, portions of the building were leased for retail space and various managers would run the remaining facilities as a boarding house up and until the big fire of September 1879. The hotel was renovated into a 70 bed furnished lodging house and served as host to the many soldiers visiting the area from Ft. Meade. The lodging house experienced a slow decline over the years, suffering its final demise in 1892 when the building was demolished to make room for new development. [1]

The telegraph was a technology part of the original 1876 Deadwood.  So to better understand and appreciate the amazing feat of a telephone system you have to consider what Deadwood was like in 1878.  A chronological Deadwood history in contemporary wording of the period reveals . . .  the city of Deadwood is located at the northern extremity of the Black Hills, at the confluence of Deadwood and Whitewood Creeks, and about eight miles in the interior--or from the foothills where the latter stream enters the prairie. The position, while not at all eligible for a settlement of any kind, much less for a city of the pretensions of Deadwood, has been so improved by artificial means, that not only are a surprisingly large number of people housed within its limits, but the tout ensemble is very pleasing to the eye. Originally the narrow gulch admitted of but one street, but excavations and cribbing have gradually added one after another until the entire north hill is now cut up into avenues, like steps, appropriately named, and lined with pretty little cottages and dwellings of more elaborate designs. The southern hill, owing to its abruptness, is valueless for building sites, and, with the exception of one or two crudely constructed log cabins, regular "old timers," which threaten to wreck themselves and residences below at any moment, its breast is bare and uninviting. The city proper, as generally understood (there is no legally defined limits), is about one mile long, and contains at the present time about six thousand inhabitants, the male portion being engaged almost exclusively in mercantile and other legitimate business pursuits. Deadwood, although not immediately at the mines, is universally considered the metropolis of the Hills, being the county seat of Lawrence county, and having the land office, courts, banks, express offices, stage headquarters, signal service station, and commission houses--conveniences found nowhere else in the hills--and in addition contains many large jobbing houses, retail stores of every description; two excellent hotels; two daily, one weekly, and one semi-monthly papers; two churches--Congregational and Catholic schools; the telegraph; a fire department; efficient constabulary force; a large and most excellent society that is daily increasing; and all the concomitants of a well regulated and prosperous community. Three daily mails, a money order post office, the telegraph and banks, present facilities for conducting business, equal with those elsewhere enjoyed. Comfortable dwellings, marts of trade of all kinds, keeping stocks of graded qualities to suit the tastes and purses of every one, the poor as well as the rich; a charming climate, plenty of vigorous exercise and universal prosperity, makes life in the Hills both pleasant and healthful.  Deadwood, as originally constructed, was chiefly composed of buildings of pine logs or flimsy board structures common to mining camps. A great population had crowded into the narrow gulch and there was a large accumulation of personal property. [2]  In September 1879 Deadwood suffered a disastrous fire that consumed the entire business section of the city.

Paul Rewman telephone receipt:
to the Caledonia Mining Co.
courtesy of the Jerry Bryant Collection

Jerry Bryant
Archeologist - Historian
Jerry L. Bryant is an accomplished historian. He is also a member of the RPA, Registered Professional Archaeologists. Bryant works extensively within the Black Hills of South Dakota and more specifically within the city of Deadwood. His work for the HBO series Deadwood has earned him honors from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Bryant is also one of the foremost authorities on the life of Al Swearengen. Bryant is a fierce advocate of historical preservation.
Jerry is the president of the Lawrence County Historical Society which offers oldtimers and newcomers alike an opportunity to learn more about the people and events that have shaped our Lawrence County. He also a contributor to Larry Miller's Historical Marker on-line web site of the Society.  In the January issue of the Historical Marker, Jerry wrote an amazingly researched article about Cynthia Cleveland.  "Many Black Hills history buffs likely have never heard of Cynthia Cleveland, and those who have probably know little about her.  Her's is a story worth telling, and so a few years back Jerry Bryant researched and wrote  Cynthia in the Dakotas  which briefly chronicles her life.    Cynthia Cleveland left a pretty big swath across Dakota Territory long before women were allowed even to vote – let alone serve as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives!"  You’ll find Jerry Bryant’s piece well worth the read.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Amazing Black Hills Pictures ~ Jellen in the Black Hills of South Dakota

Jellen is a great friend and fellow web site author.  She has an amazing talent for photography, detail research and interesting writing about her image subjects.  She frequently travels all over the Black Hills byways and back roads.  She frames her images to capture the beauty and feeling of each subject.  

She is in her 3rd year of publishing and has over 357 articles of images. Her web site is a unique information treasure trove and digital journal. In her own words, " . . . she highlights the wonders around her . . . the birds, beasts, botany, and beauty . . . in a forest the Native Americans call Paha Sapa . . . and sometimes beyond."

Select on the following image to view Jellen's web site