Thursday, July 1, 2021

Early Huron, South Dakota Sewer System

 The above rare photo shows sewer being installed in Huron, and is actually a postcard.  It was sent by C. K.[?] Deeser to his Aunt Nettie Gleghorn in Akron, Ohio; the back of it reads, "Dear Aunt Nettie, Well its a long time since you heard from me but I'm still alive and working every day.  I'm down in the ditch 22 ft laying tile at $3.25 a day that's not bad mony [sic]  Well please write to me at once and oblidge [sic] yours truly C. K. Deeser, Windsor Hotel, Huron South Dakota  Write Soon."   

I was unable to find any way to date this, as the postmark is illegible.  His Aunt Nettie was at this address in 1910; she moved there sometime after her marriage in 1902 and left sometime before 1920.  And in researching the timeline of Huron's sewer system, I found that various portions were under construction at different times over quite a long time span.

The photo below was from a calendar published by the Daily Plainsman with photos courtesy of Dakotaland Museum.  While the machinery being used is not the same piece as pictured above, it is very similar, and the estimated date of the photo was 1900-1910.

As it turns out, the building in the background of the postcard is the Windsor House hotel.  The Sanborn Fire Map above shows the hotel on the NE corner of 3rd st. and Illinois.  In the postcard, there's a man at left wearing dark clothes; just above him on the building is what appears to be a sign.  This was a vital clue I completely overlooked, but thanks to the keen observational skills of my friend Stan Phillippi, I was able to enlarge it, turn it into a "negative," and enhance it.  Then it was clear to read as "Windsor House."  This looks to be the same sign as in the photo of the Windsor House below.  The red "x" on the Sanborn map above appears to mark the location of the photographer, as I see it.

I believe the postcard photo was taken from 3rd street, based on a comparison of the building in the photo with the Sanborn Fire map.  If that is the case, the sewer was probably installed early on, as most of the sewer information from local newspapers seems to be an "add-on" to this portion of the sewer and the other main portion on 9th St. SW.

Above photos: The results of enhancing this tiny portion of the postcard.  
Below: The Windsor House hotel showing the sign above the door clearly.


In trying to track down C. K. Deeser and Aunt Nettie Gleghorn, I found one Deeser male of the appropriate age that was her nephew - Charles Deeser.  He was born in 1878 and died in 1946 at the age of 67 in his home state of Ohio.  He lived much of his life in Tuscarawas County.  And oddly enough, his World War II Draft Registration form indicated that he was in the sewer pipe business.  His obituary states that he retired from a sewer pipe company.  That said, I was unable to find any proof that it was indeed him who spent those early days in Huron laying tile for $3.25 a day.

It's probably a good assumption that his job brought him to Huron, and that he didn't stay here long.  But his postcard to his Aunt Nettie provides us with an interesting glimpse of Huron as its most basic infrastructure was being implemented.


Photo Postcard courtesy of Sonny Decker
1907 Huron City Directory
1909-1910 Huron City Directory
1911-1912 Huron City Directory
Huron Daily Plainsman/Dakotaland Museum Calendar, unknown  year
Sanborn Fire Maps, Huron, South Dakota, 1910
Daily Huronite, Huron, South Dakota, Sept. 23, 1910
Daily Huronite, Huron, South Dakota, Aug 1, 1908
Daily Huronite, Huron, South Dakota, Aug 3, 1908
Daily Huronite, Huron, South Dakota, July 26, 1907
Daily Huronite, Huron, South Dakota, March 14, 1911
Weekly State Spirit, Huron, South Dakota, Aug. 26, 1909
Weekly State Spirit, Huron, South Dakota, Aug. 10, 1911
Huron Journal World, Huron, South Dakota, Jan. 21, 1904
1900 Federal Census, Ohio, Tuscarawas county
1910 Federal Census, Ohio, Summit county
1920 Federal Census, Ohio, Summit county - various family Deeser family trees - family tree - headstone and information for Charles Deeser
World War I Draft Registration Card - Charles Deeser
World War II Draft Registration Card - Charles Deeser
Obituary of Charles Deeser, The Daily Times (New Philadelphia, Ohio), Jan. 5, 1946

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The Fair Store, Huron, South Dakota

The Fair Store, in business for over 20 years in the store front many of us know as The Little Zee, was opened by Arthur F. Miller about 1909.  Initially opened on 3rd street between Dakota and Wisconsin avenues, the store outgrew the space within the first two years and moved to the ground floor of the Masonic Temple building at 4th and Dakota about 1911.

Miller and his wife, Albeane, came to Huron in 1906 from Tipton, Iowa where Mr. Miller ran a similar general merchandise store.  It appears that Miller worked for someone else before opening his own store in Huron.  The Fair Store was a huge success, eventually adding more departments including a grocery department when an addition was put on the building.   According to his obituary, the store was "one of the largest independent retail establishments in the city."

Miller was active in various civic events in Huron, and was a member of the Masonic order, Rotary club, as well as the Odd Fellows and Elk lodges.

Arthur Frank Miller was born at Baraboo, Wisconsin in 1866.   He married Albeane VanLeshout.   In 1932 he was diagnosed with carcinoma, and his health began to decline.  He was able to give less and less of his attention to his business, and his last 6 months were spent bedridden.  He decided to liquidate the business in October of 1933.  He passed away the following month.  His widow, Albeane, lived until 1951.  The couple had no children.  They were buried in Riverside cemetery.


Evening Huroite, April 19, 1933, pg. 5
Evening Huronite, Oct. 03, 1933, pg. 6
Evening Huronite, Nov. 29, 1933, pg.1 family tree
Huron City Directories, 1909 - 1934
Huron Revisited  

Monday, June 28, 2021

Midstate Motor Cars

Midstate Motor Cars started in business sometime between 1919 and 1921, and ended its run 1924-1925.

It was located at 256 Wisconsin, on what was known as the Whalen Block.  The first businesses I could locate at that address was the Huron Auto & Supply Co., a real estate business run by Sylvester Whalen, and rooms for rent by Patrick Whalen in 1909.  Patrick Whalen would go on to rent these rooms for years, and Timothy Whalen ran a second hand store at that location as well.

A few of the subsequent businesses that operated at that address:

1926 - C. A. Campbell, auto dealer and Whalen Block
1928 - Huron Implement Co.
1930-1931 - Vacant
1932-33 - Farmer's Union Oil Co and Bindy's Market
1934 - Farmer's Union Oil Co and Farmer's Union Cream station
1936 - Farmer's Union Oil Co and Farmer's Union Cream station
1940 - Huron Ice Cream Store
1942 - Huron Ice Cream Store
1945 - Farmer's Union Cream Station and Royal Liquor Store
1948 - Royal Liquor Store and Gross Produce
1950 - Royal Liquor Store, rear Long & Gross Produce
1953 - Royal Liquor Store, rear Long's Produce
1955 - Royal Liquor Store, rear Long's Produce
1957 - Royal Liquor Store, rear Long's Produce
1960 - Mahowald Our Own Hdw EL2-2132, Royal Liquor Store, EL2-4056 

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Huron Dairy Products Company

Huron Dairy Products Co.

A milk bottle from Huron Dairy Products Co.

Huron Dairy Products Co. was located at 133-137 3rd St. SE by 1928 after being at 850 3rd St for a handful of years, managed by K. W. Greenquist at both locations.  Like many other local buildings, this one was designed by well-known architect F. C. W. Kuehn, a Huron-based architect.   Today, this building is the home of Dramstad Refrigeration and Electric.  Huron Dairy Products Co. appears to have gone out of business by 1940.

133 3rd St. SE today, photo courtesy of Google Earth.

Monday, June 14, 2021

R. O. Grover, Druggist

When I lived in Huron, South Dakota, Osco Drug was situated next to Newberry's on Dakota ave.  That particular location has housed drug stores for years and years, including that of R. O. Grover, "The Live Druggist."

Grover was a native of Linn County, Iowa, and the 29 year old pharmacist purchased the business from A. J. Bick in 1909.  But the history goes further back than that.

Interior of R. O. Grover's drug store

C. Y. Durand was operating a drug store in Huron as early as 1884; that business was located a few doors north of the "Osco Drug" location [see map to left].  Durand hired J. A. Bick as a clerk/pharmacist, and in 1890 Bick purchased the business from him.  Bick was described in the newspaper as "a practical pharmacist and thoroughly conversant with the drug business..." 

Bick, after 19 years in business, sold the drug store to R. O. Grover, "The Live Druggist," in 1909.  Grover, an Iowa native, had been running a similar operation in Pochahontas, Iowa.  The Dakota Huronite announced this change of ownership and said of Mr. Grover, "he is an experienced druggist, having been in the business for a number of years, and comes to Huron highly recommended by prominent citizens of his former home both as a citizen and business man."

Grover wasted no time being an innovative business man, introducing "Hot Soda" from the soda fountain as the cool weather rolled in.  42 different hot drinks were offered, including  hot chocolate and hot coffee with whipped cream.

This is the area of Dakota Ave. which housed the earliest R. O. Grover drug store.

In addition to his pharmacy products and services, and the popular soda fountain, Grover also carried a full line of office supplies.

Grover kept the business at its 239 Dakota location for a few years, relocating to the "Osco Drug" location in 1912-1913.  

In September of 1920, Grover sold his business to George Sherman and Carl Moe, Sioux Falls businessmen, and the drug store was known after that as "Sherman and Moe."  Carl Moe was formerly a Huron resident who had learned the trade under Holland Wheeler at Wheeler's Drug Store; Sherman was "one of the prominent druggists of the state," and had been in business in Canton before moving his business to Sioux Falls.  

In 1948, Sherman and Moe sold the business to Carl Fellows and Leonard Clarke, and it was known as "Fellows and Clarke Pharmacy."  Osco Drug was established there in 1965 before moving to the Huron Mall in 1978.

Sherman and Moe, located one door north of Newberry's.


Dakota Huronite, November 6, 1884
Huron Daily Huronite, January 7, 1886
Huron Daily Huronite, July 8, 1890
Dakota Hurnoite, April 22, 1909
Dakota Huronite, April 29, 1909
Huron Evening Huronite, September 29, 1920
Huron Daily Plainsman, June 15, 1980
1911-12 Huron City Directory
Sanford Fire Maps

Thursday, June 10, 2021

The Country Jans

The Country Jans were well-known entertainers in South Dakota during the 1970s.  Judging by the number of advertisements appearing in various South Dakota newspapers, they kept busy.

Janet Iverson and Jan Tchida have been entertaining together since about 1971.   Iverson was originally from the Vienna-Hazel area, and Tchida from Lake City, but both were living in Webster at that time.  Their first album was recorded at J and J Record recording studio in Cedar Falls, Iowa in 1974.

Iverson graduated from Hazel High School in 1967, and from Watertown Business University in 1968, and worked as a receptionist at St. Ann Hospital.  Tchida was a waitress before she entered the entertainment industry.

They are particularly pertinent to our family, as they frequented the Miller, SD area and usually stayed at my mother-in-law's house while in town.  My husband's first professional drumming job (in high school) was with them while playing one of those Miller dates.

The Country Jans with unknown accordion player, playing in Miller, South Dakota.  Unknown date.

Aberdeen American News, Sunday, July 14, 1974
Aberdeen American News from Nov. 28, 1976 
From the "Public Opinion" (Watertown, SD?) news archives: "1974 - 40 years ago", unrecorded date
Numerous other South Dakota newspapers I didn't keep track of

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

News from Huron in the 1890s

 The following is a transcript from an old letter I found in a box of papers and other ephemera.  It appears to be written by Eddie Kimball, son of Anna Kimball, to his friend Walter.

 Huron, S. D., March 8, 1890

Dear Friend Walter,

I received your letter last Aug. and have not answered it till now. I hope you will forgive me for neglecting it so long. I have been very busy at school and am obliged to study every night. For Prof. Rowe seems to try to think up things to give us plenty to do. Not long ago he said that we must do all of our written work with pen and ink. I am in the B Class in the High School. I still study Latin besides Geometry with Algebra.

As you asked me to tell about the boys I will try and say something about some of them. Lon Huntington is a member of the C class in the High School. He had been working in a grocery store for about two years before the commencement of this school year. Will Jones is in the D class and Ken McKinzie is a night office boy at the railroad office. He got tired of going to school. Harry Steel and Sanford Scuyler are the only members of the graduating class which I believe is your old class.

My father and mother staid [sic] at Duluth about a month and came home feeling a great deal better. As Papa did not feel well enough to ride over the prairie this winter, he gave up work the first of Dec. He intends to go somewhere for his health by the last of this month or the first of next. He has thought some of going to Airsonia [sic] or New Mexico. If so he will possibly come to Los Angeles. But he now thinks he will go to western North Carolina. We still own Pax but may sell him. I hope Papa won't.

Pierre got the capital, but Huron has not given up hope and will be in the race this fall. I expect we will leave the Great American Desert within a year or two; and if the capital comes our way next fall it will be a good time to sell. We have all had the grippe but mamma and she has been sick several times.

Grandma is just recovering, she had the grippe worse than any of us. Hope you have not suffered in the great floods that I have read about in the papers. We have had an unusual mild winter. Please tell how your father and mother are when you write again. Mother says she wishes your mother would write to her. We all send love to you all. I must close as it is supper time.

Your friend,

Eddie Kimball.

Dear Walter,
            Please tell May to write to me as soon as she can.
Anna Kimball