Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Overseas Club

 From the Huron (South Dakota) Daily Plainsman, unknown date

Overseas Club Anniversary: Members of the Huron Overseas Club are shown at their 15th anniversary meeting at the home of Mrs. James Kaiser who made the anniversary cake held by Mrs. Orval Collins.  Front row left: Mrs. Gustave Guthmiller, Huron; Mrs. Carlisle Peterson, Huron; Mrs. Collins, Huron; Mrs. Clifford Voss, Huron; Mrs. Ralph Schniedewind, Ree Heights; middle row left, Mrs. Duane Picklapp, Huron; Mrs. Desmond Van Zee, Rockham; Mrs. Keith McMillan, Huron; Mrs. Vern Baker, Huron; Mrs. George Streifel, Huron; Mrs. Gilbert Hofer, Huron; back row left, Miss Gabriella Rose, Redfield; Mrs. Adolph Hammer, Sr., Huron; Mrs. Kaiser, Huron; Mrs. Henry Peters, Huron; Mrs. Chester Liedtke, Wessington; Mrs. Harold Steichen, Woonsocket; Mrs. Edwin Forst, Alpena; Mrs. Albert Rose, Redfield.

The Huron Overseas Club enjoyed its 15th anniversary meeting Feb. 10 at the home of Mrs. James A. Kaiser, 429 Idaho Ave. S.E.  Mrs. Albert Rose, Redfield, won the hostess gift among the 20 members present.

Mrs. Kaiser baked and decorated the anniversary cake for the occasion.

Officers elected for the new year are: Mrs. Ralph Schniedewind, Ree Heights, president; Mrs. Clifford Voss, Huron, vice president; and Mrs. Orval Colllins, Huron, secretary-treasurer.  A vote of thanks was extended Mrs. Gustave Guthmiller and Mrs. Carlisle Peterson, outgoing officers.

The next meeting will be March 9 at The Inn with Mrs. Adolph Hammer, Sr., and Mrs. George Streifel as co-hostesses.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

The 47th Anniversary of Will and Elvirta Knutz

 An excerpt from the journal of Elvirta Graves Knutz (mother of Bill Knutz)

1957, March 30, Saturday

47 years ago today we were married and such a day as it was; it rained, hailed, wind blew hard and it blizzarded all before noon but that did not stop me; Delbert took me to the depot and waited with me till the train came; I had to go to Huron (from Esmond) to meet Will. Henry Thompson and his girl Stella were there to be married at the same time we were; we were witnesses for each other. We ate our dinner in a hotel which is now torn down and there is a gas station and truck parking lot there now. After dinner we were married and did some shopping and drove home; we used horse and buggy those days, had to drive about 7 miles; got home I got my first meal for us; which was (as I remember) bacon and eggs and potatoes. To night 47 years later 3 of our children and their children had very delicious supper at Dorothy’s; they each brought some portion of the meal. Dorothy roasted a turkey and chicken with dressing; Mabel scalloped some potatoes; Lillian brought corn and peas; there were cakes besides Dorothy baked a 4-tiered angel food, had swans to hold each layer and frosted it so pretty; Mabel helped her with it; Lulu brought a delicious jell-o fruit salad. Everett was there too. He gave us a very pretty card with a dollar bill inside. Later in the evening we had cake and coffee; oh I was so full. Bill took our pictures (dad and I) cutting the cake and of me feeding him a bit.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Canoe Derby, 1960 or 1961

Arm-weary but full of life, Huron Explorer Scouts Ward Nickish (right) and Stan Landon slide their canoe ashore before a throng of some 400 gathered just above the James River Dam here Saturday afternoon, the come-from-behind winners of the Pheasant Scout Council's ninth annual canoe derby.” [Huron Daily Plainsman]

Nickish and Landon took first place in both 1961 and 1962, and the team of Landon and Chad McAllister took second place in 1963.

The annual canoe race ensued from Fisher Grove, east of Redfield, along the James River to Huron, some 96 miles. Rowers would stop for a meal break and have their times recorded, then continue through the afternoon, camping overnight and continuing the next day. The winning time was 11 hours, 47 minutes and 10 seconds.

After receiving their congratulations, the winning pair fulfilled a vow by giving their Explorer Post Six advisor, Elwood Harms, a dunk in the river for saying they wouldn't win.

Nickish and Landon were sponsored by the Huron Moose lodge, who also served food and refreshments at the finish line.


Huron Daily Plainsman, Aug. 20, 1961, p. 6
Stan Landon
Photos courtesy of Walt Hammer

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Virgil High School First Aid Class, about 1955-56


Back, from left: Karen Schiltz, Lloyd Wullweber, Marilyn Clouser, Kenneth Falton, Darrell Denison, Hannah Arechuk, instructor.

Front, from left: Sandra Woelpert, Larry Johnson, Betty Knutz, Lila Mae Freese, Donna Meyer, Alice Reilly


Mrs. Arechuk, who is from Huron took the first aid instructors course last winter.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Don Shaw and his Trombonaires


     A quick look through the old Huron Daily Plainsmans has ample advertisements for local and area bands, playing at venues such as Daumino and the Band Box, and many more playing at barn dances throughout the county.  

     But Don Shaw and His Trombonaires was a unique band, consisting of brothers from Huron as well as others.  Don and brother Mike played the trombone, brother Sam played bass, and brother Bob played piano.  They were known as the "Trombonaires" due to the unusual arrangement of using 4 trombones rather than a saxophone section.

     The sons of Frederick Lonsdale and Nellie Belle Shaw, the family moved to Huron in 1924.  The earliest newspaper ads for the band began appearing in 1940 and appear steadily through June of 1957, with the exception of 1944 and 1945.  One newspaper account states that the band was composed of World War II veterans, which probably explains the absence of advertisements during that time period.  The band played all over the midwest - South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, even Kansas City on several occasions.

     One of the brothers, Bob, worked at the Weather Bureau in Huron until his enlistment during the war, but then joined his brothers in the band in 1946 as pianist.   He later led the Bob Shaw Quartet in Sioux Falls, and was personal pianist to Henry Mancini on his Hawaiian tour.  Bob was later inducted into the South Dakota Music Hall of Fame.


Huronite (Huron, SD) 14 Apr 1943
Huronite and Daily Plainsman (Huron, SD)  11 Dec 1946
Huronite and Daily Plainsman (Huron, SD) 08 April 1946
Huronite and Daily Plainsman (Huron, SD) 05 Sep 1946
Huronite and Daily Plainsman (Huron, SD) 25 Mar 1948
Hawarden Independent (Hawarden, IA) 04 Feb 1943
Kansas City Star (Kansas City, MO) 25 Mar 1956
Rapid City Journal (Rapid City, SD) 14 Oct 2015
numerous other newspapers noting places and dates

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Bertha, Huron's Civil War Memorial

Subtitled  "DUCK!!!"

Photo courtesy of Stan Phillippi

Whenever my parents drove us down 3rd street past the Beadle County courthouse, all three of us kids would duck down and laugh as we went past the cannon - just in case it should fire.  None of us really believed it would, but it was such a fun tradition that we couldn't help continuing it much long than we should have.

A group of young people from Miller enjoying the cannon, including my father-in-law and mother-in-law, on the left end.  Photo courtesy of Louise Ulmer.

Despite driving past that cannon thousands of times in my life, I always just assumed it was from the Civil War.  Well, here are the facts:

The cannon, known as "Bertha," is indeed as heavy as it looks - two tons.    It was gifted to the Beadle County Grand Army of the Republic as a memorial by the Kilpatrick Post No. 4 of the GAR.  They obtained it from Fort Schuyler, New York in 1907.  The cannon was made in 1861 to defend the fort, but was not necessarily used.

This wonderful piece of history was nearly lost in 1942 when metal was being collected for World War II.  Two tons of metal would certainly have helped the cause, and Huron's citizens were sharply divided over the issue.  The Historical Society argued that it was one of a kind and replacing it would be impossible, and that it serves as a memorial to those who fought in the Civil War.  Despite offers to build a different type of memorial, Bertha was saved from the scrap heap.

Above: The cannon sat on the grounds of the old courthouse, and (below)
at the current courthouse.

Last summer when I was in Huron with my grandkids, we drove down 3rd street past the cannon, and of course, we all ducked.  For old times' sake.  And next time, they'll get a history lesson as well.


Stan Phillippi (current photos)
Louise Ulmer
The Evening Huronite, 24 October 1942


Aberdeen Daily News
Aberdeen, South Dakota, Thursday, February 13, 1913


Old Historical Landmark of Pioneer Days is Totally Destroyed Today


People of Huron Had Been Wanting New Northwestern Passenger Station for Long Time - Loss About $30,000 - Insurance Expired at Noon

Huron, Dec. 13 - Fire this noon destroyed the old Depot hotel, the Chicago & Northwestern depot, baggage rooms, etc., causing a loss approximated at from $25,000 to $30,000 partly covered by insurance. The fire started about 11:20 this forenoon near the heating plant, and for a time it was feared that the flames would spread to adjoining buildings, but by 12:20 the first was under control, although the entire building was hopelessly damaged.

The residents of Huron have been anxious to have a new passenger station here, and the Chicago & Northwestern road has made countless promises to rebuild. The new passenger station now seems a certainty.

The main part of the building was an old historic landmark, having been erected by the Northwestern in the early territorial days when the road first entered this city. It has been enlarged at several times by the addition of a second story and wings, but the old building remained intact until laid low by the fire today. It figured quite prominently during the capital fight days.

There is a rumor current on the streets here to the effect that Manager Holbrook's insurance expired at noon today, but nothing suspicious is attached to the rumor, as the hotel was too good a money maker for any one connected with it to be implicated in its destruction.

The Birth of an Icon - Hurst's Corner

[photo courtesy of Google Earth]

      Few from my home town of Huron, South Dakota, won't recognize this local icon.  It's been in existence longer than most of us have, sitting right there on the corner of 2nd and Dakota.  The stories it could tell!  But thank goodness, it can't.

     Late May of 1939 brings the inception of legalized on-sale liquor to Huron - something not done since the saloons went out of business more than 20 years prior.  Hurst's Corner was first to obtain a license, followed quickly by the Marvin Hughitt Hotel and William E. Wagner.  Wagner was the proprietor of the Sportsman's Bar.

     South Dakota state law forbade both off- and on-sale of liquor in the same building, so some quick remodeling was done to be compliant.  Carl Daum became responsible for the off-sale part of the business, located in the center of the building and facing 2nd street, while owner S. A. Goethal would run the on-sale part.

     And here we are, 80+ years later, and Hurst's Corner is still there.

Google Earth
Evening Huronite, Huron, South Dakota, 23 May 1939, pg. 1
1940 Huron City Directory

F. C. W. Kuehn and the Kinyon Funeral Home in Huron, South Dakota

The building at 373 Wisconsin SW in Huron in recent years.

     Like many other local buildings, this one was designed by prominent architect F. C. W. Kuehn and built for Frank D. Kinyon to house his funeral home business.  A little about Kuehn: He was born in 1884 in LeMars, Iowa, and shortly afterward moved to a sod house with his family to Sanborn co., Dakota Territory. At the age of 19 (give or take) they moved to Huron. Here he married and had a family. He took correspondence courses in architecture and afterward worked with Huron architect George Issenhuth. In 1909, he opened his own office. He designed many school houses in the area, including several in Huron; however he also was involved with designing homes and other buildings as well as drawing county maps. He died in 1970.
     This building is described as a "two-story basement and brick building" for F. D. Kinyon, Plan No. H 3-30-7.
     Kinyon Funeral Home was established in Huron in 1915, originating in Bradley, SD. When relocating to Huron, Frank D. Kinyon took over the funeral home of John P. Walsh, which was located at 127 Third St. SW. The building pictured above, located on 4th and Wisconsin Ave., was finished and occupied in 1927. The business was run by Kinyon, who was later joined by his son, Frank I. Kinyon. In 1945, the elder Kinyon retired, and his son took a job as field representative for the American Red Cross in Battle Creek, Michigan.

     At that time, the building was sold to the American Legion Post #7 for $42,000.  Besides a new home for the Post, the Auxiliary and the junior organization of the Legion were also to be housed there.  The building continued in their ownership through at least 1992, and probably for some time afterward.

Current photo - Google Earth
Huron City Directories, 1926 - 1992
Daily Huronite, 03 June 1945

Daily Huronite and Plainsman, 28 June 1946

Friday, February 14, 2020

A Love Story that Lives On

     Bill Knutz and Lillian Christensen knew each other nearly their whole lives.  As children, their parents' farms were located around the corner from each other, less than a mile apart.  The children of both families attended the same rural school and formed close friendships throughout the years.  Bill and Lillian's brother Ray were best of friends, but it was Lillian really caught Bill's attention.

     Bill loved to tell their grandchildren the story of how they "laid claim to each other" in the third grade.  Bill's route to school took him past the Christensen farm.  One morning, Bill and his brother Howard, in their horse-drawn buggy, ran into Lillian and Raymond Christensen in their buggy. A race ensued, but unfortunately, the wheels of the two buggies became entangled and locked together.  Needless to say, the next day (and every day thereafter), Bill and Howard could be seen riding a single horse to school  The same thing held true for Lill and Ray.  But down the road a distance they would do a switch; Ray and Howard would end up on one horse, and Bill and Lillian on the other.

At Sunnyside school, early 1920s, Bill Knutz and Lillian Christensen (marked with X)

     On one occasion, when the kids were in third grade, Bill got sick and missed a few days of school.  The teacher asked Lillian to sit next to him and show him the lesson.  Bill said, "I got a feeling all through my body, like I wanted to put my arm around her waist and give her a hug."

     One of Bill's favorite stories was when Lillian wanted to see if he was an honorable fellow, or a snitch.  One day at school, a girl named Harriet dropped her mitten.  Ray grabbed it and hung it on a nail in the barn.  The teacher asked Lillian who did it, and she said it was Bill.  Bill did not "squeal" on Ray, even though he had to spend noon hours inside all week.  And he married her anyway!

     As teenagers, Lillian moved to town and took a job as a nanny.  Bill worked as a farm hand for Mr. Peterson, whose daughter had a crush on Bill and would stop at nothing to get him.  Lettters and messages for Bill would not be delivered and she tried everything she could to get Bill's attention focused away from Lillian and on to her.  At Christmas Bill was invited to Christensen's for a Christmas Day celebration.  He had to borrow a horse from Mr. Peterson to get there.  His daughter was furious when she found out, and even more so when he went back to Christensen's to celebrate New Year's Day!  She told him he should spend the day with her, and asked, "What if Daddy won't let you have the pony?" to which he replied, "I'll walk then."

     A few summers later, Bill and Ray went to Nebraska to work as farm laborers.  Bill diligently saved his pay, but on the way back they stopped at a pawn shop and he found a saxophone.  He said he had always wanted to play one, and despite no musical training and no ability to read music, he decided to spend the $10 and buy it.  He also came back home with a black onyx and diamond ring for Lillian.

   Bill and Lillian had planned to get married for quite a while before it actually happened.  This was during the Great Depression, and their primary problem was a lack of money.  But they finally decided to go ahead anyway, and on Dec. 28, 1935, they jumped in Bill's car and drove to nearby Miller, where their friends Henry and Grace Speirs witnessed their wedding.  Lillian had a government job that paid better than farming, and because jobs were saved for single women, they did not tell anyone of their marriage.  However, when Bill's car was spotted overnight down the street from Lillian's apartment, to save their good names they were forced to make an announcement, and Lillian had to resign from her job.

     And the rest is history.  There were good times, and there were bad times, but they stuck it out together.  What stuck with me as a child was how respectfully they treated each other even when they disagreed; how Grandpa bent over backwards to take care of his wife, family and home, and how Grandma did all she could to take care of Grandpa and was fiercely protective of him.  Though both of them are gone now, it's a love story that lives on.