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.