Monday, January 31, 2011

LCHS moves in to the HARCC....home at last!

New home for the Lawrence County Historical Society.
About 20 members of the Lawrence County Historical Society braved sub-zero temperatures today (1/31/11) for a bit of celebrating, as the society held its first-ever meeting in the new Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center (HARCC)  building in Deadwood.

The group enjoyed cake, coffee and punch, followed by a tour of the HARCC, which is located at 150 Sherman Street.

LCHS president Jerry Bryant and Adams House and Museum Director Mary Kopco signed an agreement some weeks ago that gives the society a home in perpetuity – or  at least as long as Adams Museum & House, Inc. “remains the custodian” of HARCC.  While a room there is named the Lawrence County Historical Society Room, it will be used for a variety of other functions as well.  It will, however, serve as a site for LCHS meetings and research.

The HARCC staff have outfitted the LCHS Room with a marvelous conference table and several side chairs – furniture that came from the old Homestake Mining Company.  “We’ll have the table top smoothed up a bit for you,” said Mary Kopco, who indicated that they’ll also place a desk in the room for society use, augmenting an existing filing cabinet.

A spacious kitchen lies adjacent to the LCHS room. 

Kopco and Assistant Adams H&M Director Carolyn Weber led the group on a tour through both the upstairs and downstairs of the building.  For most members, it was the first time they’d been in the 17,000 square foot structure, which is designed to protect over 10,000 cubic feet of original documents in a climate-controlled and secure environment.

In 2005, Barrick Gold Corporation, successor to the Homestake Mining Company, donated the Homestake archival records to the Adams House.  The Adams board of directors realized that a new building was necessary to care for the materials – and offer public accessibility to the records.  The City of Deadwood bought the building to serve as the Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center.

Ed Furois outside the Fassbender
vault during the LCHS tour.
The facility is the repository for extensive collections, including 126 years of maps and drawings of the Black Hills region, 45,000 historic photographs, slides and glass plate negatives; and a wide array of assay ledgers, diaries, scrapbooks, correspondence, blueprints, archaeological drawings, and much more.

The much-heralded Fassbender collection is also archived at the HARCC.  Comprised of more than 800,000 photographs, negatives, slides and motion picture footage from over nearly 100 years, the collection is now at the HARCC.  Josef Fassbender owned and operated Black Hills Studios for many decades.  His son, George, took over the business in 1958 and operated it until the late 1980s.  When George Fassbender died in 1998, he willed the collection to Ed Furois and Johnny Sumners of Spearfish. 

Lawrence County Historical Society helped facilitate preservation of the collection, which was purchased last year by the cities of Deadwood, Lead and Spearfish.  The publicly-owned collection was then moved to the HARCC, where it is secured in a climate-controlled vault.

LCHS treasurer Jacke Mitchell (right) presents a first
installment check to Adams H&M Director Mary Kopco
The HARCC hopes to provide easy access to a multitude of documents never before available to the public – and to host classes for secondary and post-secondary students on topics ranging from geology and astronomy to engineering and archaeology. 

We've placed a few HARCC tour photographs in the the LCHS Gallery.  There are some others there, too, that you might enjoy seeing.

While health issues prevented LCHS president Jerry Bryant from attending this special gathering, treasurer Jacke Mitchell took on the task of presenting Mary Kopco with the first of three $5,000 payments that the society will make over the next several months.

Another bit of good news for the society – South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant last week (1/24/11) signed the Articles of Incorporation documents for the Lawrence County Historical Society.  Revisions to society bylaws will be recommended to the LCHS board of directors when they meet at 3:00 p.m., on Friday, February 25th at the HARCC in Deadwood.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Remembering Cynthia Cleveland

Earlier this month, we posted a short video clip about a January 4th presentation given in Spearfish by Black Hills State University professor Laura Palmenero-Chilberg.  She surveyed the role of women’s clubs across the region and in the United States, but gave special emphasis to Spearfish and the northern Black Hills.

You’ll find a short summary of her “Early Spearfish Women’s Clubs” presentation on the Spearfish Area Historical Society web site.

Cynthia Cleveland
Shortly afterwards, LCHS President Jerry Bryant shared with us a newspaper clipping about another “women’s club” (of sorts!) that had major influence across the country – and a lady who played a key role in its development.

She was Cynthia Eloise Cleveland.  Reputed to be a distant cousin of president Grover Cleveland, Cynthia was born in New York in 1845.  The family later moved to Michigan and then to Nebraska.  By the time she was in her 30’s, Cynthia Cleveland had become actively involved with the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.

“After a brief four-year association with WCTU, Cynthia was offered an appointment by the national office as president of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in the Dakotas,” writes Bryant.

Conversations with Jerry Bryant have revealed that Cynthia Cleveland was much more than a traditional pioneer woman.

Lecturer.  Temperance activist.  Author. Attorney.  And a favorite of the media, at least in her earlier years.  Of course, “the media” consisted mostly of newspaper folks, publishing papers in even the smallest of communities. 

Jerry Bryant
“In the short span of three days,” says Bryant about Cleveland’s 1881 arrival in Deadwood, she “swayed the Deadwood press into believing that her cause was not only just, but that her approach was logical and her views anything but fanatical.”  The Black Hills Daily Times published many of her articles and wrote that Cleveland was probably “the best single-handed talker who ever visited the Hills,” and that “it would do the old sinners of Deadwood a world of good to go and hear her at least once.”

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.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Journal story confirms Wharf's position

Following up on an earlier story, Rapid City Journal reporter Kevin Woster has interviewed a few folks with different perspectives on the proposed expansion of gold mining near Terry Peak by Wharf Resources.  His article, Terry Cemetery move unlikely in near-term mining expansion, appeared yesterday (1/9/11) in the Rapid City Journal.

Rapid City Journal photo by Kristina Barker
Comments attributed to Wharf general manager Bill Shand reaffirmed what LCHS President Jerry Bryant was told by Shand earlier in the week:  moving the Terry Cemetery is "unlikely" within the next five years.

Woster also contacted Jolene Rantapaa, Secretary of the Terry Cemetery Association, whose comments give rise to another sticky question:  if Wharf doesn't move the cemetery, how can the dwindling membership and resources of the cemetery association continue to maintain the remote cemetery?  It's a question that looms for other old cemeteries in similar circumstance across Lawrence County and elsewhere.

Already chafing from having lost historic buildings and artifacts to the Wharf gold mining operations in the Terry and Trojan vicinities, the Lawrence County Historical Society board of directors met last week to explore ways that the society might assist with the preservation and maintenance of county cemeteries that are struggling.

The LCHS board will convene again in a few weeks to further examine -- among other things -- what steps it might be able to take regarding cemeteries.  The group is scheduled to meet at 3:00 p.m., Friday, February 25th, 2011, in the LCHS Room of the newly-completed Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center (HARCC) in Deadwood.  

Monday, January 3, 2011

Bryant: "No Emergency" at Terry Cemetery

It appears that there is no imminent threat to the Terry Cemetery.

LCHS President Jerry Bryant spoke today (1/3/11) with Wharf Resources General Manager Bill Shand, who said he believes Wharf has no plans to do anything with the old cemetery for at least the next five years.

Wharf had filed documents with the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources on September 27th, indicating their intention to significantly expand their large scale gold mining operation near Terry Peak. (See our story of 12/25/10:  Terry cemetery area targeted.)  If approved, Wharf would expand its heap-leach gold mine operation by some 600 acres, including the old Golden Reward mining area.  The Terry Cemetery was included in their request for “Determination of Special, Exceptional, Critical or Unique Lands” submitted to DENR.

Shand told Bryant that, if and when Wharf decides to do anything with the cemetery – which “he doubts” – they will give “ample” notice to LCHS and other interested parties.

After talking with Shand and State Archaeologist Mike Fosha about the cemetery, Bryant said it would appear there is no emergency regarding possible disturbance of the cemetery. 

“But it never hurts to be prepared, and we’ll have our ducks in a row to combat it, whether it’s at Terry Cemetery or some other cemetery,” said Bryant. 

At least one individual plans to submit a nominating petition to include the cemetery on the preliminary list of “Special, Exceptional, Critical, or Unique Lands.  Jeannine Guern, who is active with both the Black Hills Pioneers and LCHS, plans to file her document with DENR before the January 11th deadline.

Cemetery preservation and maintenance is on the agenda for the LCHS Board of Directors when they meet tomorrow afternoon (1/4/11) in Deadwood.  The 4 o’clock meeting will take place at the Deadwood City Library.

The Board is also expected to discuss and take action regarding a contract with the Adams Museum and House, establishing the “terms and conditions” for use of the designated “LCHS Room” in the new Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center.  LCHS earlier approved spending $15,000 to gain space “in perpetuity” in the nearly-completed HARCC, which is located at 150 Sherman Street in Deadwood. 

Construction on the structure is all but complete, and efforts are underway to outfit the facility.  A grand opening celebration is slated for Thursday, June 16th, 2011.