Jeanne Schulte Richardson
The Split Rock Creek was one of the deciding
ingredients for the location of the town of
. It was a prime source of water for early settlers as they moved into the
and Sioux Falls Railroad Company, with Edwin Sherman as one of its directors
and promoters, was one of the main reasons that the town of
sprung to life in 1888, one year before
became a state. The Split Rock Creek would nourish the thirsty steam
locomotives of the new railroad. Sherman and John Spicer, who was the
president of the
and Sioux Falls Railroad Company, selected the town sites along the railroad's
149 mile path. They also helped in the platting and naming of all the
towns along the rail route.
chose this particular town site as his namesake. M. J. Zeliff, early
settler, helped plat the first eleven blocks in the new town.
is located about 22 miles northeast o
, and is about one mile from the
The town of
grew. In its very best years, it
boasted five elevators and a stockyards, a boon to early area farmers who
shipped their grain and livestock to larger markets.
There was a good-sized merchantile that remained open on Saturday nights
where the ladies could shop while their mates socialized with visiting, card
playing and pool in the pool hall. A
blacksmith shop, harness shop, lumber yard, drug store, hardware store, and a
hotel provided necessary goods and services to the early settlers.
, as most early towns did, had a saloon, but it did not come without a struggle.
Two men from the neighboring town of
moved a building to
to use as a saloon. It was not to
be. A “mob of infuriated
Scandinavians” that included about as many women as men, in the wee hours of
the morning after the delivery of the building, turned the would-be saloon
upside down. Legal action followed.
Later, after the establishment of a saloon, the “goodies” were cooled
by ice that was cut during the winter from the Split Rock Creek.
The ice was stacked and stored in a building and then covered with mounds
of sawdust to preserve it until it was needed.
There was a fresh meat market in
. The butcher did the slaughtering
in the back room of his store and then cut and displayed the meat in a showcase
in the front of his establishment where his customers made their selections.
There was also a bank, a barber shop, and a creamery in
was a sophisticated town. Not many
early Dakota towns had millinery shops, but
did. Ladies hats were made to order
or one could be selected from a well-stocked shelf.
Women came from the area and neighboring towns to purchase or to have a
special chapeau designed. Sometimes,
the finishing of a specially designed hat required an overnight stay at the
local hotel by the anxious buyer. Spring,
with its Easter celebration, was prime hat-buying time.
Early Shermanites practiced ecumenism long before it became popular.
The Lutherans, Methodists, and Congregationalists at one time shared a
common church, one that was located on a donated lot and built for less than
$1200 and a whole bunch of understanding and sharing.
people took time to relax. The
Split Rock Creek was a great source of entertainment with fishing, swimming, and
boating in the summertime and ice skating and ice fishing in the wintertime.
merchants provided free outdoor movies, usually on a Saturday night during the
summer. The town Opera House with
its player piano was another source of enjoyment as many plays and shows were
performed. Lawrence Welk and his
band played at
and was the cause of many thin soles. This
was all before champagne music.
The town of
has tried to claim some of the Jesse James saga.
Although historians disavow this, Shermanites claim that papers taken
during a robbery of its bank by Jesse were found in a cave that was reputed to
have been one of Jesse’s hideouts.
had a bank robbery, but not by Jesse James.
The town of
is not the town it used to be with its elegant homes, some even with dumb
waiters, and its many businesses lining the streets.
Churches and schools have disappeared into memories.
Fires, the depression, the automobile, the loss of passenger train
service which had been a constant since November 1, 1888, and a more mobile
society are some of the reasons
isn’t as grandiose as it once was. But,
the fact remains that the town of
Rock Influence by Jeanne Schulte Richardson, Pine Hill Press, Inc.,