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Sturgis and Meade County Historical Society Courtesy Photo
Store in Smithville, SD.

History of Meade County focus of annual History Day


News Staff - May 19, 2019

STURGIS, SD - Being the largest county in land mass and among the least populated in South Dakota, makes the history of early day Meade County as colorful and interesting as some of the state's more well-known historic locations. You just don't hear about it as often.

In recognition of the formation of Meade County in 1889, this year’s Sturgis and Meade County Historical Society’s Fifth Annual History Day on Friday and Saturday, June 14-15, 2019 will celebrate the 130th anniversary of Meade County and its early post offices and towns.

History Day kicks off Friday with a social from  4:30-7:00 p.m. at the Sturgis City Auditorium.

The County was named after Fort Meade, which was itself named for Gen. George G. Meade, a union commander of the Army of the Potomac during the battle of Gettysburg. Today, Meade County covers more than two million acres, but when it was created in 1889 it included only the southern half of the county.

Booths with information about early Meade County post offices and communities, many of which no longer exist, will be open to the public during the Friday social. Area residents with a connection to these communities will share photographs and stories.

The booths at City Auditorium will again be open to the public from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.  on Saturday, May 15.  Also scheduled for Saturday is a parade, beginning at 10:00 a.m. down Sturgis Main Street.

Following the parade, two historical talks by Newell native and former Black Hills area newspaper reporter and editor Tim Velder will be held at The Local, on Main Street. His 11:00 a.m. presentation is titled “Remember the Titans: Cold War on the Plains.” According to Velder, the United States was defended in the late 1950s and early 1960s by the Titan missile which was prior to the development of the Minuteman Missile Program. Sites were built in Sturgis, Hermosa and Wicksville, on a fast and expensive schedule, but lasted only a short time before they were removed from service.

Velder’s 1 p.m. presentation is about abandoned towns of Eastern Butte and Central Meade Counties. “During the final homesteading land rush of the Great Plains, many communities sprung up on the prairies north of the Black Hills,” he said.  “These included postal stations, stores, saloons, schools and other businesses.” Those attending will learn more about some of these communities, from Acme to Zeona, and the people who worked to put them on the map.

See the complete schedule for the 5th Annual History Day at https://sturgishistory.org/

 



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