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Hot Springs-The Veteran’s Town


4-25 and 26, 2017

Hot Springs, South Dakota is a city of 3,711 and is the county seat of Fall River County. We stayed there three nights with some friends, not downtown but in one of the nearby hills where their homestead is located.  The countryside is beautiful, cattle ranches are a prevalent feature here. It was snowing in this picture.

Our friends took us on the grand tour, we saw everything on our list and more. We began with visiting  John Robertson Memorial Park Cemetery. He was a prominent horticulturist and farmer in Fall River County.

 

After visiting here we learned why this is called the Veteran’s town.   Our next stop was the South Dakota Veterans Home, a large beautiful building dedicated to caring for the many vets in Hot Springs.  There is a large medical staff dedicated to the care of the residents here.

The Joe Kern Building-Soldiers Home

I  have not seen a community honor vets as much as this one does. Inside the nursing home building near the entrance is a statue of a soldier. Inside the base is a time capsule, opening year is 2065.

Hot Spring’s downtown buildings are mostly made of sandstone, locally quarried at Evans Quarry. Read more about the stone’s use here. You saw some of these buildings at the Veterans Home also.

Here is the depot mentioned in the sign. The Soldiers Home is above.

This is the smallest union depot in the country. Here is the other signage on the depot.

Behind the depot is a train car.

Next to the depot is a small wood jail building serving the territory in 1885. It is the oldest surviving wooden jail in South Dakota.

The brown sign to the left of the door. Calamity Jane spent a night here too!

Enjoy a drive through downtown, nearly every building is constructed of pink sandstone.

The Fall River flows though the city, providing a soothing ambiance and view.  There is even a waterfall along the Fall River Freedom Trail.

Kidney Spring has water deemed healthful for the kidneys.  It flows freely from a spigot. A plaque gives a breakdown on the water analysis.

A retaining wall was built by the WPA in 1939. The view of it from the other side.

A great place to view downtown is at a lookout point on Hammond Avenue. It is a steep hill and about 1/2 way up. A great view of the Battle Mountain Sanitorium on the hill across the way.

The mountains visible from downtown is called the Seven Sisters Range.

Hot Springs has many murals and are adding more. Here is one on the side of Evan’s Plunge. We plan on a visit there in 2018.

On American Legion Post 71 building downtown.

On another building.

Minnekhata Avenue of about a century ago. Painted by Del Iron Cloud.

There are more historical markers scattered throughout the city. This one is at the edge of town at a wayside on the Mammoth Highway, this is the front.

The back.

 Another one is the Leslie Jensen Scenic Drive marker.

This small sign is attached below, telling us when he passed away.

Downtown is a Lions Club Memorial circle with a planter. 

Closeup of the plaque on the monument.

This marker is near their former Carnegie Library building. A new and larger library with more parking was built and opened in 2007. Here is a list of all the Carnegie libraries in South Dakota.

If you look to your left, there is a steep hill leading to the Fall River Pioneer Museum. We could not go in since it was not open for the season yet.

On the northern edge of town is the Mammoth Site, where hundreds of Mammoth skeletons were discovered in 1974 while preparing the land for a housing development.  The area was then protected and a very active dig still today. You can get a tour here and they offer programs for children and adults  alike. There is a marker close to the driveway.

All this exploring can make one hungry. We enjoyed lunch at the China Buffet, a favorite downtown of the locals.  For dinner we went to where our friend works, Taco John’s. Their food was yummy too!

The Hot Springs area has many beautiful parks for recreation, even a picnic!

We also took a closer look at the Fall River, namesake of the county Hot Springs resides in.  We went to Keith Memorial Cascade Falls. It was so beautiful there, I imagine even more so later in the spring and summer. A marker is also located there.

There is a walkway leading down to a view of the falls, also a small chapel you can go in.

Stained glass windows inside.

Donations gratefully accepted for park upkeep.

 We also visited the J.H. Keith Memorial Park.  Lots of picnic room and great scenery!

Currant trees were in bloom, as well as crab apple.

There is much to see in Hot Springs, we plan on returning Summer 2018 for more sightseeing.

 

 

 

 

 

South Dakota Badlands – A Geological Wonder!


4-28-17

After visiting Wall Drug, our next stop was the Badlands of South Dakota.  We arrived at 12:23.

Even though the sky was still overcast, the hills were still breathtaking! There are many areas where you can pull over for an up-close view. We did just that several times. It’s a 24 mile drive to the other side.

Enjoy some of our favorite views.

Everyone sure looks small from the top of the parking lot!

This is certainly the most scenic road we have ever been on, next to the Iron Mountain Road. This is 1:26 PM and the clouds are beginning to thin, letting in more sunshine.

We found a sign talking about the journey to Wounded Knee, where we stopped on April 24.

At 1:44 PM we see this sign. Getting close to the end. We get back on I-90.

By 2 PM we arrived at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center on the other side.

We stopped inside for a few minutes. Lots of gifts to choose from in the gift shop. You can even eat at the Cedar Pass Restaurant inside.  We enjoyed chatting with the staff there about our visit to South Dakota and that we look forward to returning next year.

Two more points of interest we saw after leaving the Badlands.  The Prairie Homestead Visitor Center was the first place. A historical marker was here also.

Our last stop in this area was the Badlands Ranch Store, also the site of a LARGE prairie dog town. We arrived here by  2:25 PM. Open since 1967, it has been a tourist destination for generations. We could not go in since it wasn’t open yet.  The store is open during the busy season, from mid-May through mid-September. They sell unsalted peanuts so you can feed them.

One of the little critters greeted me, I didn’t have any peanuts unfortunately.

And the BEST part, take a selfie with their big groundhog, we did! Same pose too!

A great way to cap off our visit to the Badlands. The views are incredible and there is so much to see and do here.

Wall Drug in South Dakota


April 28, 2017

Wall Drug Store is one place you must see if you visit South Dakota. My dad came here a log time ago and said we needed this unique place on our itinerary. We stopped here on our way to the Badlands to see what the buzz was about.

This place is big so allow yourself plenty of time. We spent about 90 minutes here, a whole day is really needed to see everything. It is not just one store but MANY stores. We explored the main store on the left. That alone was big enough. Another new store was going up.

We entered the main building, it looks like an old west scene, complete with characters to take selfies with.

Even Zoltar the fortune teller.

There is even a chapel inside the store, very beautiful! Quite an interesting story of its history too.

Just before leaving we stopped in the ice cream shop for a treat. As always, ice water is free.

Also the gift shop, what do you choose?

You could easily make a day of this place, we had a hard time leaving but the journey continues. Be sure to bring your camera!