Main Street Spearfish

Western Planners will gather¬†this September in historic Spearfish, South Dakota,¬†on the north edge of the Black Hills.¬† I love this annual conference, which moves around the western states.¬† I’ve had the opportunity to attend (and present) in Dickinson, Rapid City, Lincoln, Missoula, Santa Fe, and yes, Spearfish, over the years¬†but no, not again this year.¬† The APA National¬†Planning Conference¬†last April conferenced me out for the year.¬† I did, however, recently travel through the Black Hills and took some photos of the Spearfish Historic Commercial District.

The Spearfish Historic Preservation Commission has a nice walking tour map posted downtown.¬† Let’s follow along.

1. Lown Mercantile, 1893.  Built by William Lown, who with his sons ran the store for 70 years. I understand that the railroad used to run behind this building, which would have been an advantage off-loading frieght.  Now a restaurant with an interesting addition out back.

2. The Mail Building, 1920, is on the¬†west side of Main Street, my pic didn’t come out real great.

3. Odd Fellows Hall, 1892.  This storefront should be a crime against humanity, except that it really could have been a whole lot worse.

4. American National Bank Building, 1906. The bank is the building with the barber shop. After Lost Fort Collins remarked on the scarcity of barber poles in that fair city I specifically looked for one here.

5. Old Spearfish City Hall, 1939.¬† Works Project Administration building, combination of brick, concrete and antive stone.¬† Housed city offices until 1995.¬† The new building (combination city offices & library)¬†a block away¬†is nice, but (again) my pic didn’t come out.

6. Spearfish Filling Station, 1923.¬† Still a¬†service station.¬† I know this pic turned out.¬† Think it got lost during copy-n-paste….¬† 7, 8 & 9 are all on the west side of the street and my pics…. well, let’s just say back in grad school one of my studio profs said I took the worst slides he had ever seen.¬† I haven’t taken any photography classes since then.¬† Jumping back across Main Street….

10. Seth Bullock Buildings, 1890s.  This pic is the sunny side of Main Street, looking from Illinois Street south-ish towards Spearfish Canyon.  Bullock is the nondescript building with green awning on corner.

11. Plank/Ashley Building, pre 1940s.  Neat detail on cast iron columns here.

12a. Matthews Block, 1902.  Native sandstone.

12b. Matthews Opera House, 1906.  Between Matthews Block and Plank/Ashley Building.

13 & 14 are historic sites no longer standing…

15. John Wolzmuth Building, 1889.  Originally a hardware store, it was the site of the local Safeway for many years, or so they say.  The coffee shop looked inviting but I had to hurry on my way.

16. Old Spearfish Post Office, 1940.¬† Works Project Administration building, housed the PO until 1997.¬† This isn’t my pic, but¬†Edit:¬†I went back and shot this pic: it completes the tour.

For those of you participating in this year’s Western Planner Conference,¬†take a break from the drab old meeting room and take a walking tour of the Spearfish Historic District.¬† If you are just passing through¬†on¬†I-90, Spearfish is a great place to take a break and¬†stretch your legs.¬† Maybe you can get some better pictures of the¬†shady side of Main Street.


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