Looking Back in Belle

Looking Back in Belle

These articles come from newspaper microfilm from the Belle Fourche Public library, using a new microfilm reader and printer. The photographs in most cases are from the Tri-State Museum.

125 years ago – BELLE TIMES

August 25, 1898

Rough Riders Dissatisfied Camp Thomas, Aug. 23 – There is a great deal of dissatisfaction among the men of Col. Grigsby’s regiment over the attempt that is being made to force them into garrison duty. Life as they find it in camp is not exactly a dream of Eden. Now that the war is over and nothing remains but the life of a regular soldier, nine out of ten of the men who gave up good position to enlist want to go back to their positions, and some of them to their business, as the matter of $13 a month never had any allurements for them in the first place – it was their patriotism. A petition was started among the privates asking that the regiment be disbanded, setting forth that they did not feel that this was unbecoming good soldiers in view of the close of the war for which they had enlisted. This petition got quite a number of signers, but some of the officers heard of it and immediately had the men who were circulating it arrested and placed under guard. There the men were kept until Captain Seth Bullock heard of their plight. He took steps that got them out of the guard house in short order. Then a long telegram was sent to the war department by some of the same men. This stirred up something of a sensation, and it evidently had some effect, for the men next had Major French upon them. He arraigned them in the severest terms telling them they were guilty of cowardice and applying other similar terms. Capt. Bullock has shown himself a model officer and a perfect gentleman with his men, and has often interceded, not only to the advantage of his own, but men from other companies. The other Black Hills officers are also well like, and most of them are with the men in this matter. There is a strong dislike noticeable towards other officers of the regiment, however, and the cowboys say that , never having had better than $50 jobs in their lives, they are exceedingly loth to throw up the jobs they have now. It is stated that Colonel Grigsby’s recent visit to Washington was for the purpose, if possible, of inducing the war department to send his regiment to Cuba with the army of occupation.

100 years ago – Belle Fourche Bee

August 30, 1923


General Manager Lawson of Holly Sugar Co., Favorably Impressed with Our Country That the Holly Sugar Co. means business so far as the Belle Fourche country is concerned was again demonstrated last week when their general manager, W. L. Lawson, arrived and spent a portion of three days looking over the irrigated districts in this part of country. He was very favorably impressed and while he made not statement for publication, he asserted that a sufficient tonnage of beets could be grown to supply a factory. It is a foregone conclusion that his report to his company will be a favorably one, and that we will bear a definite announcement by the middle of September, as to whether or not we will get a sugar mill in the near future.


I think the greatest inspiration of life came the other day when I accompanied the editors of the state on a trip up Mr. Roosevelt in the north Black Hills. I have stood on the slopes of Shasta, in California, with my cheeks bathed in salt air, and have looked into the vine-clad dells on every side, I have climbed to the top of Punchbowl in the Hawaiian Islands, and standing on its stone-capped summit I have looked down over the Edenic city of Honolulu nestled in a bed of flowers at its feet. I have strolled up Arayat in the Philippines and have watched our little brown cousins on the plains below, inundating their paddies of rice until their fields looked like great sheets of decorated linoleum. But, I am willing to confess that when I stood on the top of Mt. Roosevelt for the first time the other day and , facing northward, looked over into the Centennial valley kissed by large patches of warm sunlight that had screened themselves; loved over into the centennial where savagery had given way to civilization; looked into that charming valley lying there like a real checker-board whose squares were composed of intermittent field of corn, alfalfa and wheat, interspersed with clusters of deep-hued ever greens and dotted hither and thither with beautiful farm building I became enraptured, and, turning to Editor Smith of the Belle Fourche Bee, I said “This is the greatest inspiration of my life!” Then, my companion, Mr. George Dutbsie, supervisor of the Black Hills national forest in which Mt. Roosevelt is situated handed me his binoculars and said: “Focus them onto the low range of hills along the northern horizon, and you will be looking into North Dakota. Train them onto those two buttes far distant to the northwest and you will be looking into Montana. Survey that second line of hills to the west, and you will be looking over into Wyoming. You are standing here on the sentinel of four states over which Theodore Roosevelt once roamed.” And I promptly said’ “Hats off in honor of Teddy!”


A. H. Thornton, Sioux Falls, Spoke to Chamber of Commerce Tuesday Noon A. H. Thornton, Sioux Falls, who is acting as executive secretary of the Natural Resources Commission board of South Dakota, was a speaker at the Tuesday noon luncheon meeting of the Belle Fourche Chamber of Commerce. His remarks was confined to the work and study which the Commission is making into the development of natural resources in South Dakota. Mr. Thronton stated that so far as agriculture was concerned South Dakota’s production of farm and ranch produce ranked high in the nation, but “in the case of making use of its natural resources the state has barely scratched the surface. In its agricultural production, many of the by-products are wasted due to the fact that we have not taken time to develop industrial possibilities.

Out in this part of the state, sheep and wool production, has been a major business, but there is not reason why Belle Fourche and other west-river communities should not have woolen mills. The present piles of sawdust could be used in manufacturing sweeping compounds. He also mentioned the industrial possibility of using wasted corn cobs for the making of nylons, fur cleaning products and polishes. “Those of you who are planning to visit the State Fair this year, “ stated Mr. Thornton, “are invited to pay a visit to the booth of the Natural Resources Commission and see for yourself what may be developed in the way of new industries within our own state to make use of our waste products.” He also invited all communities of the state to make use of the Natural Resources Commission for assistance, information and suggestions when considering new industries.

50 years ago – Belle Fourche Bee

August 23, 1973

To Replace Barbecue PLAN FALL FESTIVAL

It’s going to be a Fall Festival, complete with dancing and food, and it’s all free. The affair will be held Saturday, Sept. 8 at Belle Fourche. There will be a street dance with two bands – one rock and one country. That was the decision of the Community Unity Barbecue committee Tuesday night as they finalized plans for the replacement for the Community Unity Barbecue which was cancelled this year. Committee members, searching for something new to replace the Barbecue, decided the Fall Festival idea would be worth trying.

They plan to start the event about 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8. The bands will start playing at 9 o’clock. Plans call for setting up a lunch stand at the corner of State and Sixth. Free whimpies, pickles, potato chips and soft drinks will be served. South of the lunch stand on Sixth Street will be the country and western band – The Poor Boys from Camp Crook. West of the lunch stand on State Street will be The Shells of Time. Everything will be free.

The event will actually replace two other affairs – the Barbecue and the second annual harvest dance staged by the Belle Fourche High School Spirit Club. The Barbecue, an annual June event for more than 20 years, was dropped this year because of a decline in the number of contributors. Committee members felt the affair had run its course and that perhaps a new idea was in order.

The Fall Festival idea was proposed last May and subsequently adopted by the committee for this year.

Prolonged Electrical Storm Batters Belle Area

One of the most prolonged electrical storms the area has seen in years hung over Belle Fourche Tuesday night, keeping the sky streaked with light and the heavens reverberating with thunder for almost an hour. In spite of the intensity of the storm there was limited damage. Several trees were reported hit and at least two fires started by the storm. Black Hills Power and Light Company lines suffered minor damage. With the storm however, came pelting rain that brought 1.71 inches of moisture to the Belle Fourche area. The rain was spotty, however, with areas to the west reporting amounts up to three inches, while points to the north and south reported little moisture.

The Belle Fourche office of the Black Hills Power and Light Company reported two residential transformers were damaged by lightening and there was some trouble along with some outages in the Redwater area. Some of the Belle Fourche street lights were knocked out. Manager Mahlon Alden said service to those would be restored Wednesday night if necessary parts are obtained in time. Belle Fourche’s volunteer fire department battled two blazes east of town on the old Fruitdale road. One blaze, burned about an acre of grass and was smothered by firemen before the rain reached the spot. Another blaze, on the same road, but closer to town, burned until the rain put it out.