Plenty of things to do, places to see by Bob Karolevitz I apparently struck a responsive chord several weeks ago with my column about places Phyllis and I have enjoyed in our wanderings throughout South Dakota.
In one of my books I called it the Challenge State, but it really is the Land of Infinite Variety if you look for it.
Besides the foremost attractions � like Rushmore, the Badlands, Wall Drug, the Corn Palace, the State Fair, etc., which I wrote about previously � we�ve been to lots of other spots in this little ol� commonwealth of ours.
For instance, we have threaded the Needles on the famous Black Hills highway; we almost drove to the top of Bear Butte northeast of Sturgis past Indian prayer ribbons tied to the the trees; and we gawked at the mountains of granite unearthed at the quarries near Milbank.
We visited Prairie Village west of Madison and stopped at the 1880 Town east of Belvidere. We also saw other examples of our state�s pioneer past at the Agricultural Heritage Museum in Brookings.
Southwest of Hot Springs, the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary gave us a chance to see herds of feral steeds galloping on the open range. At Lemmon we watched them make jewelry in the shop not far from the Petrified Wood Park.
And at Epiphany we learned more about William Kroeger�s medical sanatarium where the hunch-backed priest-physician treated hundreds of patients from all over the world. We also took a sidetrip to Pukwana where John Stransky, an entrepreneur, developed a mail-order dynasty with his gas-saving carburetor invention. Sad to say, they are both gone now and only vestiges of the once-thriving industries remain.
We toured the National Guard Museum in Pierre and the Air and Space Museum at Ellsworth Air Force Base. The remains of the Fort Randall Chapel near the Fort Randall Dam � one of the four barriers on the Missouri River which have created the Great Lakes of South Dakota � took us back even further n our quest for military history. So did the Slim Buttes Battlefield in Harding County.
We saw the final resting places of Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok, among others, in the Mount Moriah Cemetery; and at the Polish graveyard at Grenville in Day County, the wrought iron crosses and the unpronounceable name gave me an inkling of my ethnicity.,
We visited a number of houses, too: the Gladys Pyle residence in Huron, the Cramer-Kenyon house in Yankton, the Richard F. Pettigrew home in Sioux Falls and the Badger Hole in Custer State Park where South Dakota�s late poet laureate, Badger Clark, lived.
On more than one occasion we marvelled at the Christmas tree display in the State Capitol and found uniqueness at �Christmas in the Attic: in the converted old hatchery building in Garretson. At Fort Pierre we viewed the Verendrye Monument where the La Verendrye brothers buried the lead plate in 1743, claiming the region for France.
Of course there were many, many more places which Phyllis and I included in our odyssey: the falls of the Big Sioux River at (guess where?) Sioux Falls, the Cathedral of the Prairie at Hoven, Evans Plunge at Hot Springs, the Booth Historic Fish Hatchery at Spearfish, the Grotto at Farmer, Blue Cloud Abbey at Marvin and the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame at Lake Norden, to name a few.
We even saw the disfigured bust of Sitting Bull across the river from Mobridge, and together we descended into the depths of Wind Cave southeast of Pringle. (I since haven�t been able to get Phyllis into any other Black Hills caverns.)
Yes, the state has lots to see if only you don�t let that inferiority complex � which many South Dakotans have about their homeland � color your vision.
Happy statewide traveling!
� 2003 Robert F. Karolevitz