Historical program on Minnesela

Crook County Library in Sundance will host a historical program by Beulah resident Vernon Davis on Friday, February 23 at 7 p.m. in the library meeting room. The program is free and open to the public. The topic of Mr. Davis’ program will be “Minnesela: The Town the Railroad Missed.”

Minnesela was the first settlement in Butte County, founded in 1882 near present-day Belle Fourche, South Dakota. The town flourished and became the county seat of Butte County.

Minneselans called their town, “the future metropolis of the Black Hills and the midland city of the United States” and the, “coming Chicago of the Midwest.” Minnesela business owners actively courted bringing the railroad into town, but due to their greed (and Seth Bullock’s quick grasping of opportunity), the railroad instead bypassed in 1890 and it was a ghost town by 1902.

“Cemetery guru” Vernon Davis is a descendant of Buckskin Johnny Spaulding, one of the original settlers of the Minnesela area. Davis is a lifetime member of the Lawrence County Historical Society and has been recognized for his work in cemetery preservation and restoration.

He grew up in Belle Fourche, South Dakota and served in the South Dakota National Guard, the Navy Seabees and the Air Force Reserves. Now retired, his life’s work has become the protection and restoration of our 100-plus-year-old Black Hills cemeteries.