HuronBikesAccording to Jay D. Vogt, Director of the South Dakota State Historical Society, the Huron Indians never lived in South Dakota. However, when the Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through the area in 1804-1806 the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota (aka Sioux) people as well as the Arikara people lived in what now is South Dakota. The Arikara people were an agricultural society and were later forced into North Dakota by the Sioux.

Today the closest Indian reservation to Huron is the Crow Creek Indian Reservation on the Missouri River south of the state capital Pierre. Crow Creek is the third smallest of the nine reservations in South Dakota. It is approximately 400 square miles, but 35 square miles are covered by reservoirs. To get there you take SD Hwy 50 North from I-90 toward Fort Thompson keeping a look out for the Crow Creek Reservation buffalo herd.

The South Dakota Office of Tourism has a wonderful brochure called “Native South Dakota” that lists all the reservations in the state, as well as the history of the native communities, where to purchase native American art and a list of the attractions at the various reservations. You can call 1-800-S-DAKOTA (1-800-732-5682) and request a brochure.

Since we will be spending time in South Dakota here is a little bit of information relating to the state. Is it any wonder that South Dakota is nicknamed Mount Rushmore State? The state flower is the Pasque flower, also known as the wind flower, prairie crocus, Easter Flower or meadow anemone.

We already know that their state bird is the ring-necked pheasant and not surprising the state sport is rodeo. Triceratops is the fossil of choice, In the southeast corner of the Black Hills National Forest, in Hot Springs, SD, there is the Mammoth Site that is the world’s largest mammoth research facility. There are special classes for kids and reservations are recommended. Check out the Mammoth website at: .

Huron History Continued:
For those of you who live in the “snowy” parts of the U.S. and Canada this part of the history of Huron will probably fall in the category of your worst nightmare.

Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about the winter of 1880-81 in her book, “The Long Winter” (Wilder, Laura Ingalls, New York, Harper & Row, 1940) and that name has stuck.

The snow started in October and didn’t let up until April when thawing began suddenly turning the prairie into one large lake. During the “long winter” the residents of Huron, as well as their neighbors in DeSmit, Iroquois and other surrounding towns, found themselves struggling, as supplies of fuel and other necessities could no longer be delivered by the railroads that they had come to depend on due to the huge drifts of snow.

Coffee grinders were pressed into use for grinding wheat into flour that was coarser than they were use to but was still usable to bake bread. Families and others who were not related moved in together to save on fuel.

What’s To Do?

Huron has a “Ride Huron” program called “Spokes For Folks!” This program provides free courtesy bikes for loan to Huron visitors as part of Huron’s wellness initiative.
There are over 50 bicycles available for loan without charge at three locations in the community. The bike loan includes free use of a helmet and a bike lock. At the time of this writing there are 10 miles of bike trails in and around Huron and there may be more by the time of the International Rally.
Photograph by Jim Elmlinger #3296

So pick up a “Ride Huron” brochure that should be available at the Rally Information Desk. It lists all the locations where you can borrow a bike and the requirements such as ID and must be 18 or over or with a parent. The brochure has a map with the trails outlined and lists points of interest including the murals that are located around town.
So if you like to bike, but don’t have room to bring your bike, there is no longer an excuse to not get out there and get some great exercise!

Be sure to check your Blue Beret for more articles about our 2013 International Rally location in Huron South Dakota.

Category: International Rally

In attempting to write articles on our next International Rally site in Huron, SD, my husband suggested that an “in person” visit was called for. So, on our way home from Sedalia, we drove to Huron and spent a couple of days.

What a difference it makes to see a place in person, rather than trying to write about it based on information gleaned from the Internet.

The most important thing we learned was the correct pronunciation of Huron. It is not Hugh-ron it is Here-on.

My articles will hopefully build on each other to give you a good overview on what you can expect when you arrive in Huron next year. Keep the monthly articles handy, as the history portion will definitely be a continuing project.

HuronPheasantThe day after our evening arrival we made our first stop the world famous Huron pheasant. It is quite a site perched on the top of a building at the Dakota Inn. There are handy steps on each side of the building so you can get a better view of it, but the best view for taking pictures is from the front facing U.S. Hwy 14 where there is a lovely mural and a descriptive sign. (Be careful not to wander onto the U.S. Hwy 14, as it is quite busy.
You may be asking who cares about pheasants? Well, Huron is in Beadle County. Last year, 2011, 9.9 million dollars was spent in Beadle County in conjunction with the pheasant hunting season, which is late October through early January.

Huron History Continued:

There were no trees in Huron back in the 1880’s until the first sapling was “imported” from Iowa. This “tree” was then only the size of a lead pencil and arrived packed in old newspaper.

Today, Huron is a Tree City USA so named by the National Arbor Day Foundation for national recognition of urban and community forestry programs, which has resulted in the hundreds of trees throughout the city creating many lovely shady areas.

The town of Huron got started with the building of a saloon, no surprise there, given the times, a temporary post office and a drug store. There were some rooms available to let in these first buildings where for 50 cents you got a bed with a straw tick and a single blanket, but no mention was made of bugs.

To entice settlers to this part of the country, railroads put up posters and newspapers writing about the fertile prairie farm land that was free of cost in Central Dakota. Not surprisingly, there were long lines to claim a section of this land.

June 10, 1880, 59 citizens submitted a petition beginning the process to become a city, which was finally completed in 1883. This was prior to South Dakota becoming a state, which occurred in 1889.

Huron has a number of buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. At this time, only one of these historical places, the Pyle House (more on this in next month’s article), is open for viewing. Check with the rally information desk for the dates and times.

What’s to do?

I am going to serialize this portion of my article so that every month I can give you different ideas for some extra curricular activities while you are at the rally.

RavineLakeHaving been a WBCCI member for a number of years I know that the most important thing when we arrive at an International Rally is ICE CREAM!

I really hate to tell you this, but there is a “DQ” right across the street from the Fairgrounds on the west side. We tested their “Blizzards” and they were great as usual.

The Dakotaland Museum located on the South Dakota State Fairgrounds on the south side of 3rd Street, houses over 5,000 artifacts including a log cabin, natural history collection of birds and mammals and many other items of interest to adults and children. Admission price is very low so that it provides visitors with a very cost effective visit.

Ravine Lake Park is a special area containing a sandy beach, shelter, picnic benches, fishing, miniature golf and rental of paddleboats and inner tubes. It also has ice cream, from the University of South Dakota, and yes, we did test this one out also, yummy! In addition there are sandwiches, pies, etc. available.

Stay tuned next month for more exiting things to see and do in and around Huron.
(Thanks to the Huron Library for the opportunity to spend two hours “speed” reading the book “Huron Revisited” by Dorothy Huss, Robert S. Kuni, William Lampe and Margaret Moxon. Copyright 1988. There will be mention of additional items from this book in my articles over the next months.)

Category: International Rally

International President John Boutwell has asked me to write a series of articles for the Blue Beret about Huron, SD, the site of our upcoming 2013 International Rally. The rally begins June 28, 2013 and continues through July 4, 2013. Having traveled through South Dakota many times and never having gone through Huron, I decided that before I wrote about this place I needed to locate it.

Since I travel with a driver who does not use GPS, unless he has been lost for a couple of days, I have gotten on the Internet and started looking at maps.

Huron is located at latitude 44.363N and longitude -98.213W for those of you who do use GPS and other electronic gadgets to find your way around. For those of us who still prefer to go to AAA and get road maps you will find that if you travel East or West on I-90 and take SD Hwy 37 North to the junction with US-14 YOU are in Huron! Remember that you are in Beadle County when you are visiting Huron especially (and we hope that there aren’t any) when there are severe weather warnings as they usually only give the county not the town. A direct quote from the Huron Chamber of Commerce is that “Huron is the Center of the Universe!” (We do understand that there may be some slight debate on this.)
Huron got its start in 1875 when this then bare spot out on the plains was very lucky to have attracted the attention of General Manager, Marvin Hughitt of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, who selected the west bank of the James River as the division headquarters of the railroad. It is believed that either Mr. Hughitt or someone in the railroad’s Chicago office chose the name Huron. The town was named for the Huron Indians. However, there are no Huron Indians in Huron or in South Dakota for that matter. The Huron Indians settled in the area bounded by Lake Huron and Lake Ontario in Michigan.

In 1880 the first corner stake for the “town site” was driven. Until 1904 when Pierre was named the capital of Missouri, Huron was in the running for that honor, so it was a very busy prairie railroad town.

Photograph by Megan BenkerProbably the most famous sight in town is the World’s Largest Pheasant. The pheasant is made out of 22 tons of fiberglass, stands 28 feet tall and from its beak to its tail it spans 40 feet! Don’t miss this great photo op!

Why does Huron have the World’s Largest Pheasant you ask? Huron is known as “Ringneck Nation” and from October until January each year it is the place to go for pheasant hunting. Ringer the Ringneck is the town mascot and can be seen at many events.

There will be a myriad of things to see and do in Huron and the surrounding area, which we will cover until the 2013 International Rally. So let’s get started by jumping right in and begin with the “Murals on the Town” that tell’s the town’s history. Now you cannot come up with any excuse why you did not see these clever and colorful murals because they are accessible by walking, biking or automobile throughout Huron.

There are 20 of these murals throughout Huron and the mural listed as #1 on the town map is located at the Fairgrounds, the site of the WBCCI International Rally and is called “Seeds of Democracy” featuring the philosophy of one of Huron’s residents, Hubert Humphrey, Vice President under President Lyndon B. Johnson. There will be mural maps available at the rally so check with the Information Desk when you arrive. The Huron Visitors Bureau should also have them.

Some other murals are “The Land Rush” depicting the opening of a new land office in 1882 that opened up settlement of the James River Valley area; “Evolution of Medicine” from doctors on horseback to modern times; “The Great Race” depicting the events when 30 automobiles, in 1913, raced 110 miles from Huron to DeSmit and back and “Driving the First Corner Stake” that occurred on April 19, 1880 formally establishing the location for the town of Huron.

Fishing is something that the young and old can do or in the case of Ravine Lake in Huron the handicapped can join in as well at the handicapped accessible fishing dock. Now I would like to point out that I use to fish as a little girl in VT and we caught trout. The fishing areas in Huron have some fish that I have NEVER heard of!

Ravine Lake is located right in Huron and is stocked with crappie, catfish, pike, walleye and bullheads; however, the Third Street Dam has muskellunge, American Eel, gizzard shad, freshwater drum and paddle fish! (See what I mean, not a trout to be found.)

The 2012 South Dakota fishing license fees were One Day $14 Non-resident and $7 for Residents or Three Day fees were $32 for Non-Residents (Residents shown as N/A).

Watch your Blue Beret for more articles on where to explore, what to enjoy and where the excitement is in and around Huron SD.

Category: International Rally

As soon as a future International Rally site is announced, the questions start flying. Where is that? How far is it? What's between here and there? Once we get to the Rally, what's scheduled? What is there to do, to see, or more importantly, to eatthere? Once the unknowns are answered the inevitable quandary of "do we go or not go" arises. Well, we're going to try to answer some of those questions for you and give you an opportunity to ask questions.  

So, where exactly is Huron?

What's between here and Huron? No matter which direction you are traveling, there are many historical, natural, and recreational opportunities (read: Airstream adventures) along the way.


What's on the schedule for Huron? The schedule isn't available yet, but comments about Sedalia on the page 1 in the sidebar will give you a glimpse of what to look forward to. For sure, there will be both new and old friends, a chance to learn more about your Airstream, and more activities than you can possibly pack into a week.


And finally, what does Huron have to offer?   

Let's be clear on one thing. There are no Huron Indians in Huron. The Hurons settled near the Great Lakes and Huron SD was named by a railroad executive, but you can Click HERE for more information on the many Native Tribal Lands that ARE in South Dakota.

Everywhere you turn in Huron you'll encounter "Murals on the Town," an artistic treat and history lesson in one. Twenty murals offer a visual history of Huron, including "Seeds of Democracy" representing the philosophy of a famous Huron resident, Hubert Humphrey.

Seeds of Democracy

More murals take you to "The Land Rush," "The Evolution of Medicine," "The Great Race" depicting a 1913 automobile race from Huron to DeSmit and back, plus a glimpse of "Driving the First Corner Stake" that formally established the town of Huron in 1880. If you're a photographer, you'll enjoy a walking tour of Huron in a variety of light conditions. If you're a historian, bring your Murals Guide from the Visitors Bureau, and if you're an artist, prepare for a lot of "hmmmm" moments.


View a slide show sampling of the Huron Murals with more complete descriptions.    









Did we mention fishing for crappie, catfish, pike, walleye and bullheads, muskies, American eel, gizzard shad, freshwater drum and paddle fish in local lakes? Which brings us to the inevitable question of dining. Follow the  Huron Urbanspoon link to a variety of opportunities in that category. 


Pheasant hunting in the fall gives Huron the honor of being called the "Ringneck Nation" and displaying the world's largest pheasant, weighing in at 22 tons!  


The theme of the Huron rally is "It's a New Approach."  We think you'll enjoy a new take on fun, friends and adventure at Huron. If your interest is piqued, you can download the 2013 International Rally Registration form from the International Rally page of the WBCCI website.   


Not sure yet?  Tell us what else you'd like to know about Huron and we'll try to get you some more information. Or, check out Sally Elmlinger's series of articles on Huron in the Blue Beret.  

Category: International Rally


International Rally
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