Christmas tree

Photograph of America’s Holiday Tree from 1997 in route to Washington D.C. The 60-foot Black Hills spruce tree, cut down on November 14, 1997, came from upper Spearfish Canyon. All costs associated with the cutting and transportation of the tree were paid for by fundraising efforts.

100 Years Ago

Fire started in the office of the Jack Frost blacksmith shop about 10 o’clock last night practically destroying the building. The cause of the fire is unknown, but it is thought that it probably was started by a defective flue, and had been smoldering for some time. It was thought the fire was out when about 30 minutes later the entire roof was in flames, and again about 2 o’clock this morning another fire broke out. The firemen found great difficulty in fighting the flames as the space between the inner and outer walls was packed with shavings. The building is owned by A.W. Ewert and J. P. Erickson and is covered by $3,000 insurance. Mr. Frost who runs a blacksmith shop there is also a heavy loser of tools and implements of his trade. Mr. Brown, who works for the city, had a room on the upper floor and by the time he discovered the fire was in the building, his escape by the way of the stairs was cut off. He was forced to jump from a window. It is reported that an elderly man had been living there and had just moved yesterday. Families adjacent to the burning building moved their household effects into the street.

50 Years Ago

Pierre police are continuing an investigation into the armed robbery of the municipal liquor store on Sioux Avenue last Saturday night. Mrs. Irene Kenobbie was on duty at the Sioux Avenue off-sale store when a white male entered about 8 p.m. and asked for a six-pack of Schlitz beer. She said that she turned and opened the cash register to ring up the sale, and when she turned around, the be-whiskered young man was pointing a snub-nosed revolver at her. “You’re kidding,” she said. “Lady, I’m not,” he replied, and reached over and scooped $136 in bills from the cash register. Mrs. Kenobbie said that the man then left by the front door, and she ran to check on his car. There was no car, nor did she hear any car engine start up. Apparently, he vanished in the darkness to the side or rear of the building. Police Chief Don Kelm declined to say why they suspected a local person. Kelm said that this, to his knowledge, is the first armed robbery in Pierre in many years but added that there was one such robbery when he worked on the Pierre police force as a police officer many years ago.

25 Years Ago

The tree that will illuminate the Christmas spirit of the nation stopped in Pierre to help launch a time when South Dakota will be in the spotlight. A truck carrying a 70-foot spruce from Utah that is the 1996 holiday tree for America rolled up the driveway in front of the Capitol about 5 p.m. Thursday to kick off South Dakota’s efforts to raise money to send a Christmas tree to the nation’s Capital. “We made this route because South Dakota has the tree next year. You folks need to get behind this,” said Bevan Kilpack of Utah, who is accompanying the tree to Washington, D.C. Kilpack presented a check for $500 to kick off fund-raising efforts in South Dakota. A national forest provides a tree for the U.S. Capital lawn each year. The Black Hills National Forest will provide the 1997 Capitol Holiday Tree. Marty DeWitt of Pierre, co chairman of the America’s Holiday Tree Project, said letters have been sent out to all school districts in the state asking school children to make decorations for the tree. The design theme is “Sharing South Dakota’s Rich Heritage with America.”

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