Sturgis and Meade County will celebrate 140 years of history during the Sturgis & Meade County Historical Society’s 4th Annual History Day, Friday and Saturday, June 15-16.
The weekend celebration of the 140th birthday of Sturgis and Fort Meade, starts with the dedication of newly refurbished Nolin Monument at 3 p.m. June 15.
The society’s monument revitalization committee recently received the Governor’s Award for History for an Organization during the Society’s History Conference in Rapid City.
Regional Health’s expansion of Sturgis Hospital provided an opportunity to revitalize the original monument, built in 1932 by local residents to honor Charles Nolin, a contract mail carrier killed in 1876 near that location.
"Once the committee was formed, our biggest challenge was then to bring meaning and significance to the monument and the event,” said committee chairman and society vice-president Ross Lamphere, in a release.
“We wanted to tell the story of our history in a way that engages people of all ages and backgrounds,” he said.
The Nolin Monument dedication will also include an appearance by a pony mail carrier who will collect postcards, printed to commemorate the occasion, and carry them to the Sturgis Post Office where they will receive a cancellation designed especially for this event.
The postcards, $1 each, can be purchased at the Fort Meade Museum, Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce, Sturgis Photo and Gifts, Black Hills Rally and Gold in Sturgis, Western Heritage Museum in Spearfish and Bob’s 66 Gas Station in Rapid City.
Immediately following this dedication will be a reception and community mixer, from about 4 p.m.-6:30 p.m., at Sturgis City Auditorium on Main Street. In case of inclement weather, the dedication ceremony will move to the Sturgis City Auditorium.
Saturday’s events begin at 9 a.m. at the City Auditorium. Photo exhibits, celebrating familiar names and faces of Sturgis and Fort Meade, will be available for viewing until noon.
Bus tours of historic Sturgis homes and area burial sites are from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. These tours will leave from the Auditorium. Also scheduled for 10 a.m.-11 a.m. at the Auditorium will be a demonstration and talk "Light and Iron: Tin-Type Photography in the West" by David Rambow.
A parade in celebration of the 140th birthday of Sturgis and Fort Meade is at 11 a.m.
All events for Saturday afternoon will be held at Fort Meade. The softball field is the location for the 1 p.m. dedication of the Fort Meade walking/bike trail.
Also beginning at 1 p.m. and running throughout the rest of the afternoon at Barry Stadium is the Fort Meade Play Day consisting of pony rides, an archery range, pioneer games, children’s rodeo and an old-time photo booth. Those attending will also have an opportunity to shoot Cavalry and Old West weapons, using blank ammunition.
The Play Day includes a presentation on the history of Fort Meade by Randy Bender portraying Col. Caleb Carlton, who, in 1892 as commander of Fort Meade, issued an order requiring that “The Star-Spangled Banner” be played each evening at the retreat ceremony, when the flag is lowered. In case of inclement weather, the Play Day will be canceled.
At 5 p.m., a Dutch oven dinner will be held at Barry Stadium. Tickets for this event are $20 each and can be purchased at the Fort Meade Museum, Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce and County Drug in Sturgis. Tickets must be purchased in advance and will not be sold at the event.
A free concert of music and poetry by Jan and Collin Wood is at 6 p.m., followed by the closing ceremony and flag retreat at 7 p.m. In case of inclement weather, the dinner and concert will be at the Sturgis Community Center.