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On Jan. 20, the Fall River Historical Society will host its 13th annual Fall River County History Conference from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Mueller Center.

The conference is the Pioneer Museum’s primary fundraiser of the year, typically raising around $1,500 that is often used for matching grants.

Attendees are sure to get their money’s worth as the society has once again put together a great lineup of speakers including another appearance from Tom Farrell of Wind Cave.

According to Joan Howard, current president of the historical society, Farrell and his Wind Cave presentations have become a crowd-favorite. Howard has high praise for Farrell, who this year will be speaking about the Civilian Conservation Corps’ role in the building of Wind Cave National Park.

“Most people have a slideshow…and they’ll look at the slides, and click through the slides as they speak,” says Howard. But Farrell, she says, is a little different. “The slides go automatically and he keeps talking and he has it timed so the slides and his talk are exactly synchronized…he’s really good.”

Indeed, Farrell is known not only for his talents as a speaker, but for his extensive knowledge of all things Wind Cave.

Those registered to attend will also be treated to a visit from the infamous Calamity Jane, portrayed by local actress Irene Fleming.

“It adds a little more life if we have someone in character,” says Howard regarding Fleming’s presentation. Howard says with a laugh that she’s scheduled “Jane” right after lunch to keep the crowd energized.

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The society plans to have about six speakers in addition to Farrell and Fleming, including Stu Marty, who will be discussing his ancestor Joe Marty who was the first sheriff of Fall River County; long-time Hot Springs resident Russell Wyatt speaking about early radios, electricity, and dance halls; and Dawn Johnson who will be discussing the history of Sister’s Hospital.

Registration is still available and costs $30 for early registration, or $40 the day of. Those attending will be treated to a lunch of pork loin, and will have the opportunity to win a lifetime membership to the historical society just for registering. Other door prizes will also be raffled.

Those wishing to register can visit the Mueller Center, go online to, or mail a check to the Pioneer Museum, PO Box 361, Hot Springs SD 57747.

If you can’t make this one-of-a-kind event, a recording will be available for purchase at the museum after about a month or two according to Howard.

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