South Dakota Threshermen Building History-Town


| March/April 1967

  • Rumely Oil Pull
    Courtesy of Dana C. Jennings, 216 NW 7. Madison, South Dakota 57042 A 1912 Rumely Oil Pull attracts visitors to the village fund drive headquarters.
    Dana C. Jennings
  • The Greater Madison Chamber
    Courtesy of Dana C. Jennings, 216 NW 7. Madison, South Dakota 57042 The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce suddenly discovered 10,000 people were gathered - 14 miles out of town. Their efforts to draw subsequent crowds into town gave rise to the Prairie
    Dana C. Jennings
  • Getting there and back
    Courtesy of Dana C. Jennings, 216 NW 7. Madison, South Dakota 57042 Getting there and back can be a problem.
    Dana C. Jennings
  • Models amused children
    Courtesy of Dana C. Jennings 216 NW 7. Madison, South Dakota 57042 A solid acre of working models amused children of all ages.
    Dana C. Jennings
  • Antique engines
    Courtesy of Dana C. Jennings, 216 NW 7. Madison, South Dakota 57042 Headquarters displays antique engines, X-rays, radios.
    Dana C. Jennings
  • Steam Threshing
    Courtesy of Dana C. Jennings, 216 NW 7, Madison, South Dakota 57042 Every kind of working model appears at the annual Steam Threshing Jamboree.
    Dana C. Jennings
  • Six engines threshed grain
    Courtesy of Dana C. Jennings, 216 NW 7, Madison, South Dakota 57042 Six engines threshed grain. More are expected at the 1966 Jamboree, August 24-26, at Madison, South Dakota.
    Dana C. Jennings
  • Steam plowing
    Courtesy of Dana C. Jennings, 216 NW 7. Madison, South Dakota 57042 Steam plowing was something few visitors had ever seen.
    Dana C. Jennings

  • Rumely Oil Pull
  • The Greater Madison Chamber
  • Getting there and back
  • Models amused children
  • Antique engines
  • Steam Threshing
  • Six engines threshed grain
  • Steam plowing

216 NW 7, Madison, S. Dakota, 57042

Ten thousand people swarmed across the stubble fields and pastures of a farm 14 miles north of Madison, seat of rural Lake Country, South Dakota. Biggest thing ever to happen to the county, mused the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce - and here it was, miles out of town. What can we do to bring these 10,000 people into town?

Attracting the crowd was the third annual Eastern South Dakota Threshermen's Steam Threshing Jamboree. Suddenly the C/C decided to give the event some sponsorship. Previously their attitude had been that if they'd ignore it, it might go 'way. Suddenly they awoke to the opportunity which had been tickling their noses for three years while they snored soundly on.

Upshot of a long winter of discussion was the transformation of the Eastern South Dakota Threshermen's Association into the Prairie Historical Association, Inc., which immediately launched a drive for $100,000 to build a pioneer village adjoining Madison.



Members promptly assembled small barrel engines of an early date, an ox yoke, an early hand-cranked washing machine, a battery radio and other items of the pioneer past. They installed a secretary and a telephone, printed brochures and got the drive on the road.

The hunt for land turned up the availability of 130 acres in an ideal spot: immediately west of the city limits, fronting U.S. 81 - S.D. 34 and between the highway and Lake Herman State Park, the second most popular tourist attraction in the state.