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

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.