Section B: Obstacles
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PRESS & DAKOTAN SATURDAY, AUGUST 6, 2011 YANKTON 150: PAGE 3B P&D ARCHIVE PHOTO This photo shows a dust storm approaching the region. Such storms were common threats during the harshest days of the so-called Dirty Thirties. (From the book Yankton: The Way It Was! by Bob Karolevitz) A Dark Age: Yankton And The Dirty Thirties History, Federal Survey Indicates. According to the article, high temperatures, low precipitation and infestations of grasshopAsk any South Dakotan who is pers made for the worst June in old enough to remember life during the 1930s, and they will invari- South Dakota s agricultural history. While corn fared the best, ably close their eyes, think for a wheat, oat, barley, potato and rye minute, then tell you: We call them the good old days, but times production averaged about 20 percent of normal numbers. were hard. What stands out most in the Hard, as in earth hard from minds of those who survived the lack of rain, the hard backs of 1930s, however, grasshoppers, and hard luck. ... I remember one after- are the dust storms. InterHowever, denoon, a dust storm came views with sevtermination and the pioneer up about 2 or 3 o clock in eral residents of Avera Yankspirit was just ton Care Center as prevalent as the afternoon. It was so yielded vivid the motes of dark you couldn t see memories of dust collecting on windowsills. across the room. We had the storms. Clara Vavra, While most to light all our lamps, it media attention was that thick with dust. who grew up in Tripp, recalled, was given to There was so states further FERN SCHNIDER much dust in south such everything. It as Oklahoma, was so hard to do anything, beKansas, and Arkansas South cause you would go and you d Dakota was not immune to the clean the windowsills and stuff drought and dust storms that characterize the era. High temper- like that in the house and everything, and in a few minutes or an atures and little rainfall left many hour, it was so bad, it didn t help farmers in Yankton and the surrounding counties with little or no at all. One day it got so bad, the clouds were just black, and it was viable crops, which in turn meant so still everyone thought there no feed for hogs or cattle, and, of was going to be a tornado. It was course, no income. a dust storm on the way. When it would rain, there was Fern Schnider, who lived 3 1/2 usually hail and wind accompanymiles west of Irene, remembered, ing it, damaging what crops had I was about 12 years old, and I remanaged to survive, as well as member one afternoon, a dust outbuildings on farm properties. storm came up about 2 or 3 o There were also plagues of grasshoppers chomping their way clock in the afternoon. It was so through what the sun and the hail dark you couldn t see across the room. We had to light all our didn t get. A July 13, 1933, headline in the lamps, it was that thick with dust. Press and Dakotan read: Failure Mildred Holec clearly rememOf Small Grain Worst In State s BY KATIE GLEICH PHOTO: SOUTH DAKOTA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY The disastrous, terrifying 1930s Dust Bowl, the effects of which were felt throughout the Great Plains, had a powerful impact on land and people. This photo was taken in south-central South Dakota and reflects the devastation of the drought, aggravated by land-use practices that offered no protection for the soil. The Press & Dakotan We offer many opportunities for all age groups! PHOTO: DAKOTA TERRITORIAL MUSEUM Thousands of people flocked to Gurney s Pancake Days, a free all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage feast held during the company s fall festival. Besides helping people out with its free feeds, Gurney s was a steady employer during the Great Depression. bered a series of dust storms while growing up 12 miles south of Dante. The mornings would start real nice you know, sunny; then probably around 10 o clock it started getting darker and darker. You d look up at the sky and the sun was getting clouded up with dust. Then you knew a dust storm was coming. Holec continued, One time it hit about noon, and the chickens were going home to roost because it was so dark. But they couldn t get to the chicken house because the dust would fill their eyes and they couldn t see. I remember my dad and I had to pick them up, and we d have to clean their eyes and put them in the hen house. Yankton wasn t immune to the dust storms. In describing one particularly terrible storm, an article in the Nov. 13, 1933, issue of the Press and Dakotan stated: During the peak of the storm, day was literally turned into night, the sun being completely obscured and darkness settling over the entire landscape. ... Cars were driven with headlights on, which showed as through a dense fog, and street lights were turned on. A peculiar feature of the phenomenon was the appearance of a bright blue halo at the top where the sun was attempting to shine through. The whole scene was weird and eerie, and even a bit disturbing for many people. The wind reached a velocity of be- tween 40 and 50 miles an hour here during the height of the storm. Housewives were appalled at the way fine dust drifted and settled in to cover everything, driving through even the most closely weather-stripped windows. Holec related another tragic story all too common for the era: It wasn t just one year, it was year after year it seemed like. I can t remember how many years it lasted, she said. But I do remember in 1934 that was the driest year. The grain got about four or five inches high, and it would start drying up. There was no hay, there was no grain for the cattle to eat that winter, except the Russian thistle. That flourished, so my dad and my brothers cut the Russian thistle and stacked them. I remember Dad would put down a layer of thistle, then a layer of salt, and stack it so the cattle would have something to eat during the winter. That s all my dad had for feed for the cattle. The cattle liked it, but it just kept them alive. The milk cows wouldn t give any milk. And then in the spring of 35, after eating that Russian thistle all winter long, the cows went out into the pasture and ate that fresh green grass; it was too rich for them and they died. My dad lost sixty head of his nicest cattle. The saddest part of it was, Holec continued, my two sisters were married and lived a little north of Dante, and that was only 12 miles away. They had rains where they could raise hay and sorghum for their cattle. They didn t dry up like we did. Schnider added, Times were hard you d just hope and pray that you d get a crop. When farmers did get a crop, they also had to pray it would make it to harvest. Oh, the grasshoppers, Schnider said. There were a lot of grasshoppers. My mother would hang our clothes out on the line, and she would watch them until the grasshoppers came, and then she d bring them in and hang them around the doors and tables to finish drying. ... The grasshoppers would eat most anything. Vavra remembered, The grasshoppers were so bad, they d fly and they d sit on you, and no matter what you d do, they d DUST BOWL | PAGE 18B Archery.... And So Much More Trained Coaches Fun Atmosphere State-of-the-Art Facilities Classrooms Available for Rent Special Events & Gatherings, such as... Archery-themed Birthday Parties Group Pottery Classes Zumba classes for ages 4 to 104!! BB Gun Pottery Painting Trap Shooting Indoor Archery Outdoor Archery TaeKwonDo Aerobics 800 Archery Lane Yankton, SD 605-260-9282 Drawing
A Dark Age: Yankton And The "Dirty Thirties"
A Dark Age: Yankton And The "Dirty Thirties"
Dust Bowl
Archery..... And So Much More
NFAA Easton Yankton Archery Complex
800 Archery Lane
Phone: 605-260-9282