Black Hills State University - 1913

Posted by Brian Gevik on
Grade School Students at Spearfish Normal School - 1913
Historical Footprints

The history of Black Hills State University as a public educational institution begins with an act passsed by the Dakota Territorial Legislature in 1881 and a provisional appropriation of building funds in 1883: If Spearfish and surrounding communities could obtain at least forty acres of land and hand over the deed to the Territorial government, the legislature would fund the construction of a school, "the exclusive purpose of which (would) be the instruction of persons both male and female in the art of teaching and in all the various branches that pertain to a good common school education."

The name of the institution has changed many times over the years and at times it has had more than one name:

  • 1883 - Dakota Territorial Normal School
  • 1885-1922 - Spearfish Normal ("Dakota Normal" and "State Normal")
  • 1941 - Black Hills Teachers College
  • 1964 - Black Hills State College
  • 1989 - Black Hills State University
Film shot in 1913 shows students and faculty marching out and lining up in front of the main campus buildings of the time.

  Fayette L. Cook image - 1913Fayette L. Cook, President of Spearfish Normal from 1885 - 1919 is easily identified in the 1913 film.image of Fayette L. Cook, 1916President Cook in 1916. Cook served as President Emeritus from 1919 until his death in 1922.Courtesy: BHSUPortrait_of_Fayette_L_Cook-1887.jpgState Normal School President Fayette L. Cook, 1887Courtesy: BHSU

  Spearfish Normal School Admin Building 1913The Normal School administration building is one of the buildings seen in the 1913 film.school_on_fire-web.jpgOn January 13, 1925, a fire destroyed the old administration buildingCourtesy: BHSUschool_burned_2-web.jpgWhat remained of the building was demolished.Courtesy: BHSU

 

BHSU-Arch2014CU.jpgThe stone doorway is all that remains of the old Spearfish Normal School administration building.image of the spearfish normal school admin building doorwayThe portico was preserved and moved to a spot near the BHSU track.

Black Hills State University has grown over the years and it's central mission has expanded. The institution's 2014 mission statement says the school provides "undergraduate (associate and baccalaureate) programs in the arts, humanities, education, behavioral sciences, mathematics, social sciences, natural sciences, business and technology as well as selected disciplines of strength at the graduate level."

A school-ready video clip and teacher's guide are available in SDPB's Digital Learning Library.

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