Hot Springs, South Dakota

So … we’re in the center of Hot Springs, South Dakota, walking around to stretch our legs, turn a corner ….

right into a Close Encounter, all right –


with 161 steps!

“You’re kidding, right? Are we really ascending those stairs?” I ask David.

“Yep. Why not? We have some time to kill. I wonder what’s up there.”

Up, up, up, we go. 77 stairs later


we’re halfway up. We drop onto a bench to rest and then ascend the next 84 stairs to the top. Whew!


Great view! Hilly, dreamy, lightheaded Hot Springs.

Further up on top we discover a massive three-story brick building. Impeccably preserved.


It was a grade school established in 1893.


and is now the Pioneer Museum.


The Principal’s office


now houses a 1900 state-of-the-art kitchen.


Complete with a wood-burning stove and wooden ice box.

Every classroom contains a different early 1900’s exhibit


illuminated by daylight streaming through stately magnificent windows. (I might have ended up at Harvard if I had started my education at this Elementary school.)

We’re in the center hall on the second floor now.

Every 1900’s woman needs a spinning wheel


or two.

Save your old clothing and every scrap of fabric to braid into your living room rug.

Every home needs a big ol’ piano, too, don’t you think?


You know, in the least, as a piece of handsome furniture handy for displaying family photos. If you do play, you might consider the piano rule we have at our house, which is, not to spend more time dusting the piano than you (I) actually spend playing the piano. Just a thought. A piano this size might require some pretty heavy dusting, is all I’m sayin’…

Here we have a crazy quilt


The visual for ‘Inside a woman’s brain’ in 1903?

An outer building houses 2 school bells.



Hey, this one has a rope! I should pull it! “R-R-R-I-I-I-N-N-N-G-G!” WHOA! Wish I hadn’t done that. People are exiting the main building – gawking at us. David is grimacing. Megan is holding her ears. What can I say? “School’s dismissed!”

What’s this thing? …


An iron lung!


An iron lung is an airtight metal tank that encloses all of the body except the head and forces the lungs to inhale and exhale through regulated changes in air pressure.

I had heard about iron lungs in association with polio as a young child but had never seen one until now, or even known anyone personally who had contracted polio. Although, the father of one of my second grade classmates wore braces on his legs because of muscle damage from polio. The polio virus also paralyzed muscle groups in the chest. The iron lung or ‘tank repirators’ kept people breathing artificially until they could breathe on their own, a feat that was not accomplished until 1927.

Read more about it in this link:

In the 1930’s an iron lung cost about $1500.00 – the average price of a home!

Well, time to put a wrap on this. We’re approaching our destination now – visiting our good friends, the Langerman’s, who live south of Rapid City.


Yeah, well, we have to find our way to that roof. You see it there, buried in the hillside.

Tags: , , ,

2 Responses to “Hot Springs, South Dakota”

  1. Karen Blaker Says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful photos and trip. I enjoyed following along with you even as you climbed the steps. How long was the drive?

    • Jody Caraher Says:

      Well, it is a 600-mile drive from Idaho Falls to Rapid City, South Dakota – you can do it in 10-12 hours. It might seem longer since I wrote uh, 4 or 5 blogs to get us there. WE left mid-morning on Thursday, stayed overnight in Casper, Wyoming, goofed around in Hot Springs on Friday and arrived in Hermosa (south of Rapid City) about 5 PM Friday. It was a wonderful trip!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: