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Born: May 22, 1848
Died: November 2, 1919

Mayoral Dates: 1882-1883


John R. Brennan was born in Kilkenny, Ireland, on May 22, 1848. He was three years old when his parents came to this country during the potato famine and settled in Iowa. It is not known if he attended school past the eighth grade, but records show that he attended school in Wisconsin and later Bryant and Stratton Business College in St. Louis in 1867. His employment was working in and managing hotels in Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City and Denver.

With the discovery of gold in the Black Hills, Brennan left his position as manager of the American House in Denver in the fall of 1875 and headed for the Hills. He named and placer mined for a time at Palmer Gulch. Not finding it all that profitable, he and a group of men left Palmer Gulch with the intent of founding a "second Denver" somewhere along Rapid Creek. On February 24, 1876, they arrived near the present location of the Black Hills Packaging Company, where they camped overnight. The following day, they decided on an area one mile square and staked out what was to be Rapid City.

Brennan built Rapid City's first hotel, a 12'x14' log cabin with one sleeping room. There is a story told that when a customer ordered a meal, they said Brennan hollered the order through a window to an imaginary cook, went to a store and, with credit, got groceries, then cooked and served the order. In 1878, Brennan built a hotel and named it the American House after the one he operated in Denver. This was the first hotel to have more than one room to rent.

In 1879, Ada Jane (Jennie) Leedy came to Rapid City to join her father and brothers who had a small sawmill. She came by train from Ohio to Yankton, then by boat from Yankton to Pierre and then by ox train from Pierre to Rapid City, a journey that took three weeks. John Brennan was the "catch of the town" at the time and, in December of 1881, he and Jennie were married. They had three children: John Jr. (who died in infancy), Ruth and Paul.

Mr. Brennan built the showplace of the Black Hills on the corner of Seventh and Main--The Harney Hotel in 1885--and he and Mrs. Brennan personally managed it. The road signs for the hotel read, "Water closet on every floor."

In his spare time, Brennan was a member of the first village board of trustees, president of the first City Council, first postmaster, member and later president of the first School of Mines board, stage and Union Pacific agent in Rapid City, Pennington County Superintendent of Schools, vice-president of the First National Bank of Rapid City and railroad commissioner for the state of South Dakota.

He was fire chief for several years and president of the Black Hills Firemen's Association. He left the bell that sits outside of the main fire station as a gift to the city. The inscription on the bell read: "John R. Brennan, Chief." The date of casting the bell was 1888. It was used to call the volunteers to a fire in the city or ring out the hour at noon.

He introduced and developed the first stage and express line into Rapid City. When the community decided to build its first cultural center (Library Hall), John Brennan donated the land. He was a stockholder in the First National Bank and served as vice president. He also owned a 500-acre farm in Rapid Valley. He was a veteran of the Civil War.

In 1900, he was appointed superintendent of the Pine Ridge Reservation and served in that capacity for 17 years. Both he and Mrs. Brennan were very well liked and respected by the people of the reservation.

The Brennans moved back to Rapid City in 1917 and purchased a house on the corner of Kansas City and Sixth Street. Mr. Brennan died November 2, 1919. He was considered the leading citizen of the Black Hills.
Born: August 9, 1850
Died: May 13, 1916

Mayoral Dates: 1883-1884

Fred E. Stearns was born in Canaan, New Hampshire on August 9, 1850. His father had been prominent in railroad construction work in Hocking Valley, Ohio. Stearns worked as a conductor with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, resigning after three years to take a position with the Toledo division of the Hocking Valley Railroad.

Fred E. Stearns located a ranch at the mouth of Spring Creek and delivered beef to the Army post at Fort Meade in 1880.

He married Mary E. Cotton in Marietta, Ohio, on January 6, 1881. They came to Rapid City soon after and made their home at the corner of Kansas City and Seventh Streets. Stearns sold their home to John Brennan in 1884.

He was in partnership with M. M. Patterson with the banking firm of Lake, Halley and Patterson in 1881. On October 7, 1881, his wife passed away at age 27.

The village of Rapid City was incorporated as a city under a special charter granted by the Legislature in February 1883. On the first Tuesday in April of that year, Stearns became mayor of Rapid City.

Stearns was a member of the Black Hills Stock Association and played a leading role in the development of the industry. He was unanimously elected president of the association and empowered to pay all bills and appoint all detectives and inspectors.

After leaving Rapid City, Stearns moved to Seattle, WA where he was engaged in the building material business until 1893. At that time he returned to Ohio, later moving to Joplin, MO in 1900. Stearns remarried to Louisa Weiny in 1889 in Columbus, OH. They had one child, Anna Louisa Stearns. He established Star Laundry and was a prominent businessman in Joplin. Following Louisa's death in 1910, Stearns married Emma Gerster in 1911.

Stearns died at the age of 65 in Joplin in May 13, 1916.
Born: 1854
Died: 1920

Mayoral Dates: 1884-1886


James Halley II was born in Stirling, Scotland, in 1854, and came to the United States with his mother and brother in 1856 when he was two years old. They came by sailing vessel with their furniture and had to prepare their own food on board. His father, James I, had worked one year on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and had a home ready for his family. Later the family moved to Washington, DC.

He married Lottie Smith in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on her twentieth birthday, September 13, 1878. After a honeymoon trip to Washington to visit the Halley family, the couple returned west by rail to Sidney, Nebraska, then by stagecoach to Deadwood.

According to the registration book now in the Deadwood City Library, James Halley II had come to Deadwood in 1876 as an operator for Western Union Telegraph and had sent the first message from Deadwood to Cheyenne. In 1879, he was appointed teller of the First National Bank, thus starting his banking career. In 1880, he and two partners organized the banking house of Lake, Halley and Patterson of Rapid City, which merged into the First National Bank in 1884. By 1898, he was the president of the bank and used his office to benefit the whole community. He remained president of the bank until his death in 1920.

James and Lottie settled in the second frame house in Rapid City on the corner of Seventh and Kansas City. Their family consisted of four daughters: Helen, Francis, Charlotte and Sarah and five sons: Albert, James III, S. Russell, Walter and Donald. As the family grew, additions to the home were made, including an upstairs and twenty rooms. Their garden and apple orchard on Seventh and Quincy was later the location of the City Auditorium.

Halley operated a ranch on Box Elder Creek and had a number of other business and ranching interests. He served as mayor of Rapid City for two terms and was a senator in the Territorial Legislature, which divided Dakota Territory. He was over-ridden in his opinion that East and West would be more practical culturally and economically. Active in Republican politics, he was chosen as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1892 and 1900.

Halley was president of the Keystone and Hot Springs banks, treasurer of Rapid River Milling Company and he helped the financially troubled Crouch Line to re-coup as the Rapid City, Black Hills and Western Railroad in 1920.

He is remembered for his donations of land for West Boulevard and Halley Park. Halley Street in North Rapid was named for him.
Born: 1834
Died: 1920

Mayoral Dates: 1886-1887

Interesting Info:
- Friend of Mark Twain


Andrew Jackson Simmons was born at Crown Point, New York, in 1834. In 1836, his family moved to Indiana. At the age of 19, he joined a caravan of 70 people, including seven women, bound for the California gold fields, arriving there in October 1853. He then went to Nevada and served three terms in the territorial legislature, being speaker of the house in 1863-1864. Several years later, he moved to Montana and engaged in placer mining in Alder Gulch. He was appointed Special Indian Agent by President Grant to deal with the Indians in obtaining a right of way for the Northern Pacific Railroad, with the title "Major." He made trips to Indian reservations, negotiated with Sitting Bull and other chiefs and took a party of them to Washington in 1872. The right-of-way was obtained and Major Simmons was appointed Indian agent at Milk River Agency, Montana, in 1873.

He was married November 11, 1873, to Kate Elizabeth Coates and, shortly thereafter, went to San Francisco to reside. Here he engaged in mining enterprises. In 1878, he came to Deadwood and became interested in several mining projects. The family moved to Rapid City in 1881 and built a residence in the Simmons block, which was located between 8th and 9th and Quincy and Columbus Streets. In 1882, he purchased a homestead tract of 160 acres adjoining the original town site of Rapid City and moved there. He served as alderman and mayor and participated actively in efforts to get the School of Mines established in Rapid City. An act creating this was passed by the territorial legislature in 1885 and the school was located on a five-acre tract donated by Major Simmons and William Steele. He became president of the first board of trustees of the school.

Major Simmons gave land to the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad for a depot site and yards and erected a number of business buildings on his land, including the two-story brick Park Hotel. The first train arrived there on July 5, 1886. This location was half a mile from the business section of Rapid City at that time. The city failed to make anticipated growth and a number of years later the railroad moved its station to the business section.

In 1897, he returned to Deadwood to reside and engaged in mining enterprises. He made the first public announcement of the discovery of tin in the Black Hills. He and three other men were the first owners of the Etta mine. Later he moved to Denver. Major Simmons died in Denver in 1920 and is buried in Mt. Moriah Cemetery.
Born: October 2, 1855
Died: June 14, 1934

Mayoral Dates: 1887-1888


John F. Schrader was born on October 2, 1855, in Utica, New York. In April 1880, he arrived in Rapid City from Utica and started his law practice. Schrader and Gramberg built a building in July 1880. He moved his office to St. Joseph Street in 1882. He married Elizabeth J. "Bette" Williamson on September 14, 1884, at Galveston, Texas. They had three children.

On May 16, 1881, several Masons met in Lewis Hall to discuss the possibility of forming a new Masonic Lodge. These Masons agreed to petition the Grand Lodge of Dakota Territory for a dispensation to form a Lodge with John F. Schrader as its Worshipful Master. A charter was granted to Rapid City Lodge No. 25 on June 15, 1882. Schrader served as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota in 1884. In June 1886, Schrader served as the Black Hills Chapter #25 Royal Arch Masons' first high priest.

The Christian Order of Masonry had its beginnings in Rapid City when a small group of Knights Templar met in Schrader's law office on July 2, 1886. They agreed to petition the Grand Commandery of Dakota Territory for permission to form a Commandery of Knights Templar. They asked that the Commandery be named in honor of Sir Knight John Schrader who had already distinguished himself as one of the prominent Masons of Dakota Territory. The Grand Commander issued the requested dispensation on August 5, 1886, and appointed Sir Knight Elwood F. Doty as the first Eminent Commander. After World War II, the Schrader Commandery increased dramatically and is now the largest Commandery in South Dakota.

In August 1886, he and C. F. Lewis became law partners. Mr. Schrader was state's attorney of Pennington County, mayor in April 1887 and held other positions of trust. He also represented his district in the state legislature as a member of the Senate.
Mr. Schrader died June 14, 1934.
Born: 1856
Died: March 7, 1891

Mayoral Dates: 1888-1890


David H. Clark was born in Athens, Ohio, in 1856. The family moved to Fairfield, Iowa, where he lived until he was 15 years old. His family then moved to Kansas City. Clark learned the cattle business while in the employ of the Sheidley Brothers and they later financed him in Dakota when the Black Hills ranges opened. Clark brought the Flying V herd to the French Creek in 1880 and later moved it to the Cheyenne River range.

Clark married a Miss Gifford on November 9, 1880, in Ogallala, Nebraska, and they then moved to Rapid City. He located a meat market on Sixth Street near Main Street and, in April 1882, he sold it to L. C. Stoltzenburg.

He was elected to the county commission and resigned that position in June 1883 due to his increased business responsibilities at the Flying V ranch. His freedom from civic duty was short-lived. He was elected president of the Pennington County Fair Association, which promoted the farm and ranch interests of the region. He was also an early president of the Black Hills Livestock Association. In 1888, he became mayor of Rapid City. Clark was a stockholder in the First National Bank and involved in the Rapid River Milling Company and the Rapid City Electric and Gas Light Company. He ran for the office of state senator, Republican, and won by a large majority.

His work in securing votes for passage of the Hide Law was Dave Clark's last contribution to the Dakota cattle industry. The bill became law on February 19 and Clark died in Pierre of a respiratory ailment on March 7 as the 1891 session ended. He was 35 years old at the time of his death. His obituary disclosed that he owned one-fifth of the stock of the Sheidley Cattle Co. and "he made the company all it was." His estate, estimated to be about $200,000, was left to his wife. His young daughter, Grace, preceded him in death in February 1887.

James Woods, who succeeded Clark as mayor, was appointed to bring home the body of Clark. Also among the escorts were John R. Brennan, representing the Knights of Pythias of which Clark was a member; A. C. Boland, James Halley, and Tom Sweeney, to name a few. Clark's wife, his son David, and Thomas Tomb of the Sheidley Cattle Co. met the train in Nebraska as Clarks' body was being returned to Rapid City. The City Council passed a memorial resolution and Rapid City's business places were draped in mourning on the day of Clark's funeral. The Journal reported "the funeral procession was the largest ever seen in this city." Mr. Clark is buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Rapid City.
Born: April 24, 1836
Died: May 13, 1907

Mayoral Dates: 1890-1894


James Moses Woods, sometimes spelled Wood, was born in Boone County, Missouri, April 24, 1836. He was educated in the schools in Boone County and attended the State University. He moved to Colorado in 1851 and then to Salt Lake City, Utah. On June 1, 1858, he married Matilda C. Stone. They had ten children. He was in the freighting business until 1870 when he went to Nebraska City, Nebraska, to farm until 1876. He organized a train and made an expedition to the Black Hills by way of Kearney, Nebraska. It arrived in Custer in April 1876 and then traveled to Deadwood. On May 10, 1876, they started for Rapid City. He freighted from Pierre to Deadwood for a time. He opened the Miners and Merchants Bank in Deadwood and made his home there until 1883.

In 1883, he came to Rapid City and bought tracts of land, some on Elk Creek and other localities. He operated a saddle shop and clothing store. He began bringing large cattle herds from Texas, as many as twenty thousand in a season. This began a huge cattle empire in this area. In 1883, he formed the Woods, White and Woods Cattle Company in partnership with his brother, W. S. Woods, president of the National Bank of Commerce in Kansas City, and C. J. White of that city. They capitalized for one million dollars, purchased a herd of steers from John Little and placed them on Elk Creek and the Belle Fourche River. The company's brand was a fishhook and, by 1885, its herds numbered more than 20,000 head.

Jim Woods and Milt Frease organized the first horse round up in 1887 starting at Brennan Station. In 1891, he bought a ranch in Rapid Valley on Rapid Creek and irrigated. The Omaha Bee described him as possessing "a fortune of upwards of $500,000" which he acquired as manager of the Woods, White and Woods Cattle Co. He was one of the founders of the Pennington County Bank and had stock in the First National Bank.
James Woods was the first Democrat to be elected mayor of Rapid City and served two terms. His documents as mayor of Rapid City were signed "Woods", but most of the time, people referred to him as James Wood. As mayor, Woods did his best to keep Rapid City the kind of town the cowboys liked to visit on their frequent trips in from the ranges. However, he didn't want anything about the wide-open saloons on the official record. When a newly appointed city marshal appeared before the council to report he had a large amount of money collected from the saloons, Woods told him there were no saloons in Rapid City.

On April 26, 1891, the Black Hills Horse Breeders Association was organized in the Harney Hotel and Woods was elected president. When South Dakota's representative in Congress died in office, Woods was the Democratic nominee in the special election held in the fall of 1891 to pick a successor. He ran a poor third, carrying only one county. He was instrumental in forming the Western Stock Growers Association, serving as the first president for seventy days, from Feb 20, 1892, to April 21, 1892.
Born: April 20, 1851
Died: January 14, 1911

Mayoral Dates: 1894-1896, 1899-1900 & 1908-1910


Chauncey Lynch Wood was born in Jones County, Iowa, April 20, 1851. There were six children in the family and his father died when he was nine years old. He attended college at Cornell College in Iowa and studied for the bar at Iowa State University. After a brief career as a school teacher, Wood traveled to the Black Hills in April 1878 to join school mate J.W. Nowlin. Nowlin and Wood eventually developed one of the most extensive law practices in the Black Hills under the name of 'Nowlin & Wood'.

In 1886, he married Ruth Robinson. Born to this union were two sons, Buell and Ben. For twenty years, Chauncey L. Wood had been a conspicuous figure in the political history of the Black Hills. He was a leader in the Democratic Party of Dakota. He was a profound lawyer, a powerful and eloquent pleader, and his name stood high among the leading attorneys of the state. Because of his knowledge of constitutional law, he was selected as one of the delegates to represent the Black Hills at the Constitutional Convention held in Sioux Falls on July 4, 1889. At this convention, he helped frame a constitution for the new state of South Dakota, which was admitted to the union.

In 1888, Ruth died and, on August 7, 1894, he married Mrs. Bessie Frank. In 1906, Bessie's mother moved to Seattle, Washington, and Bessie went out there to visit her and stayed there most of the time. Chauncey would visit them often. In late December 1910, he went to Seattle, and on January 14, 1911, he died.

Chauncey L. Wood was three-time mayor of Rapid City.
Born: February 14, 1949
Died: June 6, 1939

Mayoral Dates: 1896-1898


Dr. Valentine Trant O'Connell M'Gillycuddy (also spelled McGillycuddy) was one of the most diversified and controversial residents of Pennington County. He was born to Irish immigrants in Racine, Wisconsin, on February 14, 1849, (Valentine's Day). At age twenty, he graduated from the Detroit Medical School, which was connected to a Marine hospital. After practicing medicine for a year and teaching at the Medical College, he got a job with the geodetic survey working on Lake Michigan. A weak heart prompted him to seek the exercise and fresh air that government expeditions in the West would provide, so he came to the Black Hills as a doctor and mapmaker for the Jenney-Newton Expedition in 1875. While on the expedition, M'Gillycuddy met Calamity Jane who entertained him with fantastic stories of her life. While on his way from Cheyenne to Washington, DC, he detoured to Detroit and married Fanny Hoyt.

M'Gillycuddy is credited with the discovery of the original warm mineral springs in Hot Springs and being the first man to make it to the top of Harney Peak while on this exploration party. Because of his mustache that drooped to a length of two inches below the corners of his mouth, the Sioux named him "Putin hi chikala" or "Little Whiskers."

While stationed at Fort Robinson as a surgeon and holding the rank of major in 1876-77, he developed a good relationship with the Lakota people, becoming a friend of Crazy Horse, but was a thorn in the side of Red Cloud, who considered him an upstart. In September 1877, when Crazy Horse was tricked into surrendering at Fort Robinson and then bayoneted by a white guard, it was M'Gillycuddy who stayed with him, gave him morphine, and insisted that the Chief be allowed to die in the adjutant's office instead of in the guard house. The white doctor who had taken care of the dying Crazy Horse was henceforth known as "Tasunka Witko Kola", "Crazy Horse's Friend." In 1879, M'Gillycuddy was ironically appointed Indian Agent at Red Cloud's agency, where he stayed for seven years. A stickler for discipline and acknowledging the difference between officers and those of lower rank, he organized a police force at Pine Ridge and, among other things, enforced heretofore-sporadic attendance at the reservation school.

After several years of cold war with Red Cloud, M'Gillycuddy was replaced during the Cleveland administration by Captain James Bell of Custer's old Seventh Cavalry. The M'Gillycuddy's left Pine Ridge and moved to Rapid City in 1886. They built a large house with fancy Victorian architecture. It had a red sandstone base and was topped with an olive-green roof. He became president of the Lakota Bank and the Governor appointed him Surgeon General. In 1889, he was elected to the SD Constitutional Convention and, in that capacity, served on a joint committee to settle the affairs of North and South Dakota when they became states in 1889. He also found time to organize the Hydroelectric Power Company in Rapid City and undertook supervision of its construction, which enabled him to work outside again and to experiment with static electricity.

Prior to the Battle of Wounded Knee in 1890, M'Gillycuddy returned to Pine Ridge as official observer for the governor of South Dakota, but could not prevent the events that were to happen. After the battle, he volunteered his time to provide medical care for the wounded survivors. M'Gillycuddy was asked many times who was responsible for the Wounded Knee Massacre otherwise known as the Messiah War. His answer was: "Whoever fired the first shot. After that, nothing short of the Almighty could have stopped the killing."

Throughout his life, M'Gillycuddy held many responsible positions. He served as Medical Inspector for the Mutual Life Insurance Company. He was president of the South Dakota School of Mines at Rapid City from 1892-1897 and, under his leadership, the school expanded and added much needed engineering equipment. He was elected mayor of Rapid City in 1896, but resigned in 1898 after his wife, Fanny, died in 1897. He later moved to California and married his second wife, Julia Blanchard, whom he had known as a little girl at Pine Ridge.

When near seventy, he traveled all the way to Alaska to treat victims of the flu epidemic in 1918. He died at age 90, June 6, 1939, in San Francisco. The next day, the Pine Ridge flag flew at half-mast. On October 17, 1940, sixty-five years and eighty days from the day the young topographer was the first white man to set foot on Harney Peak, his ashes were buried on this highest peak overlooking the panorama of the Black Hills and the high plains sweeping down to Pine Ridge. A small box with his ashes is mortared into the stone stairway of the lookout tower with this inscription:

Valentine T. McGillycuddy—Wasicu Wakan*
*Holy White Man
Born: January 16, 1854
Died: March 19, 1953

Mayoral Dates: 1898-1899


George B. Mansfield was born January 16, 1854, in New Haven, Connecticut. He lived there until he was 16 years old, when he went to Chicago where he had a brother living. He entered the employ of a wholesale grocery firm there. One of that firm's customers was a grocer in Rapid City who owed the wholesaler a lot of money, and in 1883, the company sent George Mansfield to Rapid City to collect the account. Mr. Mansfield had to take over the grocery store, which was in a building on Main Street where the installment department of the First National Bank is now located. He ran the store for nearly two years before closing it out.

On September 4, 1884, George married Mary (Addie) Robinson of Rapid City. After closing out the grocery store for the Chicago wholesale firm, Mr. Mansfield went back to Chicago for a short time and was sent to Dubuque, Iowa, for the company. While he and his wife lived there for a few years, their two children were born, Richard and Ruth.

Mr. Mansfield had liked Rapid City the first time he saw it in 1883 and he and his family returned here to make their home a few years after they first left the Black Hills town. Their first home in Rapid City was on the corner of Quincy and Eighth Street. Later they moved to a house on the north side of St. Joe Street in the 900 block and, in the early 1900s, they moved into the house at the corner of St. Joe and West Boulevard, which was their home for the rest of their lives.

He owned Hub Realty from 1889-1898 and opened the Gate City Grocery at the turn of the century. He was agent for Fred Evans of Hot Springs who organized a company that established a one-horse trolley to run from the railroad station at the east end of Main Street to the Harney Hotel.

In 1886, Mr. Mansfield was one of a group of 48 merchants who founded the Rapid City Board of Trade. Later this organization became the Commercial Club and today it is the Chamber of Commerce. George Mansfield was one of its most active members for many years and his record of membership is the longest in the history of that organization.

In 1907, he and John C. Haines, L. A. Russell and Judge Levi McGee, organized the Dakota Power Company. They bought a small hydroelectric plant from Al Emerick and, about two years later, built the plant at Big Bend. The long flume that was a familiar sight in Rapid Canyon for many years, carried water down the canyon to provide power for the Big Bend plant. That plant furnished electricity for Rapid City for many years before a plant was built in Rapid City and diesel engines installed. When the company was incorporated and the name changed to the Black Hills Power and Light Company, Mr. Mansfield retained an interest in it, was active in the affairs of the firm for some years, and later continued in an advisory capacity. It was only the last few months of his life that he did not make regular trips to the power company's offices, and his desk there. His keen memory and analytical mind was one of the major assets to the company and to local attorneys. In the early days of the power company, many records were entrusted to memory. Mansfield was usually the deciding authority in a dispute. Lawyers frequently dropped in to get information on old homestead titles. He could give the dates of early day happenings without reference to any histories or other sources.

Mr. Mansfield served as alderman from the second ward during the early 1890s and, during his second term, he was appointed mayor after the resignation of Dr. V. T. M'Gillycuddy. He was elected mayor in 1898. In 1910, he was director of the federal census in the West River district. He was active in the West River Historical Society and committees to trace Custer's trail. He built Dinosaur Park.
Whenever there was any movement for the promotion of Rapid City and the Black Hills, Mr. Mansfield was found in the front rank of those working to make this city a better place to live and to promote the business interest of the community. In politics, he was a Republican without compromise. He never in his lifetime voted other than the Republican ticket... except for once, (he confessed) when the party compelled him to vote for Teddy Roosevelt, the Bull-mooser, because he couldn't vote for Taft, (his name was not on the ticket).

He saw Rapid City grow from a frontier village of six or seven hundred people to a city of nearly 30,000. He watched the community grow from a "cow town" in the old west, to the metropolis of the rich empire of the West River country. He had unbounded faith in this Black Hills country and always knew it had an important future ahead. He saw horses replace oxen in the transportation of this area, saw the first automobile come to Rapid City, was here when the first airplane took to the air and watched the building and expansion of the Air Force Base. In his life time, he had seen many of the modern scientific wonders come into everyday use--telephone, radio, motor vehicles, airplanes and television. He was a survivor of the Chicago fire and had clear and vivid memories of the holocaust. Mr. Mansfield passed away on March 19, 1953, at the age of 99 years. He was Rapid City's oldest resident at the time of his death.
​Born: May 8, 1859
Died: February 12, 1912

Mayoral Dates: 1900-1902


Charles Wellington Brown was born May 8, 1859, in Winchester, Scott County, Illinois. He graduated from Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois, in 1881, and from Yale College in 1883.

He married Adella Gore in 1884 and they moved to Columbia, Dakota Territory. They lived there a short time when they moved to New Hartford, Connecticut, in 1885, to care for his grandmother for two years.

He came to Rapid City in 1887 and opened a law office. Charley and Adella had five children of which two sons died as infants. His love for his wife and children was deep and sincere, and he would talk about them often. He was a strong man, a deep thinker and a lawyer of great ability. He never went into a case without giving it his most careful attention.

Mr. Brown was a member of the Republican Party and was state's attorney of Pennington County for two terms. He was mayor of Rapid City for two years. He was a member of the Elks, Knights of Pythias and Yeoman orders.

Mr. Brown died February 21, 1912, at the age of 52. A few days after his death, members of the Pennington County bar association assembled in a crowded courtroom at the Pennington County Courthouse to pay final tribute to a man who, as a lawyer, grew with the growth of the state. ​
Born: November 1859
Died: January 13, 1930

Mayoral Dates: 1902-1908


Ferdinand N. Emrick was born in Germantown (Montgomery County) Ohio on November 28, 1859. He and his wife, Josephine, came to Rapid City, Dakota Territory, from Superior City, MN, about 1890. In January 1901, he built a brick and stone residence and an office on St. Joseph Street between 7th and 8th Streets.

Ferdinand was elected mayor in 1902 and served until 1908.

No history of music in the early days would be complete without mention of Dr. Emrick's opera band, which made a gala celebration of all-important events. Emrick taught everyone in the band how to play their instruments and paid for their uniforms so Rapid City would have music. The band was on hand to welcome the first train ever to reach Rapid City (Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad). It had a part in all political rallies and Fourth of July parades. Its title was Emrick's Opera Band and it graced public dances and numerous social and civic events, including the Stockmen's Days celebration in the early 1900s. It was organized and financed by Emrick, who was also a Rapid City dentist.

His dentist offices were located in the Haines Building at 6th and Main in 1912. For his time, when most dentists' philosophy was "find the ache and pull," he was an expert dentist. He could "fill" teeth, even occasionally insert them. He and his wife lived in a small, compact square brick house between what is now the First Bank of South Dakota and the old post office. No one really ever saw his wife. She rarely left the house. When she did, a heavy black veil covered her face. If someone went to call, the door was not answered. It was said she had a severe facial birthmark.

Unfortunately, in the years preceding World War I, the band was no longer in existence, but by 1918, Dr. Emrick was a spirited member of a committee promoting the Rapid City Military Band. When it had been organized and underwritten, he was right there playing a cornet under the new director, Bob Hurlbut.

Emrick served as Exalted Ruler of the Elks.
Born: August 10, 1874
Died: 1962

Mayoral Dates: 1910-1912
(Resigned August 6, 1912)


Robert J. Jackson was born in Bosanquet, Ontario, Canada, on August 10, 1874, the son of Scottish immigrants. Between 1878-1882, the family lived near Barrie. His oldest sister died of typhoid when she was 16 years old and, because of this, the family moved back to Bosanquet. School was more than four miles away, so Robert didn't start school until he was over eight years old. The family then moved to a 100-acre farm, between Thedford and Arkona. He continued his education until he was about fourteen when his brother was stricken with a lung abscess and his father was kicked by a horse. He was kept out of school to help his older brother with the spring work. His family moved once again to a rented farm a few miles from Forest where he started high school. When he turned eighteen, he was hired out on a farm near Manitoba. In the spring of 1893, his family joined him there.

He continued his school work until he got what was then known as a third class certificate, while attending a short course at the Normal School at Brandon. He passed the final exam and applied for and got the job of teaching a small school near Basswood, thirteen miles from Rapid City, Manitoba. He later received a second class certificate and taught for two seasons. The time had come when he had to make a decision on his future career. He decided to go to medical school and his decision was largely because his idol and brother's best man, Billy Campbell, had gone to a medical school in Saginaw, Michigan. This school was later taken over by the University of Detroit Medical School.

After finishing Michigan Medical College in 1902, he went to Yankton, where he stayed only six months. He came to Rapid City soon after at the request of John Young who owned a drug store. Dr. Jackson went back to Yankton and brought C. B. Baldwin (a druggist) to Rapid City and together they shared a partitioned-off room in the drug store on Seventh and Main. He was the only medical man serving the community, which had a population of about 1500 and he continued in active practice for 52 years. In 1903, he helped Calamity Jane by giving her some harmless medicine as she was evidently near the end of her life. She died about a month later.

As a coroner for twenty years, Dr. Jackson encountered many gruesome incidents. Many prospectors became discouraged and killed either themselves or someone else. For country calls, Dr. Jackson charged $1/mile one way and paid his own livery hires. Many times, he forded swollen streams or followed obscure trails through snow-covered country. Often he traveled by train, even on a handcar to Mystic in freezing weather. Automobiles came in about 1912 and from that time on it paid to know what farmers and teams were nearby to pull cars out of mud holes and creek crossings.

His wife, Jua, needed surgery and Dr. Jackson took her to Rochester, Minnesota, where the Mayo brothers operated on her. This began a lifelong friendship with the Mayo brothers in the years to come during his wife's many convalescent periods. He became a surgeon for the Chicago, Northwest Railroad and Milwaukee Lines and so had an annual pass to Rochester. He was also able to keep up with the latest and best in medical knowledge.

In 1910, he was elected mayor for five years. He never felt qualified by experience and was not always happy over the complaints about minor things, such as, some neighbors' chickens invading the other's yard. He also began to have additional medical work, so after two years, he resigned on August 6, 1912. He said he profited by the experience, though, in that he had been afflicted by stuttering in earlier life and was compelled to speak in public, which helped him overcome it.

About 1912, he had an opportunity to travel to Panama where he witnessed the beginning construction of the canal locks. He never refused to undertake these trips and rightfully earned the recognition of all as faithful, capable and sympathetic. A few days before he left, President William Taft came through the Hills. Mayor Jackson hosted a banquet in his honor and sat to the right of the President--a privilege he enjoyed very much.

His first wife, Jua, died in 1934 and Dr. Jackson married Kathryn in 1935. They made their wedding trip to Central America where Dr. Jackson and a partner had bought a tract of forested land when in Panama.

In 1932, Dr. Jackson deeded the land occupied by Canyon Lake to Rapid City with the stipulation that no motorboats would ever be permitted to disturb the peace and quiet of the new lake. By 1943, Canyon Lake was closed for swimming due to sanitary control of the water and the need to improve the disposal facilities in the watershed. This demonstrated that the lake needed to be maintained in accordance with bacteriological standards. Canyon Lake had begun to fill up with silt and efforts to clean up the lake started in the mid-1950s when Dr. Jackson urged Rapid City residents to pitch in and help with the cleanup. Later, he donated Jackson Springs to the city.

He served his community as a physician for the Indian School and on the selective service board. Dr. Jackson wrote a short story entitled "Memory's Trail" and much of this information was taken from that personal account. Dr. Jackson died in 1962.
Born: June 2, 1856
Died: March 3, 1941

Mayoral Dates: 1912-1914

Mayoral Quip

Fred H. Rugg came to Rapid City in 1891, where he was engaged in the survey of the Black Hills division of the Northwestern Railway. In 1905, he purchased all interests of the Hulst & Price Lumber Company and incorporated the business under the name of the Rugg Lumber and Coal Company becoming president and treasurer. He was also director of the First National Life and Accident Insurance Company. He was a Republican of the progressive type and a presidential elector. He served as mayor of Rapid City and was a member of the school board, serving two years as president. Fraternally, he was a Mason. He attained the Knight Templar degree in the York rite, the thirty-second degree in the Scottish Rite and was a member of the Mystic Shrine.


Fred H. Rugg was born in Claremont, New Hampshire, on June 2, 1856, the son of John H. and Abigail (Blanchard) Rugg. Fred was educated in the public schools of Claremont and pursued an advanced course in high school. In 1876, he came west and followed the profession of civil engineering in connection with various railways west of the Mississippi River. In 1883, he returned to the Midwest, settling at Cedar Rapids, Nebraska, where he was employed as a bookkeeper in the office of a flour milling company and later in a bank. In 1891, he came to Rapid City, where he was engaged in the survey of the Black Hills division of the Northwestern Railway.

Six months later, he entered the office of the Hulst & Price Lumber Company in the capacity of bookkeeper and was advanced to the position of manager. In 1905, he purchased all other interests, incorporated the business under the name of the Rugg Lumber and Coal Company, and became president and treasurer. He was also director of the First National Life and Accident Insurance Company.

On February 15, 1882, Rugg married Susan M. Perkins of Lynn, Massachusetts, the daughter of Captain A. N. Perkins, who for many years was the captain of whaling ships out of Nantucket. They had two children, Fred C. and Harold H.

In politics, Rugg was a Republican of the progressive type. He was a member of the Rapid City School Board, serving as president for two years. He was mayor of Rapid City. In 1912, he was the presidential elector on the progressive ticket. Fraternally, he was a Mason. He attained the Knight Templar degree in the York Rite, the thirty-second degree in the Scottish Rite and was a member of the Mystic Shrine. In 1914, he became grand junior warden of South Dakota.
Born: October 28, 1872
Died: December 12, 1918
(Died in Office)

Mayoral Dates: 1914-1918

Mayoral Quip

William E. Robinson was a graduate of the Louisville Medical College and received a medical degree in 1894. After practicing medicine in Milbank and Spearfish for a time, he located to Rapid City in August 1907. His offices were located in the Farlow Building at 612 St. Joseph Street. He was the founder of the hospital and had planned to add on to it. By 1912, he sold the hospital to the Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Robinson was elected to a five-year term as mayor in 1914. In 1918, an influenza epidemic hit the city and Dr. Robinson worked extremely long hours attending to many patients. He was in a state of exhaustion when he died December 2, while still serving as mayor. He was prominent in political affairs in Pennington County and was one of the leading spirits of the city.


William E. Robinson was born in South Bend, Indiana, on October 28, 1872, to John and Mary (Shipley) Robinson. William attended Indiana schools and spent one year at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Chicago. He was a graduate of the Louisville Medical College, Louisville, Kentucky, with a medical degree in 1894. He interned there and was in active practice for three years.

In 1897, he came to Big Stone, SD, and returned to Louisville in 1900. In 1901, he moved to Milbank, practicing medicine there, and later, Spearfish. He married Creta G. Daggett on September 14, 1905, in Spearfish. They had one son, True. He was associated with CMStP Railroad, Warren-Lamb Lumber Company and had a ranch at Farmingdale.

He located to Rapid City in August 1907. His offices were in the Farlow building at 612 St. Joseph Street. He and Dr. Rose of Milbank shared the offices. Dr. Robinson bought a new automobile, a Rambler with 35 hp, in April 1909, which he was very proud to own.

Since coming to Rapid City in 1907, he had been one of the most interested workers and had striven always to help make Rapid City the town that it is. He was the founder of the hospital, and in November 1910, he planned to add on to the hospital. By May 1912, he sold the hospital to the Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Church. The hospital was under the management of the Black Hills Mission of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the doctor moved to 911 - 13th Street.

He was elected to a five-year term as mayor of Rapid City in 1914. In 1918, an influenza epidemic hit the city. Many doctors were absent from the city, so Dr. Robinson had attended to a number of patients and put in much longer hours than he had been accustomed to doing. He was in a state of exhaustion when he died December 2, 1918, while still serving as mayor. His term would have expired the following April. He had been suffering for a number of years from tuberculosis.

Dr. Robinson had been prominent in political affairs in Pennington County during his residence. He was one of the leading spirits in the city and his administration as mayor had been a careful and judicious one.
Born: December 12, 1856
Died: September 2, 1940

Mayoral Dates: 1919-1920
(Resigned November 4, 1920)

Mayoral Quip

John L. Burke came west to the Black Hills, settling at Hot Springs, Dakota Territory, in 1885. He became secretary of the Dakota Hot Springs Company and, in 1890, organized the Burke Stone Company of which he was president and manager. He was called to public office in his election in 1892 when he won a seat in the House of Representatives for one term. Burke came to Rapid City in April 1903 and became the receiver of the United States Land Office. In 1908, he was appointed register of the United States Lands and held that position for six years. He was elected mayor in May of 1919. He held membership in the Masons, Elks, the Knights of Pythias and Modern Woodmen of America and always gave his political allegiance to the Republican Party.


John L. Burke was born on December 12, 1856, in Millville, Butler County, Ohio, to Addison Milton and Dorcas (Lewis) Burke. In 1885, he came west to the Black Hills, settling at Hot Springs, Dakota Territory, where he took up a homestead. He became secretary of the Dakota Hot Springs Company and, in 1890, organized the Burke Stone Company of which he was president and manager. Mr. Burke was called to public office in his election in 1892 when he won a seat in the House of Representatives for one term.

On September 21, 1893, he married Mattie Spangler. They had four children: A. Milton, J. Timon, Allan L. and Alice.

In 1894, he was chosen treasurer of Fall River County, being re-elected in 1896. In 1900, he was chosen to represent his district in the State Senate serving from 1901 until 1904.

Burke came to Rapid City, April 1, 1903, and became the receiver of the United States land office. The family arrived in June 1903 and lived in the Sweeney house. In April 1904, they moved to their new home on Quincy Street. In 1908, he received the appointment of register of the United States lands and held that position for six years. He resigned that position in May 1910 and was in partnership with E. Foster Roberts until it dissolved in June 1911.

John was elected mayor in May of 1919, resigning on November 4, 1920, after serving less than two years.

He held membership in the Masons, Elks, the Knights of Pythias and Modern Woodmen of America and always gave his political allegiance to the Republican Party.

Mr. Burke died on September 3, 1940, at the age of 83. He is buried at Mt. View Cemetery.
Born: January 31, 1879
Died: August 1949

Mayoral Dates: 1920-1922


Claude E. Gray was born January 31, 1879, near Troy, Iowa. He was the son of James Herbert and Maria (Cox) Gray. He was educated in Southern Iowa Normal in Bloomfield, Iowa, and received his teaching certificate at 18 years. He then taught for three years. He took a business course at the Gem City Business College, in Quincy, Illinois. In 1902, he worked at the Centerville Black Coal Company in Centerville, Iowa, and in 1903, he worked for E. H. Schoeman Construction Company. He worked for the same company in Sioux City.

Claude married Florence Lucille Spooner at Centerville, Iowa, on June 22, 1905, and they had three daughters.

Claude accepted a job with the Warfield-Pratt-Howell Company in Sioux City, Iowa, and moved to Lake Preston, South Dakota. The family lived there until 1911.

The family came to Rapid City and Claude helped organize the Black Hills Wholesale Grocery Company. He served as its president and general manager. The company was located in the old Crouch Line depot in August 1912.

He served as mayor of Rapid City, the first mayor under the City Manager Plan. He belonged to the Commercial Club, Rotary, Masons (Naha Shrine) and Wholesale Grocers Association.

Mr. Gray died in August 1949.
Born: January 26,1874
Died: February 5, 1924

Mayoral Dates: 1922-1924


Harry Wentzy was born January 26, 1874, in Gobweiler, Alsace-Lorraine, France, the son of Henri and Nannette Wentzy. The family came to the United States in 1884, settling first at Kimball, Dakota Territory. His father engaged in the hardware business in connection with the Ochsner Hardware Company continuously from his arrival until his death.

Harry was the second child in a family of four children. He attended the public schools of Kimball and graduated from high school in 1893. His initial step of his business career was made with the Kimball Graphic and for a considerable time, he was identified with newspaper publications. In 1897, he purchased the Pukwana Press and later became proprietor of the Reporter, which he consolidated under the name of the Press-Reporter. He conducted that journal until 1910, but in the meantime had come to Rapid City in 1907 and founded the Gate City Guide, which he sold after three years. He then turned his attention to financial interests and became associated with the Security Savings Bank, of which he was president upon its reorganization. He was also the president of the State Bank of Scenic, president of the First State Bank at Farmingdale, president of the Ranchman's State Bank at Fairburn and was active in the management and control of various financial institutions. He was a stockholder in the Dakota Plaster Company and had large holdings in ranch lands. He did much toward promoting ranch development and contributed largely to the development of the state.

On June 14, 1910, Wentzy married Mrs. Theodore Wuest, daughter of Judge D. R. Bailey of Sioux Falls. They had one child. In politics, Mr. Wentzy was a Democrat and a recognized leader in party ranks, having served as state chairman of the Democratic organization in South Dakota. He served one term as president of the State Press Association during his residence at Pukwana. Fraternally, he was connected with the Elks Lodge, the Brotherhood of American Yeomen, the Woodmen of the World and the Modern Woodmen of America. He found recreation in travel and visited many points in America and abroad.

Wentzy was one of the pioneers in the development of the creamery business and was one of the first to create an interest in farmers elevators and in cooperative methods of marketing grain crops. He was elected to the Legislature in 1918 and re-elected in 1920. In 1921, he was a member of the Rapid City Commission and was elected mayor in 1922. Mr. Wentzy died while in office on February 5, 1924 and is buried in Kimball.
Born: May 2, 1884
Died: October 9, 1958

Mayoral Dates: 1924-1925


John A. Boland was born May 2, 1884, in Rapid City, Dakota Territory, to Abram Chestnut and Catherine (Green) Boland. His father was one of the original 19 homesteaders who came to Dakota Territory in 1878 settling in Buffalo Gap. They then moved to a homestead two miles NW of Rapid City and lived there until 1900. John was educated in the Rapid City schools and graduated from the South Dakota School of Mines in 1901. He attended Lincoln Business College and graduated from there in 1905 with honors.

In February 1906, he purchased a stock of groceries from Hays-Hopkins and moved the stock to upper Main Street in Keystone. John married Nona Ethel Winne on September 2, 1915, in Buffalo Gap and they had two children, Ethel and John Jr. In 1917, a fire destroyed his general store in Keystone, so he moved to Rapid City and bought into the Rapid City Implement Company. He later became the president and manager of this company.

John became interested in the Mt. Rushmore project in 1926 and was the person that pushed the project forward. Without his tenacity, stubbornness and business management skills, the carving of Mount Rushmore Memorial might not have been completed. He served on the Mount Rushmore Memorial Commission from its beginning. After the first year on the commission, he was elected president of the executive committee and the "field representative." He was the "calmerdowner" who tried to maintain an uneasy peace between the tempestuous sculptor, Gutson Borglum, and all the others involved in the financing and building of the monument. It was no small job. His ability as a salesman was often what kept things running. There were many times when the work had to be shut down because of lack of funds or misunderstandings with Borglum. Boland served much of the time without reimbursement. He, at the same time, ran his own business as an implement dealer and was also active in local and state politics.

He was secretary of Liberty Loan, executive commissioner of Pennington County from 1917-1918, city commissioner in 1922-1923, elected mayor in 1924 and served in the SD Legislature. He was a Republican and a delegate to the Republican National Convention from South Dakota in 1932 as an alternate.

He was a member of the Freemasons, Elks, and United Commercial Travelers. Mr. Boland died October 9, 1958.
Born: 1874
Died: September 3, 1965

Mayoral Dates: 1925-1926


Charles Peter Tittle, Jr. was born in Defiance, Ohio, in 1874, to Charles Peter and Sarah (Enos) Tittle. He was one of four children.
The family moved to Rapid City in 1886 and lived on a ranch in Rapid Valley but later moved into Rapid City. On completion of his education, Charles kept notes for the geological survey expeditions for the Forest Service. He entered the School of Mines and was one of the first members of the football team.

He operated a grocery and feed store from 1905-1935 on St. Joseph Street and later relocated it to Sixth and Main Streets. He served on the city council for three terms and was elected mayor in 1925. Starting in 1939, he served 16 years as a Pennington County commissioner, 14 of those years as board chair. He was a member of the school board for four years and deputy county treasurer.

Charles married Emma Laura Chapman on November 27, 1902. She taught in the Rapid City Public Schools. They had three children. He cherished some teaching certificates belonging to him and his wife because they had been signed by Annie Tallent.

Charles was a Democrat and belonged to Odd Fellows, Elks, and Modern Woodmen of America. Late in his life he reminisced, "I can remember standing here (on Main and Seventh) and seeing this street full of ox trains."

Mr. Tittle celebrated his 90th birthday in 1964 at the Pennington County courthouse coffee shop with his daughter, Mrs. Sara Ballengee and a host of friends.
Born: July 22, 1884
Died: September 7, 1932

Mayoral Dates: 1926-1927


Arthur Arno Lampert was born in Rapid City, Dakota Territory, on July 22, 1884, to Jacob R. and Helena (Krease) Lampert. He was the youngest of five children.

When Arthur was in his teens, he went into the lumber business--the Rapid City Lumber and Machinery Company--which was owned by his father. On February 5, 1908, he married Helen Marshall, which was, if not the first marriage between native-born Rapid Citians, certainly one of the earliest. They had three children: Jack, Arthur Jr. and Walter. They resided at 914 West Boulevard.

Arthur managed the lumber business for the family interest until his death on September 8, 1932. He was forty-eight years old.

Though young, he had already served as mayor of Rapid City, as fire chief, city councilman and in other civic and business leadership roles. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Lampert opened a lending library, then later co-operated The Rapid City Credit Bureau until her retirement in the early 1960s.
Born: January 28, 1877
Died: 1959

Mayoral Dates: 1927-1928


Victor T. Jepson was born in Scribner, Nebraska, on January 28, 1877, to Oscar and Moira (Thompson) Jepson. The family moved to Rochford and then to Lead, Dakota Territory, in the 1880's when "Victor T" was a small child. He was educated in public schools and a member of the first graduating class of Lead High School. He joined his father in the real estate business and married Kittie Elizabeth Gallup. They had two sons: Marvin and Glen.

"Victor T" felt that Rapid City was the up-and-coming town of the area so he moved his business and family to Rapid City in 1905. He purchased the W. T. Coad house in December 1905. He and Farrar had a real estate business, with offices in the Harney Hotel in February 1906. In March 1907, he purchased the Swander house. Jepson and Farrar moved their offices to rooms over the Sweeney clothing store. They were granted a petition to draw a new layout of the Deadwood Trail in July 1910. Jepson owned property in the west part of Rapid City and struck an artesian well in December 1912. Over the years, the family owned many ranches, Hills properties and downtown buildings.

"Victor T" was on the Rapid City Commission for several years and was appointed mayor in 1927. He continued in the real estate and insurance business until his retirement in 1957. He was a member of the Elks.

Mr. Jepson died in 1959.
Born: December 21, 1875
Died: November 13, 1961

Mayoral Dates: 1928-1929


Eugene L. Bangs was born to Alfred Wallenstein and Sarah (Plowman) Bangs on December 21, 1875, in LeSueur, Minnesota. In 1880, the family moved to Grand Forks, Dakota Territory. They moved to Rapid City, Dakota Territory, in 1889.

He was educated in the elementary public schools in Grand Forks, ND, and attended high school in Rapid City. He married LaVance Jones on August 8, 1901.

Eugene liked horses and, in June 1900, Eugene and Charles Marshall rented the Ferguson stable on 6th Street. Eugene bought out the interest of Marshall in May 1901. He sold the livery stable to Jerry King in November 1901 and he and a partner purchased the Willard Franklin livery barn in March 1903. The barn burned in November 1907. It was located on the east side of 7th Street between the railroad tracks and Rapid Street. Eugene bought out the interest of his partner and purchased an additional lot to the north of the old building. The construction of the new barn commenced in January 1908 and was a two- story structure of stone. It was 80x100 feet.

He served as sheriff of Pennington County from 1905-1907. He became fire chief in June 1911. When the auto began to overtake the driving horse, he then became an auto dealer himself and owned Black Hills Buick Co. from 1915-1936. In his later years, he was a postmaster.
He was a city commissioner for six years and mayor for two years. He was a member of the Knife & Fork Club, Yeoman, Elks and Modern Woodmen of America. He and his wife resided at 1025 Fairview. They had one son.
Born: June 2, 1892
Died: January 24, 1989

Mayoral Dates: 1929-1930


Theodore B. Werner was born in Osian, Winneshiek County, Iowa, on June 2, 1892, to John and Johaan (Rupert) Werner. He attended parochial schools in Iowa and studied law in Illinois and Wisconsin. He moved to Rapid City in 1909 and engaged in the newspaper publishing and commercial printing business. He became editor and publisher of the Gate City Guide when Harry Wentzy left the paper. He published the weekly paper for half a century from 1912-1965.

He married Ellen L. Marshall on July 4, 1914, and they had two daughters, Helen and Marguerite.

He served as postmaster of Rapid City from 1915-1923. He was a commissioner of Rapid City from 1927-1930 and served as mayor in 1929 and 1930.

Theo was active in the Democratic Party. He was an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for election in 1930 to the Seventy-second Congress. He was elected as a Democrat to the Seventy-third and Seventy-fourth Congresses (March 4, 1933-January 3, 1937), but unsuccessful for re-election in 1936 to the Seventy-fifth Congress.

President Truman appointed him U.S. Marshal from 1947 until 1951. He served 25 years on the St. John's McNamara Hospital Advisory Board. He was a 67-year member of the Rapid City Elks Lodge 1187, a charter member of the Rapid City Rotary Club, and a charter member of the Knights of Columbus.

He died on January 24, 1989, at the age of 86. ​
Born: November 5, 1886
Died: December 16, 1942

Mayoral Dates: 1930-1931


Winfield Scott Morrill was born November 5, 1886, in Wisconsin and attended schools in Fairchild, finishing high school there. As a boy and young man, he learned considerable knowledge about the lumber business.

When he was about 21, Morrill came to the Black Hills from Wisconsin as a member of the construction crew that built the Pierre line of the North Western railroad into Rapid City. His folks came to South Dakota in 1906, when his father was an auditor for the Peter Mintener Lumber Company and as such established many of the Mintener yards in western South Dakota.

In 1908, Morrill filed a homestead near Wasta. In 1909, he spent a short time in Rapid City and then went to Belle Fourche where he was engaged in the lumber business. He was at Newell from 1910 to 1919 as manager of the Peter Mintener yard there, and came to Rapid City in 1920 to go to work as a salesman for the Warren-Lamb Lumber Co. Later he was in the contracting business with Joe Lane of Rapid City for a short period.

Mr. Morrill was named manager of the Rapid City yard of the Fish and Hunter Co. in 1922, a position he held until his death. He was also director of the company.

He married Catherine McLaughlin on August 31, 1912, at Newell.

During his years of residence in Rapid City, Scott Morrill had taken an active part in civic and community affairs. He was a director of the Associated Retailers for several years and of the Chamber of Commerce. He served as a member of the city commission from 1928 to 1930 and was mayor of the city the last year of his term. ​
Born: July 1, 1895
Died: 1981

Mayoral Dates: 1931-1932


Melville C. Babington was born July 1, 1895, at Whitewood, the son of George and Lillie Ann (Morgan) Babington. He attended elementary school in Whitewood and graduated from high school in Huron.

He graduated from the School of Dentistry at Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska, in 1917. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Dental Corps on the Philippine Islands during World War I.

Dr. Babington practiced dentistry in Rapid City from 1920 until he retired in 1974. He married Barbara Hauge in 1928 at Chadron, Nebraska.

Dr. Babington was a member of the Rapid City Commission and was mayor in 1931. He was active in the Rapid City and South Dakota Dental Societies. He was a member of the American Legion for 61 years and served as a commander. He was a past member of the Elks and Masonic lodges.

Dr. Babington died in 1981 at the age of 83. He is buried at Mt. View Cemetery in Rapid City.
Born: January 14, 1894
Died: December 10, 1970

Mayoral Dates: 1933-1934


Fred W. Merritt was born January 14, 1894, in Rapid City. He attended Rapid City schools. In 1916, he married Jennie Harrison. The same year, he became an employee of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, retiring from service in 1959. For several years following, he was custodian of the Pennington County Fairgrounds.

He served on the city commission from 1933-1938, and during that period was mayor for one year. In the early 1940s, he was vice president of the South Dakota American Federation of Labor.

He and his wife had two daughters, Betty and Marjorie. Mr. Merritt passed away on December 10, 1970. He was a lifetime resident of Rapid City.
Born: September 19, 1889
Died: November 24, 1979

Mayoral Dates: 1934-1936
Resigned December 31, 1936


Charles LeRoy (Roy) Doherty was born in Waterloo, Nebraska, on September 19, 1889. He was the son of Charles and Mary (Sibert) Doherty. He married Martina Binkley of Jasper, Indiana, in 1921. They had six children.

Roy was educated in public schools in Waterloo, attended Fremont College in Nebraska and graduated with highest honors and a Ph.D. from Fremont Pharmacy College in 1910. He came to South Dakota in 1912, located in Rapid City and established his drug business known to all as “Doherty Drug, Doherty, of course.” He took special law courses at the SD School of Mines from 1924-25. He was a drug store clerk in Sturgis, Deadwood, Lead and Rapid City. He was owner and manager of a drug store in Rapid City from 1917-1937. He was director of the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce for 20 years.

He served as mayor from 1934-1937. During that time, he brought the stratosphere national committee to Rapid City and then sold them the idea of the natural stratosphere bowl near Rapid City from which they made their history making flights. He greeted President Franklin D. Roosevelt on behalf of the people of the Black Hills on the President’s last trip west. Dougherty was in his 3rd term as mayor when he resigned on December 31, 1936, because he had qualified to an appointment as state railroad commissioner from the Third District. The railway commission became the PUC in 1942. He continued to serve as a City commissioner.

Roy Doherty was not known as C.L. or Charles LeRoy; it was just plain Roy and anyone in Rapid City could tell you who Roy was. His interest in youth, teens and the elderly was for their welfare. He was a member of the National Association of Railroads and Utilities, chairman of the Committee on Safety of Operation of Transportation Agencies, president of the SD Safety Council, State Pharmacy Association, and a past president of the Retail Merchandisers Association of SD. He was also a past president of the Lincoln Club, honorary past president of Rotary, and member of the Elks, Masons and Shriners. His hobbies were photography and figure skating.
Born: 1893
Died: 1948

Mayoral Dates: 1937-1938


Norbert De Kerchove was born in 1893 to Charles Auguste J. Teirre Norbert and Marie Dame De Kerchove in Montreal, Canada. Norbert and his divorced mother moved to the United States, where Norbert pursued his business education. Norbert moved to Kremlin, Montana, on a homestead. On a neighboring homestead, he met and married Myrtle Jane Jephcott. On October 30, 1915, they had a daughter, Audrey. They moved to Rapid City in 1920 and were divorced in 1921.

Norbert married Doris Maxwell from Owanka, South Dakota. They had one son, Norbert John Charles, Jr. born in 1925.

Norbert was very active in the city commission, American Legion, 40 and 8, Elks, Masons and Shriners. He served as mayor for two years. He was very active in the Legion Baseball Program, being very proud of "his boys". Every weekend, he would put his family into his Model A Ford sedan and they would drive to neighboring towns and watch "his boys" play ball. He was office manager of the South Dakota Cement Plant for many years before he died in 1948.
Born: November 30, 1883
Died: July 1970

Mayoral Dates: 1938-1943


Robert S. Hill was born November 30, 1883, in Easthampton, Massachusetts. He was the son of Civil War Chaplain (Captain) David Hill. He graduated from Williston Academy in Easthampton in 1902 and later came to the Black Hills where his father had purchased a ranch on the Nemo Road.

Following his graduation from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 1914, Hill went to the Belgian Congo as a mining engineer for the Society Forminaire. He returned to Rapid City in 1924 and married the former Maud Morris, a foreign language instructor at the School of Mines and Technology.

They later went back to the Congo where they remained for some 15 years. Hill was knighted by King Leopold II of Belgium for his outstanding work in the diamond mines of Africa. He was decorated as Chevalier de’Ordre Royal duLion in 1930.

Retiring in 1935, the Hills returned to Rapid City to make their home. He served five years as mayor of Rapid City in the late ‘30s and the early years of World War II. He was general manager of the Rapid City, Black Hills and Western Railroad. Hill served six years on the city commission.

He was a member of the Masons and Elks and was a 50-year member of the American Institute of Mining Engineers. He lived to be 86 years old.
Born: January 25, 1894
Died: June 1, 1951

Mayoral Dates: 1943-1944


Therlo Edson Burrington was born at Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, on January 25, 1894, and later moved with his family to Grand Meadow, Minnesota, where he graduated from high school. He went to Northwestern University one year and then enrolled at the University of Minnesota and received his degree in dentistry from that institution in 1916. Dr. and Mrs. Burrington were married at Grand Meadow in May 1917, and had three children. He practiced at Dodge Center, Minnesota, for one year before coming to Rapid City in 1919.

Outside of his profession, Dr. Burrington's principal interest was in the Masonic Lodge. He was active in the Black Hills and South Dakota Dental Associations, as well as the American Dental Association and was a member of the state board of dental examiners.

Dr. Burrington became a member of the Masonic lodge when a young man and was both a York rite and Scottish rite Mason. He was a past master of the Rapid City lodge, past commander of the Schrader Commandery of Knights Templar, past grand master of the South Dakota Grand Lodge, past sovereign of the St. Simons conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine and sovereign of the Black Hills conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine. He was one of the trustees of the South Dakota Grand Lodge, an office he held for many years.

In 1928, he was practicing dentistry on the second floor of the Rise building on Fulton Street.

For many years, Dr. Burrington had been intensely interested in DeMolay and helped organize the Rapid City chapter. He was elected to the city commission in the early forties and served one term, during which he also served as mayor for one year.

Mr. Burrington passed away in June 1951 after a short illness and is buried at Mt. View cemetery.
Born: January 11, 1903
Died: July 1972

Mayoral Dates: 1944-1946


Stanton W. Neil was born in Deadwood on January 11, 1903. He graduated from Deadwood High School and attended the University of Nebraska. Neil and his wife, Lenore, came to Rapid City in 1924. They had one son, Stanton, Jr.

He was employed by Pure Oil Company until 1932, department manager for Lubridome from 1932-1933 and established and owned Neil's Tire Shop from 1934 until his death.

He was a past president of the Cosmopolitan Club, a charter member of the Singing Tribe of Wahoo, a member of the Elks Lodge, Masonic bodies and a past potentate of Naha Temple of the Shrine and a member of the Najak Patro.

Neil was one of the co-developers and co-owners of the Baken Park Shopping Center, which was Rapid City's first major shopping center.
He was a former city commissioner under the commission-manager form of government. Neil served as mayor from 1944 to 1946.

His second wife was Mary O'Connell. They were married at Huron in 1960. Mr. Neil passed away in July 1972.
Born: May 30, 1900
Died: May 23, 1984

Mayoral Dates: 1946-1948 and 1957 to 1961


Fred Dusek was born in Pleasanton, Nebraska, on May 30, 1900, to James and Barbara (Maulis) Dusek. Fred was the first child of nine, whose parents immigrated to America from Bohemia. He was born in a sod house on his parent's homestead five miles from Pleasanton, a small Nebraska farming village where he spent his childhood. He often told of the many arduous hours he spent walking three blocks to water the trees that homesteaders were requested to plant for a wind belt.

He was educated in rural elementary schools and attended high school in Pleasanton. He then attended Dwork Business College in Omaha. He was office manager of Square Turn Tractor Company in Omaha from 1920-1921. From there, he went to Witten where he was assistant cashier at Farmers State Bank from 1924-1927. It was in Witten that he first met Viola Struve who was teaching in the Witten High School. After a storybook romance, they eloped on December 23, 1925, in Chicago. They kept their marriage secret until coming to Rapid City, as in those times to be a schoolteacher required that one be single. On February 14, 1927, Fred started working for the Duhamel Company in Rapid City as an accountant. He first stayed at the Harney Hotel and later took a room at Bud Duhamel's for $14.00 a month.

In 1929, Fred and Viola went into a furniture retail business in a one-room establishment, 25x75 feet, located the first door north of the Harney Hotel on Main and Seventh. As the business prospered, they moved to various locations in downtown Rapid City until they moved to 919 Main Street. This building was especially designed by Fred and Viola for a furniture business and many twelve-hour days or longer were spent by them there. Their firm received numerous national retailing awards culminating in their selection as "National Brand Name Retailer" of the year. After the closing of their furniture business, they turned the building into office suites.

Fred served on the Rapid City Common Council from 1936-1947 and was mayor from 1946-1948 under a City Manager form of government. He then spearheaded a drive to change the city's managerial form of government to a Mayor-Alderman form of municipal government and was elected the first mayor to serve under this type of municipal government, 1957-1961.

He was a member of the National Retail Furniture Association, member of the Chamber of Commerce, past chairman of the Retailers Commission, director of the Credit Bureau and Rehab Center, past executive ruler of the BPOE, member of the Cosmopolitan Club, UCT, Izaak Walton League and Arrowhead County Club. He was the first to receive the All-American Award in central west and awarded second prize in the Brand Name Realtor of the Year in 1954. His hobby included traveling.

Fred, until his death, had devoted fifty-eight years of public service to Rapid City's growth and continuous progress. He had a deep pride and love of Rapid City and dedicated hours of unselfish service to it causes. At the time of his death, the Sioux Indian tribe honored him by placing in his hands the feather from the eagle that was to carry him swiftly and safely on his next journey and placed over him their Morning Star quilt to light his way. They asked the Father to grant him the chance to receive his reward for all his goodness and kindness and his example of humble giving, compassion and understanding to mankind.
Born: May 11, 1918
Died: August 11, 1993

Mayoral Dates: 1948-1949


Earl John Brockelsby was born on May 11, 1918, to John and Emma (Kingsbury) Brockelsby. He married Maude Wagner of Wood, SD, on July 21, 1940. They had four children.

Earl was educated in elementary public schools in Kadoka and high school in Spearfish. He attended the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology from 1935-1936. He became owner of the Reptile Gardens in 1937.

He served as city commissioner for three years and elected mayor for two years. At the time he was elected mayor, he was only 29 years old and turned 30 on May 11, 1948, just before taking office. He was a member of the Ichthyologists and Herpetologist Society, American Herpetology Association, past board member of ARC, board member of the Chamber of Commerce, named Rapid City "Man of the Year" by the Jr. Chamber of Commerce in 1947, member of the Elks, American Legion, VFW and Izaak Walton League. He was in the U.S. Army from 1943-1945 attaining the rank of Sergeant.

The author of "Unique Facts about Snakes", his hobbies are paleontology, herpetology and orchards.
Born: December 30, 1897
Died: March 1, 1975

Mayoral Dates: 1949-1951


Isaac Henry Chase, Jr. was born December 30, 1897, in Minneapolis, to Isaac Sr. and Francis (Stevens) Chase where his mother had gone especially for his birth.

He attended Rapid City schools, graduating from high school there. He attended, for a brief period of time, the SD School of Mines and Technology. He married the former Stella Paulson in Sioux Falls, June 10, 1934. They had no children.

By his own definition, Chase was a joiner. He always added that he tried to hold jobs generally not wanted, which made them easy to get and interesting for him to perform.

Mr. Chase's father was a pioneer merchant in the Black Hills, coming to Deadwood in 1877 during the Gold Rush. Ike Chase took an interest in his father's dry goods business and, at one time, father and son operated five clothing stores in the Black Hills. Ike Jr. took over a dry goods store in Rapid City upon his father's death in 1919. In the late 1940s, Ike gave the store to Roy Bortel, his manager, but continued to use the upstairs for an office. The store was located at what was the east half of the Woolworth store on the south side of Main Street between Sixth and Seventh streets.

At age 24, he was elected to the South Dakota House of Representatives and later served in the State Senate. For many years, Mr. Chase made his living in the real estate and finance business. He was a member of the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce board of directors on several occasions, serving as president in 1926. He was an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1928. He was a WWI veteran.

He was active in the Minnelusa Historical Association, the South Dakota Historical Society and the Black Hills Pioneers. He also was a member of the Masonic Lodge 25, serving as master in 1923, the York Rite and Naja Temple Shrine.

He served as a member of the city commission and city council and as mayor from 1949-1951. Chase was instrumental in establishing Sioux Addition and enabling persons of Indian descent to purchase the land upon which their homes were built. As mayor, Chase established the Mayor's Committee on Human Relations.

In 1962, Chase was cited for more than 20 years of service on the Rapid City Selective Service Board. He was a past commander of the American Legion Post and, in the same year, was named "Legionnaire of the Year." In 1965, he was presented with a life membership.
The Rapid City Lions Club honored Chase in 1969 with a "This is Your Day" program. He also was a member of Elks Lodge 1187.

Mr. Chase died on March 1, 1975. He was 77.
Born: March 19, 1900
Died: March 30, 1991

Mayoral Dates: 1951-1953


Augusta L. Haines was born on March 19, 1900, the oldest of five children, to John B. and Ada (Little) Haines in Champaign, Illinois. The family came to Mitchell, South Dakota, in 1905. He married Gertrude Eagle of Wessington Springs on August 12, 1930, who was a registered nurse. They had three children.

Gus was educated in public elementary schools in Champaign, Illinois, and attended high school in Mitchell. He later attended South Dakota State College and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1924. He was a member of the Alpha Zeta fraternity.
After college, he dairy farmed on the Haines farm in Mitchell. He was later employed with Equity Creamery in Aberdeen from 1930-1931. He worked with Ayrshire cattle for Dr. Jackson, along with farming, for ten years, the area that is now covered by Canyon Lake. He became a route man for Brown Swiss Creamery in Rapid City from 1931-1932 and became owner of the Haines Dairy in Rapid City from 1932 to retirement. He was also owner of Haines Feeds, Inc.

Gus was one of the founders and the first director of the Canyon Lake Senior Center. He spent countless hours getting the land purchased and the center built. Publicity on radio, television and newspapers interested the older people in the project.

He served as commissioner for six years and mayor for two years. During this period, one-way streets came into existence (Main and St. Joe), the paving of East North Street was accomplished and the program was initiated for water storage which later brought about the building of Pactola Dam. His alma mater (South Dakota State University) honored him as being a "South Dakota Outstanding Citizen". He was past president of the downtown Kiwanis Club, president of Minnelusa Historical Society and member of the United Commercial Travelers. His hobby was farm work.

At close to 80 years, he continued his activities working as a roofer in the summer and as a substitute teacher in Junior High and Senior High School, in drafting, welding, woodworking, math and history classes.

He and his wife made their home at 631 St. Charles Street.
Born: June 11, 1905
Died: October 4, 1986

Mayoral Dates: 1953-1954


Montford Oris Wasser was born in Hawarden, Iowa, on June 11, 1905. He was the son of George W. and Lela (DeVoss). His parents homesteaded in Perkins County in 1908.

He married Maxine Allen Goodwin of Rapid City on May 15, 1932, and had one child. He was educated in the public schools of Storm Lake, Iowa, and attended Buena Vista College and the University of Missouri.

He worked for the Storm Lake Register from 1922-1928 and was pressman at Herald-Statesman Publishing Company in Columbia, Missouri, from 1928-1929. He sold advertising for the Rapid City Daily Journal in Rapid City from 1929-1935 and was advertising manager from 1935-1942 and 1944-1945. He and his wife managed Baken Park Court from 1945-1949 and Wasser Realty Company from 1949 until his retirement.

He was a member of the city commission from 1952-1954, mayor, member of the city planning commission, member of the SD Real Estate Commission, president of SD State Association of Realtors, past president of Black Hills Realtors, member of the Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Industry Council, ARC, member of the Country Club, Masons, Shrine and Elks. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1942-1944 achieving the rank of Sergeant. His hobbies were fishing, hunting and traveling. His home was at 818 Flormann.
Born: November 11, 1886
Died: June 28, 1969

Mayoral Dates: 1954-1955


Harry R. Johnson was born on November 11, 1886, in Wahpeton, Dakota Territory. He was the son of David J. and Carolyn (Brain) Johnson.
He married Martha Lemon on July 3, 1909, and had two children. He was educated in rural schools in North Dakota.

His occupations included being an order clerk at Farwell, Osmun, Kirk and Company in St. Paul, MN, from 1905-1913 and salesman for the same from 1914-1921. He then became partner and manager for Sweeney Hardware Company in Rapid City from 1921-1949. He was owner and manager of that company from 1949-1951 when he retired.

He served as city commissioner for six years and mayor for two years. He was a member and past president of the Board of Education for ten years, member of the National Hardware Association, member and past president of the SD Retail Hardware Association, vice president of Bennett Memorial Hospital, member and past president of the Chamber of Commerce, member of the board of directors of the Salvation Army, past president of Rotary and was a member of the Masons, Shrine, Blue Lodge and Elks. His hobbies included golf, fishing and bowling.
He and his wife made their home at 1802 – 9th Street.
Born: December 1, 1919
Died: December 2008

Mayoral Dates: 1955-1956


Don A. L'Esperance was born in Pierre, South Dakota, on December 1, 1919, the son of Joseph R. and Katherine (O'Reilly) L'Esperance. His family came to Rapid City in 1921. He married Eileen Forette, November 27, 1941, in Rapid City. They had five children--David, Judi, Keith, MaryAnne and Jim.

He was educated in the public schools of Rapid City, graduating in 1938, and then attended Black Hills Commercial College, National School of Business and LaSalle Extension University. After college, he became a bookkeeper for Independent Bindery Company from 1940-1941; office manager for Kenosha Transport Corporation from 1941-1942; administrative assistant to the U.S. Corps of Engineers at Igloo, SD, from 1942-1944; assistant superintendent at Burlington Trailways in Rapid City from 1944-1949; office manager and partner at Mellgren Plumbing Company in Rapid City from 1949-1986; and founder and director of Pennco Investment Corporation from 1954-1963.

He served on the city commission from 1953-1956 and as mayor of Rapid City. He also served in the House of Representatives from 1957-1962.

He was chairman of the Pennington County Board of Health, member and president of the SD Association of Plumbing/Heating/Cooling Contractors, member of the National Association of Plumbing Contractors, National Association of Home Builders, Community Chest Board, charter member and board member of the Rapid City Young Men's Christian Association, president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce and president of the Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the Lions Club and Elks Lodge. He served as a five-year member of the Elks board of trustees, with two years as chairman.

L'Esperance was awarded the Jaycee Distinguished Service Award (Rapid City chapter) and was awarded the DSA for the state of South Dakota. He was awarded the Rapid City Sertoma Service to Mankind plaque and the Sertoma district award for Service to Mankind. He served on the study committee for the merger of St. Johns McNamara and the Bennett-Clarkson hospitals. When the merger was completed, he served on the board of trustees for the Rapid City Regional Hospital from 1973-1978 and served as chairman of that board from 1974-1977.

L'Esperance's hobbies included restoring, driving and enjoying antique cars, as well as woodworking and mechanical work.
Born: December 7, 1908
Died: October 30, 1989

Mayoral Dates: 1956-1957 and 1965 to 1969


Henry Baker was born on December 7, 1908, in Firth Nebraska. He was the son of John and Elizabeth (Vandertook) Baker. He married Hulda Brunken of Hallam, Nebraska, on June 9, 1929, to which they had two children, Jerry and Betty Ann.

He was educated in the public schools in Firth and attended high school in Lincoln.

He was a clerk for Security Acceptance Corporation in Lincoln from 1931-1935, and then became assistant manager from 1935-1940 in Lincoln; branch manager from 1940-1944 in Norfolk; and branch manager in Rapid City in 1946.

He served as a city commissioner from 1954-57 and mayor from 1956-57 under the Commission form of government. He was elected Mayor again in 1965 in a special election in November to finish out the unexpired term of Phil Schroeder who resigned. Baker was re-elected in 1967 to a full two-year term serving from 1965-1969 under the Aldermanic form of government.

He changed the role of the city's chief executive from welcoming distinguished visitors and tending to city housekeeping to urbanizing the community with Federal assistance and taking on activities that were unheard of ten years prior. While he was in office, a new $3.5 million sanitary treatment plant began operating. It was located five miles southeast of Rapid City on a 40-acre tract of city property.
Fallout shelters in the city were stocked with supplies while he was in office. He spoke of his qualifications as harmonious and productive relations between the common council and city administration and of his ideas for greater efficiency and economy in administering the services and business of the city.

He served as city commissioner, was past president of the Credit Bureau of Rapid City, active in ARC and Community Chest, past president of Canyon Lake Civic Association, member of Chamber of Commerce, chairman of various commissions, member of Masons, Shrine, Consistory, Elks, American Legion, UCT, Cosmopolitan Club, Toastmasters, Izaak Walton League and captain of CAP. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1944-1946. His hobbies included trap shooting, hunting, fishing and flying.
Born: April 19, 1921
Died: November 12, 2002

Mayoral Dates: 1961-1963


Willis H. (Bill) Raff was born April 19, 1921, to Josephine and Frank Raff, in Fertile, Minnesota. He was raised and educated in St. Paul, earning an undergraduate B.S. at Hamline University and his Ph.D. in American Studies and Politics at the University of Minnesota in 1957. He married Cheryl Booth in 1941, and they were blessed with three sons, Robin, Lee and Steve.

After serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II, Bill taught in colleges in Georgia, New York and South Dakota at the School of Mines and Technology.

Raff came to Rapid City in 1955 as an assistant professor at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Always interested and active in politics, he ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1960. He was elected mayor in 1961 and served one term.

A few years later, Bill joined the University of Maryland's overseas program, teaching in Japan, Okinawa, Thailand and South Viet Nam, where he was also the director of the university's program during the war. Following another year of teaching in Germany and Turkey, the Raffs retired to their cabin near the Gunflint Trail in northern Minnesota. During these years of retirement, Bill authored two books about white pioneer settlement north of Lake Superior.

After the death of his wife in 1988, he spent winters in Rapid City with his dear friend and partner, Phyllis Olson; during the summers, they resided in their Minnesota cabin.

Mr. Raff passed away on November 12, 2002, at the Fort Meade Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Sturgis. ​
Born: January 15, 1925
Died: February 14, 2003

Mayoral Dates: 1963-1965
(Resigned August 1965)


Phil Schroeder was a native of Lefor, North Dakota, and came to Rapid City in 1953.

He was assistant vice president and manager of the northeast branch of the American National Bank and resigned that position to run for mayor.

Schroeder served as Ward 1 alderman from 1959-1961. He was elected mayor in 1963 and re-elected in 1965, winning with a thin 84-vote margin in a run-off election against Fred Dusek, a former mayor and councilman. It was the second time in as many elections, both of them run-offs, that Schroeder had won the city's top seat against Dusek. The vote was one of the closest, if not the closest, in Rapid City's history.

In August of 1965, Schroeder resigned the position of mayor to work for Dakota Diversified Corporation of Sioux Falls as the executive vice president and manager of Standard Surety Co. of Rapid City--a branch of the Sioux Falls company. Alderman Lloyd St. Pierre assumed the temporary job of mayor until a special city election was held in November.

Schroeder was past president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce and a winner of that organization's Distinguished Service Award. He was a member of the Sertoma Club, the Knights of Columbus and Boys Club of America. He was a member of the Cathedral Choir, participated in a number of fund drives and served as chairman of the Sewer Bond Information Committee.

He and his wife had six children.
Born: May 25, 1909
Died: November 5, 2004

Mayoral Dates: 1969-1970


Jack P. Allmon was born May 25, 1909, in Pittsburgh, Kansas, the son of Wil and Nellie Allmon. He was reared and educated in Oklahoma.

On March 21, 1930, he married Glessie Donnelly in Vinita, Oklahoma. They had one son, Jack, Jr.

Glessie was born October 29, 1906, in Vinita. Her parents were Tom and Mary Ellen Donnelly. Tom was a World Champion steer roper and is recognized in the Cowboy Hall of Fame located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Both Jack and Glessie had excellent horsemanship skills. In 1966, Jack saved a man's life on a ranch located in Sundance, Wyoming, by roping a buffalo as it charged the man. He always had that picture of him and the roped buffalo on the wall of his office. (The man he saved was Bud Basolo, who is recognized as the main creator of the "Beefalo."

Jack was a "Penney" man for over 36 years. Beginning in the small northeast Oklahoma community of Vinita, Jack steadily moved up the ladder within the J.C. Penney organization. His managerial and administrative abilities were proven in such cities as Tulsa and Stillwater, Oklahoma; Lubbock, Texas; Pueblo, Colorado; and finally, in Rapid City. By 1949, his record had taken him to New York City, where he worked in the main office with James Cash Penney (J.C. Penney), founder of the famous chain of stores. They remained friends until Mr. Penney's death.
The only break in Jack's managerial rise in the Penney system was for a tour of duty with the U. S. Navy during World War II. He was honorably discharged after three years of service.

In 1958, Jack moved to Rapid City where he said many times, "we found a real home in Rapid City". He managed the Penney store until he ran for Mayor in 1969. He was elected mayor in a four-way race and won 52 percent of the votes. A few minutes after taking the oath, he asked that his salary be reduced for the year from $1,125 per month to $833.33 per month. After some opposition, his salary was reduced for the remainder of the year by a roll-call vote.

As mayor, Jack began Rapid City's most aggressive street repair program, the largest in history up to 1969. Other accomplishments included getting the new sewer plant running; the Century Mall agreement being finalized; extensive renovation of Dinosaur Park; convincing local banks they should pay market interest rates on the city's money; lowering property taxes; passing a one-cent sales tax; and getting raises for most of the city employees.

In addition, during his term, a Civic Center committee was appointed to pick out a site and attempt to find a way to build it. The committee met twice, selected the county fairgrounds as the site on a 12 to 11 vote, but did not suggest any method to fund the construction. Thus, the construction did not begin. This was one of his goals that did not take place until after his term as mayor was completed.

With Jack's election as mayor, Rapid City had voiced a mandate, putting all the ingredients together to help Rapid City realize its vast potential and to maintain and improve the quality of life for its citizens. He got the ball rolling for Rapid City's future mayors to be able to make Rapid City the regional center it is today by increasing the city's income from a new sales tax and higher interest income on their deposits.

He was active in business and civic organizations being past district governor for Rotary International and past president of the Rapid City Rotary. He served two terms as president of the Downtown Improvement Association, past president of the Family Service Organization, the Rapid City Cancer Society and served as a director and publicity chairman for the United Community Council. He also served as chairman of the Penjahame Boy Scout District in 1963. He was vice president of the board of directors of the Arrowhead Country Club and an avid golfer well into his 80s.

He was a Democratic candidate in 1966, as a representative for the Second Congressional district of South Dakota. In the fall of 1971, Governor Dick Kneip named Jack the director of the State Highway Department. He resigned as mayor and commuted from Rapid City to Pierre for the next six years. In the fall of 1974, Governor Kneip named Jack the secretary of Tourism and Economic Development. He really enjoyed promoting South Dakota. In 1978, he became the executive vice president of the United National Bank and finally was able to stay in Rapid City until his retirement in 1983.

Jack and Glessie moved from Rapid City in 1983 to Rancho Bernardo, California. There was always something going on at the Allmon's, especially during the winter months in South Dakota. "Snowbirds' from Rapid City and other South Dakota communities would visit them, something they looked forward to every year.
Born: November 2, 1918
Died: January 10, 1984

Mayoral Dates: 1970-1971


John Barnes was a native of Kentucky. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida Southern College at Lakeland. He was a retired Air Force colonel and former base commander at Ellsworth AFB. He retired in 1967 after 26 years of service and lived in Rapid City. He was employed as administrative assistant to Stanford Adelstein of Northwestern Engineering Company.

Barnes was active in civic and community affairs. He was chairman of the long range planning committee for the Boy Scouts, first VP of the Girls Club, second VP of the YMCA, member of the board of managers of the Cosmopolitan Club, member of the March of Dimes Fashion Awards committee and member of the planning committee for "Dakota Days."

He was building fund chairman for the Salvation Army and on the Mayor's Committee on Human Relations. He was chairman of the Rapid City United Fund Campaign for 1968-69, which was considered one of the most successful drives since United Fund was organized in Rapid City. He was also a member of the board of directors of the United Community Council.

He and his wife, Nickie, had two sons, Mike and David.
Born: Unknown
Died: Living

Mayoral Dates: 1971-1975


Donald V. Barnett was born to Vern and Ruby Barnett. He was educated in Rapid City schools and attended college at South Dakota State University. He was a student of political science. After college, he became Assistant Professor of American Government at Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln, Nebraska, teaching courses in state and local government.

Don served as an administrative officer in Medical Service Corps in the U.S. Army. He served in Vietnam as Company Commander of 240 enlisted personnel at the 24th Evacuation Hospital achieving the rank of Captain. He received the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service.

In 1971, he was elected the youngest mayor of Rapid City at 28 years of age in the hottest runoff in the city's municipal election history. He won by 5,082 votes to his opponent's 4,914, or a difference of 1.6 per cent. He took a leave from his post as executive of the South Dakota

Consumer's League to run for mayor. He married Jo Ann Ferguson on February 17, 1972.

During his first term as mayor, Don had ample opportunity to demonstrate his leadership and initiative--the disastrous June 1972 flood, resulting in considerable public exposure both state-wide and nationally; the confrontations with the American Indian Movement (AIM) and digging the city out of a March blizzard. He also exhibited strong leadership in pushing the disaster-recovery-urban renewal program for which the city received a $48 million grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for an eight-year program with the first two years concentrating on disaster recovery. He also took the initiative in the successful campaign to finance a civic center complex. On June 21, 2002, Barnett was honored at a dedication ceremony when the Civic Center arena was named the "Don Barnett Arena."

After serving as mayor, Barnett was a managing partner of the South Town Mall Shopping Center. In 1979, he moved to Riverton, Wyoming, and became president of the GNC Corporation. In 1981, he founded Metro Cable Corporation and served as vice president and director of franchising.

In 1983, he formed two cable television companies in Denver, Colorado. He was the national marketing director and vice president of First Golf Corporation in 1987 and, in 1994, Barnett became owner of Barnett Golf Classics, Inc. Today, he works for a marketing department at THK Associates, and he and his wife live in Lakewood, Colorado.
Born: December 8, 1922
Died: May 27, 2005

Mayoral Dates: 1975 – 1987


Arthur Paul LaCroix was born in Devil’s Nest Hills of Knox County, Nebraska, on December 8, 1922, to Oliver and Mary LaCroix.

When Art was 1½ years old, he moved with his parents and eight siblings to South Dakota where they farmed north of Wall. In 1934, during the Depression, his family journeyed to Rapid City which became their permanent home. He graduated from Rapid City Central High School in 1942. In his early 20s, Art served in the United States Army in Europe during World War II where he took part in the Battle of the Bulge. He received a battlefield commission as well as the Purple Heart for being wounded in battle. He was a proud member of the 106th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop. On September 28, 1947, while serving overseas, Art married Trude Ertl in Gmunden, Austria. After returning home to the States with his new bride, he remained in the Army Reserve and retired as a Major with over 20 years of honorable active and reserve service.

Art was also a very talented artist whose alabaster sculpture, “Shuntanka,” has been cited in the National Geographic and Lapidary Journal. This particular sculpture is of two fighting stallions and has been on display at the Rapid City Art Gallery in the past. He won Best of Show and Best of Sculpture awards in a national art show sponsored by the Dakota Art Guild. Other hobbies included golfing, skiing, hunting, fishing, playing the organ and wood carving. He also enjoyed baseball as a young man and later found time to manage Little League teams for three years. He was a member of the Westside Kiwanis Club and was presented with the George F. Hixson Fellow award. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus and served as honorary chairperson for the Dahl Fine Arts Center campaign.

In 1956, Art became a businessman as he partnered with Cyrus Pettigrew and Vern Lecy in the opening of the Linoleum Center. During this time, he and Trude raised their son, Michael. Art served his community by taking an active role in the North Rapid Civic Association, and in 1971, he ran for the Ward 4 alderman seat and won. One year later, the tragic 1972 flood hit Rapid City, killing 238 people and destroying or damaging thousands of homes. In its aftermath, LaCroix was a strong advocate of maintaining greenways along Rapid Creek.

When Art decided to run for Mayor, he sold his business to pursue all the responsibilities for the Mayor’s position and to avoid any conflict of interest. In 1975, Art was elected Mayor by a 69.2 percent majority on the first ballot in a field of four candidates. Mayor LaCroix was unopposed in his second bid in 1977, and was re-elected to unprecedented third, fourth, fifth and sixth terms! He served 12 years as Rapid City’s longest active Mayor. His initial job was monumental and very challenging since Rapid City was still recovering from the devastating 1972 flood and needed rebuilding and more clean-up. Under Art’s leadership, the City was transformed into the Star of the West. The ravaged path of the flood turned into ball parks, bike and hiking trails, golf courses and greenbelts.

Art was very proud of his part Santee-Sioux heritage and followed his visions to great leadership. There was a story told of Art returning home to Rapid City as a decorated war hero and walking into the Hotel Alex Johnson only to be told, “We don’t serve Indians here.” Years later, after he became mayor, LaCroix said, “Today, they want me and I’m welcome everywhere.” LaCroix’s American Indian heritage was a source of pride for Rapid City’s Indian community. During his mayoral term, LaCroix started the Indian-White Relations Committee. He also worked on several big projects such as the airport, the Civic Center, a new main fire station and the Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn. He was also instrumental in planning the city/school administration building. He served on numerous boards and committees during his lifetime and was honored with many awards, including naming the LaCroix Links golf course and LaCroix Hall at the Civic Center in his honor. He was awarded the R. A. Pier Good Government Award by the Jaycees.

Art attended St. Therese Catholic Church where he carved the beautiful rose on the altar. After Trude’s death, he married Hermine “Chris” Lemon and became a member of Blessed Sacrament Church.

Mr. LaCroix passed away on May 27, 2005, at 82 years of age, and is buried at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis. He devoted his life to his family, community and country—the things he cared so much for.
Born: January 1, 1949
Died: Living

Mayoral Dates: 1987-1991


Keith T. Carlyle was born January 1, 1949, in Omaha, Nebraska. He graduated from Community High School in Denison, Iowa, received a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of South Dakota and a Masters of Public Administration at Northern Colorado. He attended Marine Corp Officer Candidate School. He moved to Rapid City in 1968 and later married Pamala Coleman. They had two children, Justin and Kimbra.

From 1973-1976, he was a senior planning coordinator for the Black Hills Council of Local Governments; employed briefly as an advertising salesman for KEVN; taught business courses at National College from 1977-87; and was owner and manager of Furniture Revival, a furniture restoration and antique business.

He was a member of the City Council from 1982-1984, elected mayor in 1987 and re-elected in 1989. As mayor, he was sometimes controversial but widely acknowledged as a hard-working administrator who would take on tough issues. During his first term in office, the city approved a half-cent sales tax with proceeds directed to improving streets, parks and drainage. He promoted the idea of home rule to achieve government efficiency and an automated garbage collection proposal to hold down costs. His administration began a program to drill new city wells to lessen the city's reliance on Pactola Reservoir.
His community involvement included president of the Rapid City Boys Club, the Salvation Army and the Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce.

Today, he is a realtor for Lewis, Kirkeby and Hall.
Born: June 16, 1928
Died: Living

Mayoral Dates: 1991-1997


Edward McLaughlin was born on June 16, 1928, on a farm/ranch in Spearfish valley to James Arthur and Verna Luella (Burnett) McLaughlin. He attended the laboratory school at what is now Black Hills State University. In 1946, he graduated from Spearfish High School and from Black Hills State University in 1950. During his college career, he earned twelve letters in football, basketball and track. He would have played baseball in the summertime as well, but his father needed him on the farm. His associations with the college spanned his entire life: chairing the Lyle Hare Stadium Committee and serving on the Yellow Jacket Foundation Board. He was a BHSU Hall of Fame Athlete and received the school's Alumni Public Service Award in 1992. After coaching for a year at Bowman, North Dakota, he entered the United States Air Force where he earned the rank of Captain.

He married Gail Heinbaugh and two sons were born to them: Gary Lee and Myrle Lynn. After twenty-eight years, the marriage ended.
He received his Master's and Doctor's degrees in education from the University of Northern Colorado and spent much of his life in education--as principal in Lewistown, Montana; Spearfish, SD; director of student teaching at BHSU; principal and superintendent of the Lead schools; director of the West River Planning Center; and director of Environmental Education with the Rapid City schools. For fourteen years, he was an adjunct faculty member at SDSU's West River Graduate Center, teaching courses in public school administration and school law.

In 1971, he became joint owner of a ranch on Spring Creek. In 1975, McLaughlin joined the Prudential Insurance Company of America as a special agent. During this time, he earned his Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant designations.
In 1980, he married Doris Marie Strom at the First Congregational Church where they became members. He was active in the church in several capacities including trustee, member of the Charitable Trust Board, Parish Life Committee and coffee maker for the choir and sometime hedge trimmer for the churchyard.

After retiring from the insurance business, McLaughlin ran for the Rapid City Common Council from Ward 5. He was president of the council in 1990 and, in 1991, he ran and won as Mayor of Rapid City. After three terms, he retired in 1997 from the office to spend more time in volunteer activities.

The most significant accomplishment of McLaughlin's administration was the continuation of the half cent sales tax, originally imposed for the construction of the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center and due to expire in 1992. The disastrous flood of 1972 demanded a plan for the future. The civic center and the tax to fund it was part of that plan. McLaughlin felt strongly that the next twenty years also needed a plan. His Vision 2012 program and the half-cent sales tax to facilitate that plan were significant. The initial projects financed by Vision 2012 funds included economic development money; money for recycling; the Visitor's Information Center on 1-90; the clean up of Canyon Lake, including the recreation and park area surrounding it; and the Journey Museum. The citizens attending the various focus and information groups decided on the uses for the Vision 2012 money. As time went by, the fund was used to establish other agreed-upon city projects.

A number of infrastructure projects also marked his administration: the road construction projects for St. Joe and Main St. and Omaha Street, among others; the purchase of Rapid Valley water rights enabling Rapid City to supplement her water supply with additional wells and a new water tower; and enhancements to Rapid City's waste water treatment plant. In 1994, two sister-city associations were developed and signed: Apolda, Germany, and Imaichi, Japan.

In 1998, McLaughlin wished to return to public service and ran for the South Dakota House of Representatives. He lost that bid, but tried again in 2002 and won.

McLaughlin joined the Kiwanis Club in 1962, serving twice as President and once as Lt. Governor and received the Kiwanis Hixon award in 1998. The Journey Museum was dear to his heart and he spent a good share of his time volunteering to insure its success. McLaughlin served on the SD State Retirement Board from 1993-1997. Also, in 1997, McLaughlin received the Elk's Club Citizen of the Year Award and the Outstanding Public Service Award from SDSM&T and was honored by the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce for meritorious community service.

Travel, gardening, hunting, fishing, visiting with people and public service were among his great joys. Whether for the city, the church, an organization or at home, his one goal was that his efforts be in everyone's best interests. He was the same man, public and private.
Born: October 30, 1946
Died: Living

Mayoral Dates: 1997-2001 and 2003-2007


Jim Shaw was born in Elmira, New York, on October 30, 1946.
He attended the State University of New York and the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. He was a graduate of the Leadership Rapid City and Leadership South Dakota programs. He served in the U.S. Army and was the 'Voice of the Black Hills Speedway' for many years.

He was a radio and TV broadcaster in Rapid City for 27 years before assuming the office of full-time mayor. Jim was elected to the city council in 1996 and mayor in 1997. He was re-elected mayor in 1999.

Jim served as finance chairman of the First United Methodist Church and as president of several boards, including the Rapid City United Way, Behavior Management Systems, Black Hills Regional Food Bank and Keep Rapid City Beautiful. He was a member of the boards of the Black Hills Symphony Orchestra, Rapid City Arts Council, Rapid City Public School Foundation, Black Hills Country Music Association and Youth & Family Services. He was also a member of the Skyline Toastmasters Club, Rapid City Rotary and Rapid City Elk’s Lodge 1187.
He and his wife, Beverly, owned and operated the Prince & Pauper Village, a full service independent book store and café in Rapid City, and R. L. Shaw & Son Properties, a Rapid City-based land development and property management company. They have one daughter, Cassie.

Jim enjoys auto racing, reading (especially mysteries, history and politics), writing, photography, boating, basketball, football and hockey, and working on his Triumph sports car.
Born: April 15, 1955
Died: April 6, 2023

Mayoral Dates: 2001-2003


Jerome (Jerry) Munson was born in Rapid City on April 15, 1955, the son of H. Benjamin and May Munson. He attended Rapid City Public Schools K-12, and then attended Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. He returned to Rapid City in 1976 and has resided there since.

His business career spanned two decades as a corporate executive and manager. His background in business includes owning and operating an outdoor advertising business. He also founded, established and sold the largest volume pleasure/fishing boat dealership in western South Dakota. He retired from this career in 1996 at 41 years of age.

Jerry began public service in 1999 as Ward 3 alderman in Rapid City, attaining council presidency in 2000, and culminating with his election as mayor in the spring of 2001. The hallmark of Jerry’s mayoral term had been his devotion to implementing user fees for infrastructure expansion. In a closely-contested race against a very popular two-term incumbent mayor, he campaigned in support of “capital development fees” and won the election. When a divided city council failed to enact ordinances that recognized the citizens’ position on wanting these user fees for new utility hook-ups, Mayor Munson circulated petitions to put the issue on the ballot. With a voter-mandated water utility ordinance now on the books, he continued to push for user fees on the wastewater utility as well.

The horrific flood of 1972 was a terrible price to pay in terms of lives and destruction of property. Many of the survivors, including Mayor Munson, still remember the aftermath and clean up in the days, weeks, and years that followed. One positive note was that the flood allowed for the creation of a safe zone all the way through Rapid City. This “greenway” city parkland has become the envy of many a municipality. When businesses sought to build in the floodway, Mayor Munson defended the safe zone, even to the extent of vetoing city council action to allow the building to occur.

Jerry’s community involvement included: former board member and state certified reserve officer of the Pennington County Sheriff’s Reserves, counselor for SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), past president of the Rapid City Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association, graduate of Leadership Rapid City and Rapid City Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the Rotary Club, Morning Optimists and Naja Shriners.

His hobbies included riding motorcycles and horses, hunting, fishing and sports, restoring historic automobiles, music of all kinds and remodeling his house.
Born: April 4, 1960
Died: Living

Mayoral Dates: 2007-2011


Alan Hanks grew up in Rapid City and graduated from Stevens High School in 1979. Both of his parents were high school teachers. His father, Ethan Hanks, was a long time basketball coach at Stevens High School, and his mother Fae Hanks, taught at Dakota Middle School. While in high school, Alan excelled in sports including football, basketball and track. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1983 with a degree in Business Administration.

After college Alan returned to Rapid City to manage a large retail store. In 1987 he opened his own stores in Rapid City and Sioux Falls which he owned for nearly 20 years. In 2001, Alan built the Heartland RV Park south of Hermosa which he still operates. In 2005 he became a real estate appraiser specializing in large commercial appraisal work. Alan is married and has one daughter.

Alan Hanks has had a full career in local and state politics, beginning in 1996 when he was appointed to the Rapid City Planning Commission. He was elected to City Council as a Ward 1 Alderman in 1998 and served for three terms until 2004. His tenure on the Council includes serving on numerous committees within City Government. He was also elected by his peers to the position of City Council President.

In 2004, Alan was elected to the South Dakota Legislature as a State Representative from District 32 where he served in a leadership position chairing the House Local Government Committee. In June of 2007, he was elected Mayor of Rapid City and was re-elected in 2009.

Alan's community service extends to other government and non-profit organizations in South Dakota. He is the former Chairman of the Rapid City Convention & Visitors Bureau, and serves on the boards of many organizations including the SD Municipal League, Governor's Reentry Council, Governor's Interagency Council on Homelessness, Destination Rapid City, Rapid City Economic Development, Moving Forward with Ellsworth Task Force, and Black Hills Vision.
Born: March 9, 1974
Died: Living

Mayoral Dates: 2011-2015

Mayoral Quip


Sam was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1974, and is so far the only Mayor of Rapid City known to have been born in Japan. In fall 2014, he visited Nikko City, Japan, which is Rapid City’s sister city. His father had been stationed there during Vietnam, and after leaving Vietnam he and Sam’s mother, Sherry, went to Japan for a few years to teach. He returned from Japan a few months after his birth and was raised near Boyden, IA, a small Northwest Iowa town famous only for its zip code--51234. Sam is the oldest of four children. Sam’s father, John Kooiker, is a retired farmer, a rural mail carrier and a Vietnam Veteran. John is a mentor in Sam’s life, serving as a role model by returning to the family farm after Sam’s grandfather became ill and then taking a job as a rural mail carrier in the 1980’s during the farm crisis in order to keep the family farm. Sam states, “I admire Dad because he recognized that family is far more important than a big title or money. My Dad taught me that no matter who somebody is they are somebody and that I have a responsibility to treat everyone fairly. He is my hero.” The Kooiker family was not involved in politics except for Sam’s great-uncle, Marinus Intveld, who served as mayor of Hull, IA in the 1950’s. In January 2015, Sam’s father was elected to serve in the Iowa State House of Representatives, serving Sam’s home area of Sioux County, IA.

Sam graduated from the University of South Dakota with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology. He graduated with his Master’s Degree in Public Administration in 1998, and his internship was at the Sioux City Iowa Police Department in Crime Analysis. Before being elected Mayor, Sam worked as an operations manager for Golden West Technologies in Rapid City. He also worked as a vocational rehabilitation counselor for the State of South Dakota and also worked for eight years for Gateway Computers.

It was while at the University of South Dakota that Sam met his wife, Jennifer, who is the daughter of Wayne and Bonnie King from Lead, SD. The Kings owned King’s Grocery/Pasties in Lead for many years. Jennifer works as a Dental Hygienist in Rapid City. Sam and Jennifer are the parents of three daughters, Abbie, Aubrie and Ellie.

Sam Kooiker began his public service as part of the Rapid City Planning Commission from 2001-2002. Sam was elected to the Rapid City Common Council in 2002 and represented Ward 2 (including most of Old Robbinsdale and downtown areas) until he was elected Mayor of Rapid City in 2011. He was re-elected in 2013.

Sam was the first Mayor of Rapid City to issue a quarterly progress report. He also started weekly reports to city employees and city board members. The Rapid City Progress Report is now issued quarterly by the Mayor. You will find information such as projects in progress, future growth and economic development, actions taken, infrastructure and fiscal responsibility in effort to increase access to city government.
Born: August 18, 1961
Died: Living

Mayoral Dates: 2015-2023


Steve Allender is a native South Dakotan, and was raised in a military family. After his Father retired from the Air Force, his family moved to Belle Fourche, where Steve attended grade school through high school.

Steve began his career in law enforcement in 1983 working for the Belle Fourche Police Department. In 1985 he joined the Rapid City Police Department and spent the next 29 years serving as a patrol officer, detective, sergeant, crime lab director, lieutenant, captain and eventually chief of police. He retired from the RCPD in May 2014.

In June, 2015 Steve was elected Mayor of Rapid City. Steve holds a bachelor’s degree in management and has attended the FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Shirley, and they have two adult children.
Born: December 24, 1977
Died: Living

Mayoral Dates: 2023-Present


Born in west Texas, Salamun moved to Rapid City in the late 1980's. He was locally educated attending Canyon Lake Elementary, West Middle School, Stevens High School, and Black Hills State University. While in the military, he was stationed in Colorado Springs, CO from 1996-2000. Following his military service, he returned home to Rapid City to plant roots and raise his family.

Fueled by a desire to make a positive impact in our community, Salamun has been involved in numerous civic, non-profit, and ministry initiatives over the years. He’s also had the opportunity to present to a wide variety of audiences as a speaker, trainer, and storyteller.

Jason was elected to City Council in 2016 and in June of 2023 Jason was elected Mayor of Rapid City.