Nestled in a winding draw now sheltered in trees, Lodgepole, SD, our companion community to the south, remains viable after more than 107 years.
Lodgepole found its place on the map when a post office was mandated at this location. Mr. and Mrs. L.T. Larsen operated the post office out of their home where Mr. Larsen served as first postmaster. In the fall of 1908, the Larsens began operating a store there. It became the foundation of the well-known Lodgepole Store & Propane & Well Service of today.
In addition to the store, the community of Lodgepole was known for its auditorium/hall, a gathering place for people of all backgrounds and interests. A variety of memorable events and activities has taken place there over time, such as dances, card playing, Sunday School (before the churches were built), roller skating, plays, variety shows, musical events, speaking contests, lutefisk suppers and other food events.
Today, it is still a vibrant community center for meetings, gatherings of all types and well-attended dinners and suppers, such as the most recent ice cream social. The hall was one of the reasons the community stayed together. “It served as a catalyst,” says Gary Hendricks. “It is unique.”
Over time, Lodgepole also had a hotel and restaurant, a creamery, a butcher shop, a blacksmith shop, a real estate office and a pool hall, in addition to seven or more area churches and ten area schools. Later, a fire department was organized to protect surrounding prairie farms and ranches.