An early photo of the Burke Building Center building was recently shared with the Gazette by Richard Papousek. The photo was believed to be taken in 1905 and depicts men making deliveries with horse and wagon, but also well-established telephone poles and wires. The building is believed to be one of the first in Burke.
Richard Papousek shared with the Burke Gazette an early photo of the Burke Building Center building that was recently destroyed in the tornado that touched down the night of Tuesday, August 6th.
As you can tell in the photo, the Jas. A. Smith Lumber Co. was one of the first buildings built in town and was quite an impressive size for the early 1900’s. All deliveries were made using horse and wagon. Another impressive piece of information that can be seen in the photo is the phone lines and poles, not to be confused with electrical lines and poles. William Krotter brought the phones into the Rosebud country. He wanted his new lumberyards in South Dakota to connect to his existing lumberyards in Nebraska, so he installed phone lines in Herrick and Gregory and apparently as they were going through, brought them to Burke as well. Eventually the phone lines were strung throughout the communities and Mr. Krotter eventually sold the lines as he didn’t want to be in business as a phone company.
According to Richard Bailey, electrical lines began to connect business and residents to the generator housed in the current IA building back in 1918. The photo is believed to be taken in 1905.
It’s also been established that this was actually the second lumber company in town as there was a Snider Jinx business near the rail road tracks and that building was believed to much, much larger then the one pictured.
Back in the day, farmers would hand pick their corn crop, haul it to town, and trade it for lumber and other supplies.
The editor of the Gazette says that the original windows that were in his home came from the Jas. A. Smith Lumber Co. and that they were dated 1907.
This article and photo were originally published in the Burke Gazette on Tuesday, August 21, 2019.