top of page

A History of our City

A High School Girl's Version of Facts in Connection to Delmont's Past

   The flourishing city Delmont is located in southeastern part of South Dakota in the richest agricultural region of the state. On the map it will be found to be in Belmont township, which is in the southeastern part of Douglas county. It is a small city laid out near Choteau creek and has many beautiful dwelling and fin business blocks. The the present writing the population is over five hundred with two hundred and eleven persons of school age. The inhabitants are mostly Americans and Germans. As all tings have a beginning and generally a small beginning, so was it with Delmont. By tapping at the door of memory it will open to us, and we look upon the pictures hanging in the hall of memory. The first one will present to us the days when the redman and the buffalo were the sole owners of this land. But this happy hunting ground was not always to remain unmolessed, for civilization was slowingly extended over the west. The Indian was given small tracts of land and government opened up this fertile region for settlement.

      Some of the pioneers of this vicinity were J..M. Doyle, J.D. Hand and the three Hutchinson brothers. Henry Wilson homesteaded the quarter section on which the south part of Delmont is built; that north of the railroad track was taken up by Mr. Herrington, and the land laying west of the city by Mr. Marvin. The town site was first purchased by John D. Lawler, of Mitchell, So. Dak. and plotted by Thomas Ball an employee of John D. Lawler. 

     The present depot Hotel was built in shed form of rough boards and run by Mrs. Reynolds, to accommodate the men working on the new railroad. The hotel changed hands quite often. But now there is a handsome brick building constructed on the old site, managed by Mr. and Mrs. Geo Marlot. An old post office was moved from Oak Hollow, where it had served as a grocery store and post office combined. The manager in both places was Mrs. Reynolds. Later the mail was kept Mr. Taylor's store. But the first real postmaster was J.P. Williams. A blacksmith shop was soon started and run by Adolf Wechter, near where electric light plant now stands. The first store was owned by Mr. Bradley. The building is now C.H. Singer's butcher shop.

     The first school was held in Mrs. Eckle's home and taught by her. The present Mrs. Pope was one of the first pupils. Soon a large school was built; in fact it was so large that later it was divided into two dwellings. It was situated in the south eastern part of town. Among the first teachers were the present Mrs. L.E. Houlton and Mrs. J.M. Doyle. The Baptist and Methodist organizations also held services in the building. It was not long until the building could not accommodate all of the pupils, so school was held over Mr. Schafer's store until the new public school was built. In 1897 S.A. Dailey established the first printing office in its present location. The old style press was removed and a new modern press installed by the present editor Mr. Markley. The first hardware store was built by Oscar Swayne, who was also a notary public.

     The first telegraph operator was a Mr. Swift. He was interested in church affairs and saw the need of an organ for the Methodist Church. He determined to see if it could not be bought. By diligent work he succeeded in getting about half of the required amount of money subscribed, and in order not to disappoint the movement gave the other half from his own wages. This organ stood good services until one year ago when it was replaced by a new one.

     The first trees were those planted on the north side of Main Street in front of Fred Litz's and also the maple in front of the record office.

     In August of the same year 1886 the worst storm was witnessed which was ever known to come in this region. During the storm the lightning struck and killed Mr. Manbeck. He was buried on one corner of his claim which is now the cemetery. The first death being recorded. I will also stat Al Taylor was the first person married here. Their eldest child was the child born in Delmont.  There is some doubt on the subject, but it is thought that Delmont was named after the Delmonico Restaurant in New York City. When the railroad came it brought the town. The first train came through in the fall of 1886. I caused much excitement as well as rejoicing among the inhabitants who heard the whistle over two miles away. Before the train came they had to drive sixty miles for provisions. The little village rapidly grew to a town and April 15th of the present year( 1913) was incorporated as a city. The business center is composed of large and handsome business blocks in a thriving business is carried on. There are two banks with over $300,000.00 on deposit, also water works, electric light plant, telephone exchange, opera house. two hardware stores, three grocery stores, five elevators, besides other lines of enterprise.

    Extensive farming is carried on in the surrounding prosperous country. Stock raising is an important

industry. in the adjoining community there many modern farm houses surrounded by groves and orchards. All suggestive of wealth and plenty. The city has a public school with an enrollment of one hundred and twenty-four pupils. The school is divided into four school rooms, heated by a furnace. Two German school are also maintained in the city.  

     There are six churches. The largest is the German Lutheran which is a brick building and has all modern improvements, such as electric lights, furnace and pipe organ. There are also two other German Lutheran churches, a reformed, Methodist and Catholic church. 

      Looking into the future one may say that fifty years from now the population will be numbered in thousands. Business will be extensive and its influence will be more widely felt. The railroad will be connected with the main line at Plankinton: so that cite in the future will be one of the main traveled roads from the east to the west. Colleges will be established and the number of churches will be increased Though our city park is a small beginning in the near future it will be laid out under a careful designers directions. and be made as beautiful as those in the larger cities. The land adjoining the city , which now used for agricultural purposes will be laid out into streets and fine dwellings will be there erected. So let us hope and work for a larger and better Delmont.

     P.S. The forgoing writeup of Delmont is prepared by Hazel R. Ziegler, a member of the ninth grade of the Delmont Public School, as a part of regular work in English. It is a dandy writeup, and it is with pleasure we give it space in the Record. The young lady has a talent along that line and will some day become a good writer if she makes an toward further development in that line --Markley

This article was taken from Supplement to The Delmont Record Thursday, December 17th 1936.

​Delmont -- A Legend

O little town of Delmont, full fifty years have flown; since in Mr. Wilson's pasture was laid your cornerstone. It was early in the springtime of 1886, word went up and down the valley and over in Charles Mix --that we would have a railroad. O, that seemed grand and great. No more long trips to Scotland loaded down with flax and wheat. A railroad running through the valley, we had all visioned out, a town upon the crossroads of that we had no doubt. The people all got busy and soon agreed to pay the sum of money needed to buy the "right of way." the big railroad men of Chicago came and brought their engineer. He looked the landscape over and said, "The town should be right here." A City on a Hill." and for the country round about, a mission to fulfill. The time went swiftly by, and soon wile busy with their chains and stakes they found it was noon.

     The wind was fresh and keen and appetites were good. How glad they were to find that someone had brought a basketful of food. The lunch was lifted out and spread on a blanket on the ground, and all the hungry there quickly gathered round, and there on the sunnyside of a sheltering buggy wheel was served the city's first full meal.

     the sandwiches were surely good, the cake and pumpkin pie; but the capstone of it all was the prairie chicken pie.

     "Please pass those sandwiches again this way, I never tasted better in Delmonico's Cafe."

     The dinner over, those very busy business men gathered up their traps and chains and were on their way again. 

     The weeks went by in an office in the big railroad town, the secretary said to the chief, "Now what  shall i write down , these towns are designated 1 and 2 and 3, and shall I now write down what their names shall be?"

     "Ah yes to honor good Judge Bartlett Tripp . I know the people will be pleased; and Philip D. shall have a town, It will be the county seat, you see."

     A reminiscent, longing smile, "Ah yes! Delmontico. That's good Delmontee."

     And so our town was named; and ever since, unto this day, for cozy homes" and "splendid cooks,: our little town is famed. Delmontee is is changed to Delmont, it seems easier to say. So, please accept my legend "Believe it or Not," you may.

O, little of Delmont,

We love your quiet street,

Where on business sent or pleasure bent,

There friend and neighbor meet.

O, little town of Delmont, 

Your lights a pleasure bring,

They shine at night with beauty bright,

Like jewels on a string.

bottom of page