United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1905, Part I
Reports of superintendents of independent schools, pp. 415-440 PDF (11.7 MB)
434 REPORTS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR. REPORT OF SCHOOL AT RAPID CITY, S. DAK. RAPID CITY, S. DAK., October 9, 1905. This school is situated two miles northwest of the Rapid City depot of the Chicago and Northwestern Railway. Three new lines of railroad are now being built here, which when completed will make the school easily accessible from all directions. The location of the school is excellent, being on a plateau of about 40 feet above the valley of Rapid Creek, a swift and never failing stream which passes near the school. It is at the gateway of the southern hills country, and to the west and north are the forest-covered mountains of the Black Hills range. The climate is one of the most healthful of all the west. Perhaps in no other place is there less sickness due to climatic conditions. The school was established in 1897, and at that time comprised one large main building, in which were the dormitories and nearly all the departments of the school, the capacity being 100 pupils. In 1903 a dormitory building for girls, capacity 100 pupils; a school building and assembly hall, steam laundry, employees' building. and superintendent's cottage were constructed, and the capacity of the school increased to 250 pupils. All the main buildings are of brick, steam heated, and lighted by acetylene gas. Other new buildings, viz, workshop, hospital, and a barn have been provided for by appropriation by Congress, and when same are completed will add much to the efficiency of the school. The enrollment for year ending June 30, 1905, was 261, with an average attendance of 228. In matter of attendance this school is most favorably located. It is the only school near to the west of Rosebud, Pine Ridge, and Cheyenne River reservations, and is also not far south and east of the Sho- shoni Reservation of Wyoming, and the Crow and Tongue River reservations of Montana. It is estimated that the Indian population surrounding the school is 30,000. The attendance is a question of how many can be accommodated and also one of not interfering with the attendance at the reservation schools. The policy of the school has been to act in harmony in this matter with the authori- ties on the reservations, and much kindly assistance has been shown by agents and superintendents in making transfers to the school. The Black Hills country will ever be an attractive place to the Indians of South Dakota and Montana. It is their old hunting grounds. As the railroads and mining interests afford employment to all who want to work, there is usually a considerable Indian population at or near Rapid City. Common labor- ers are paid from $2 to $2.50 per day, and as the Indians in many instances find this better than they can do on the reservations, they come here to take up the question of self-support along the lines of the white man. The general work of the school for the year was quite satisfactory. The liter- ary work was one of the strongest departments, due largely to our limited facilities for industrial instruction. The laundry, sewing, and other domestic departments were satisfactory and efficient. The chief industrial training for boys was afforded by the farm and stock interests. The school farm comprises 370 acres, a large part of which is valley land and under irrigation. The season just past, however, was such as to render irrigation unnecessary.. About 15 acres are in orchard of apple and cherry trees and small fruit. The crop this year was almost a failure, there being only about 100 bushels of apples and very little small fruit. This was due to the unusually late frost, when trees were in bloom. Alfalfa and hay crops were good, about 200 tons having been cut. The oats crop gave promise of an excellent yield, but heavy rain and wind storms caused it to fall before harvest and made it difficult to save; 909 bushels were thrashed and 4 or 5 tons cut and put up as hay. The potato crop is estimated at 1,000 bushels. Other crops, such as vegetables, etc., will be sufficient for use of the school. Corn is a fair crop, but not much was planted as the season is rather short for growing same. The valleys in this section of the country are quite productive and there was great demand for work hands during the harvest and thrashing seasons. The large boys of the school found abundant opportunity to work at good wages, and the experiences with farm machinery and steam thrashers were interesting and beneficial to them. The employees, with very few exceptions, have been interested and faithful in their work, and general harmony and unity of purpose have prevailed. J. F. HOUSE, Superintendent.
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