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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)

Page 434

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
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
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
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 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
Montana. It is estimated that the Indian population surrounding the school
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.
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
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
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
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
Corn is a fair crop, but not much was planted as the season is rather short
growing same. 
The valleys in this section of the country are quite productive and there
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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