Bancroft News

1906: Buggies upstairs at lumber yard


Brad Magness was the speaker at the Presbyterian Church on May 30.

Rose Grothe of De Smet, accompanied by her daughter Janice White of Brookings, attended the 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration of Mr. and Mrs. Keith Anderson of Windom, Minn. on Sunday afternoon. Mrs. Anderson is the niece of Rose Grothe and the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. John (Ella Martens) Bestge of Fulda, Minn. Among other relatives who also attended were Mr. and Mrs. Dean Raabe of Watertown, Linda (Raabe) Meier of Egan and Marcia Swanson, daughter of the late Al and Anita (Martens) Swanson, of Minneapolis, Minn. Mary Winter, daughter of Deddo and Lucille Bestge, former Bancroft residents also attended.

history of lumber yards

The first lumber yard was built around 1900 and was owned by H.W. Ross and Company. That structure had a lumber yard on the north side of the building and hardware store in the south part. This building was rebuilt a short time before 1929 with one shop torn down at a time, until the new look showing the hardware store and lumber yard on opposite sides of where they were previously.

The first manager of Ross Lumber was Jim Clancy (1900-1911), followed by Joe Bigham (1910-1928). J.B. “Ike” Hoberg, (1929-1930s) assisted by Ed Winsman and Cy Gehring. Mr. Ernie Carlton (1940-1953) and the final operator Roger Denman (1954-). Others who worked for Ross Lumber Co. were Cliff Holland in 1910-1920 and Jake Reins in 1912 (he did the tinshop work). It is ironic that the west coast fir lumber sold locally, being a better grade, was not purchased but that people rather purchased the lesser grade northern Minnesota pine. This decision caused another business to close its doors, and the building now stands vacant, used only as a home for school buses.

Another lumber company began in 1906 when Dan Thompson started a lumber business south of the railroad tracks. In 1912, the Milham Bros. bought out Dan and operated until 1913 when the Frenchman, Chester “Chet” La Craft came from Clark to put in his two years. At that time Ross Lumber bought the building and used it for three years. It then stood vacant for a number of years until Eilt Claassen re-did the wooden building and kept some of his machinery there.

The lumber company used to sell buggies which were pulled upstairs by pulleys, until eventually the buggies and lumber were sold to other towns and individuals. In later years it served as a dormitory and home for a wheat puffing plant.


This building was moved into town by Merle Forbes shortly after the fire of 1918. It first served as a meeting hall for the Masonic Lodge and then for a short time became a cafe under the management of a Mrs. Bates. From 1926 until 1930, it became a pool hall and place to play cards. It then stood empty for some time until Mr. and Mrs. Bill Austin purchased the building to use as a grocery store and post office from 1944 until 1952. They sold it to another grocer, Joe Stahl. From a grocery it became a restaurant once more as a Mr. McCracken used it for that purpose in addition to it being his home. From there it became the home of Albert Korkow, James Thaden and later Mrs. Fred Hageman. She also used it as a restaurant and bar for one year. Its most recent owners were Mr. and Mrs. Grant Gilmore. (Taken from Bancroft, South Dakota 1889-1971 by Gary Lee Jerke)


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