Historic Homes in Spearfish

by Visit Spearfish, Inc. | September 21, 2021

People from far and wide have called Spearfish home and that trend didn’t just begin a couple years or even a couple decades ago! Take look who’s claimed their home here back as far as the late 1800’s. This is intended to be a list of the properties in Spearfish, SD on the National Register of Historic Places. Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect our historic and archeological resources. These resources contribute to an understanding of the historical and cultural foundations of the nation. 

Mary Whitney House

Mary Whitney House – 1882
704 Eighth Street

    The Mary Whitney house is a one-and-one-half story Italianate dwelling with a historic one-story extension on the wast side. The Italianate style was a dominating factor in American houses in the Midwest during the mid-to-late part of the 19th century. Towns and cities of the Midwest were expanding during this era, Spearfish included. The Italianate style is very symmetrical with a rectangular, or in many cases, a square floor plan. The house has the same floor plan as the Keets/Bettleheim house. 
    The detailing is simplified compared to the elaborate Victorian styles. Primary areas of detailing are above the windows, cornices and porches. The window surrounds have a pediment above a segmented arched sash. There are boxed eaves supported by brackets. The porch is supported by square posts with chambered corners. This house incorporates many of these features. No historic information is known about Mary Whitney.

Henry Keets House

Henry Keets House – 1883
344 East Illinois Street

    This house is associated with Henry Keets, once-president of the American Bank of Spearfish. Keets was born in New York in 1839 and came to Spearfish in 1878. He was involved in the First Kentucky Cavalry and with the First United States Calvary. He was also associated with a hydroelectric plant at Redwater, SD which supplied water to Deadwood and Lead. His main interest however, was banking. When Spearfish organized under the general incorporation laws of 1885, Keets was an organizer and one of the first aldermen. He later was mayor of Spearfish. The Keets’ daughter married Dr. Bettleheim, physician for the railroad. The house is known locally as the Bettleheim house. 
    This house, built in 1883, is associated with the Victorian-Italianate style of architecture popular in the U.S., 1870-1910. However, the pyramidal roof version of this style was more common in the South, so this is a rare example of this style in Spearfish, and possibly South Dakota as well. The Mary Whitney house displays the same type of styling. 

William Driskill House

William Driskill House – 1884
335 Canyon Street

    Cattle business brought William “Tobe” Driskill to Spearfish in the spring of 1883. From 1876 to 1883 he worked as a cowboy on ranches and cattle drives from Texas to Kansas. He married Winona Creigh and came to Spearfish on a cattle drive. One of the earliest houses in Spearfish, the Driskills were famous for their highly landscaped home next to the city park. In 1921, the Driskills sold the house to Callie L. Dougherty.
    The structure sits to the back of the property with a park-like setting of trees, shrubs, and flowers which has been a part of the structure since it was built. The property originally has two spring-fed fishponds. One open spring still flows in the basement. The porch to the kitchen is highly decorative with turned columns with scroll brackets and decorative spindle work. Bay windows enhance the exterior appearance. Two houses are artfully joined together to form this house. This construction can be viewed from the attic. On the property is a garage and hexagon-shaped well house. 

John W. Driskill House

John W. Driskill House – 1885
515 Nash Street

    In 1879 John W. Driskill and his brother William “Tobe” came to the Black Hills from Hays County, Texas. Eventually they purchased the HK Ranch that belonged to Henry Keets. This Folk Victorian style architecture home was built in 1885. John and his wife, Ella, lived here along Spearfish Creek on the west side of Spearfish. The Thomas sisters, teachers at the Spearfish Normal, resided in the house for many years. 
    The front gambrel and wing plan was typical of the time period. The porch’s roof is supported by classical cloric columns with brackets and spindle work detailing under the eaves. 

Davis/Welsh House

Davis/Welsh House – 1887
345 Main Street

    The Davis/Welsh house was built circa 1887 according to the abstract. The house boasts many owners and many mortgages during its life. Probably the most well-known owners were Siver and Antionette Hovland., Norwegian immigrants, who purchased the house from B.F. in 1913 and sold it to James Corbin in 1918. Corbin sold the home in 1920 to the Dunn family. 
    “Teddy” Hovland, Hovland’s son, resided in Spearfish all his life and is remembered for his height of 6’9” and his local taxi service. 
    Capped by an intersecting gambrel roof, this one-and-one-half story Dutch Colonial house demonstrates the architectural variety in Spearfish. The front gambrel and room above project out over the front porch. Three square brick columns support concrete arches that hold up the second-floor extension. 
    About ten percent of Colonial Revival houses had gambrel roofs. From 1895 to 1915, the most common form had a front-facing gambrel roof with a cross gambrel at the rear. It is a good example of the eclectic revival house, Dutch Colonial, of the early twentieth century. 

Almira Riley House

Almira Riley House – 1892
938 Ames

    The Riley House was built for Almira Riley in 1892. No other information on Almira Riley was found. The Hearst family of Lead supposedly built the house but, never lived there. It is believed Almira Riley was a relative of the Hearsts. Although this information cannot be documented, long-time residents believe it to be true. A jeweler, Quimby, at Smith Drug, occupied the house for years. Next owners were the Stordahls. 
    Situated on a partially shaded corner lot, the tow-and-one half story brick dwelling warrants a second look. Although designed primarily in the popular queen Anne style, the house displays elements of Italianate influences. The open entry porch and an upper story open balcony area is adorned with delicate spindles, balusters, brackets and friezes. The structure has retained the steeply pitched roof of irregular shape and the dominant front and side façade with patterned asymmetrical brickwork, decorative columns and balustrades… all associated with Queen Anne style architecture. 

Oliver N. Ainsworth House

Oliver N. Ainsworth House – 1894
340 Kansas Street

    Dr. Ainsworth homesteaded in Spearfish and built this Queen Anne style home on what was to become Kansas Street. Five generations of Ainsworths have lived in Spearfish. 
    In the last two decades of the 19th century, Queen Anne styling dominated domestic building. Prominent aesthetic features of the style include irregularity and asymmetry of facades, irregular roof lines, multiplicity of siding materials – especially the use of fish scale shingles and decorative treatments to gable ends, porches, and projecting bays, The Ainsworth house displays a variety of these stylistic traits. 
    The garage represents early 20th century domestic changes. Few if any inventions had more impact on everyday life after 1900 than the automobile. Although generally simpler in detail, the garage was often designed in a style reminiscent of the main house. Constructed circa 1910, the garage at the Ainsworth house is an unaltered example of a simple one-car garage. 

Webb Knight House

Webb Knight House – 1895
514 Seventh Street

    In 1895 the Knight house was built by Webb Knight, manager of the Spearfish Electric Light and Power Company. Established in 1893, he became manager of the company in 1895. He was considered a practical electrician. Mr. Knight was elected to City Treasurer in 1903. 
    A one-and-one-half story L-shaped floor plan illustrates the Queen Anne style popular in the 1890’s. The main façade is most decorative with a small shed-roofed wood porch in the intersection of the ell. There is a closed vestibule under the shed roof. Delicate turned posts with decorative brackets make for an inviting entry into this dwelling. 

Henry Court House

Henry Court House – 1898
329 Main

    Henry Court came to Spearfish in 1880 and opened a confectionery and fruit store. He was a member of the Spearfish City Council for two terms. From 1881 – 1885 Henry was the city’s postmaster. The house later became the home of Dr. Lyle Hare. As well as his services as a local physician, Hare coached ball teams for the Spearfish Normal School, now Black Hills State University, where the sports field is named in honor of Dr. Hare. 
    At the south end of the city commercial district rests a typically featured Queen Anne Style dwelling known as the Henry Court House, A wood porch at the front entrance has a gabled roof forming a triangular pediment supported by turned-wood columns. To the left of the main entrance is a two-story porch wing that appears to have been added to the house – probably at an early date. Inside the main entrance opens a hall and stairway that leads to the upper floor. To the left of the entrance hall are front and back parlors with the dining room and kitchen to the rear. Original interior features still exist. 

James Sunderland House

James Sunderland House – 1900
711 Canyon

    James Sunderland, who built the house was the uncle of John Sunderland. John and his wife Edith came to the United States from England in 1915. John raised his family in this house and operated Sunderland’s Meat Market in Spearfish for many years. Loved by the children of Spearfish partly because of his free wieners and pickles, and partly because of his friendly manners, John and his wife spent all of their remaining years in Spearfish. 
    Located just west of the original commercial core sits the one-and-one-half simplified Queen Anne dwelling. In some ways the structure takes on a Folk Victorian style with Queen Anne influences. However, the side entrances and asymmetrical shape of the structure do not lend itself to this style. Prominent aesthetic features of the style include irregularity and asymmetry of facades, irregular roof lines, multiplicity of siding materials, and especially the use of fish scale shingles. Elements of the classical revival movement in architecture are incorporated into this dwelling. 

Fayette Cook House

Fayette Cook House – 1894
840 Eighth Street

    Fayette Cook was the second president of the Normal School, which would one day become Black Hills State University. When Cook arrived in Spearfish in 1885 the first president of the school had been convicted of killing his wife and mother-in-law in Pennsylvania and had left the school in dire straits financially. Dr. Cook, who had given up furthering his education to come here, traveled overland from Nebraska. He carried the only books that would be available in the school. He was the principal, only teacher and janitor that first year. Through his work and determination, the Normal School Flourished. Even though he “retired” in 1919, he stayed on at the school until his death in 1922. 
    In 1892, Dr. Cook married a fellow teacher Wenona Culbertson for whom the Wenona Cook Dormitory would be named. In 1893, they purchased two lots on Eighth Street and built their new home. It is built in the Queen Anne style with a steeply pitched roof and front facing gable with decorative spindle work. It is a four-bedroom home with fir woodwork and several stained-glass windows. There are bay windows in the living and dining rooms.

John Wolzmuth House

John Wolzmuth House – 1885
814 Eighth Street

    John Wolzmuth was retail hardware merchant, dealing in hardware, paints, wagons, carriages and farm implements. He came to Spearfish from Deadwood in 1880. He was elected to represent the county in the state legislature in 1886 and was a member when South Dakota became a state. He served at least nine terms and also served several terms as mayor of Spearfish. He was a member of city council, was one of the first county commissioners and served on the board of education. Wolzmuth was also instrumental in the history of the Normal School, which eventually became Black Hills State University. Through his influence in the legislature, he was able to secure funding when the future of the school was uncertain. 
    In 1884 he and his wife Margaret purchased four lots on Eighth Street and built their home. It is a two-story Victorian with a front porch and decorative “gingerbread” trim. It is one and a half story gable and ell structure with two parlors on the first floor and probably three bedrooms upstairs originally. After John’s death in 1924 Margaret continued to live here until her death in 1951. 

Eleazer C. Dickey House

Eleazer C. Dickey House -1900
735 Eighth Street

    Eleazer Dickey came from Minnesota with his family to Deadwood in 1877. When he matured, he became an associate of John Hunter an J.M.  Fish in the local mercantile company still known as Fish and Hunter. He had stock in the company and served as the manager of its lumber department for many years. He married Gwinnie W. Weaver in 1886. Shortly after the birth of their son, Walter, the Dickeys moved to Spearfish. They continued to be prominent residents the rest of their lives. Walter Dickey later engaged in the banking and cattle business. 
    The property is a good example of the Queen Anne style of architecture popular in the U.S. from 1880 -1910. The structure has maintained the rectangular plan, the pyramidal hipped roof with the dominant main façade, Neo-Classical porch, horizontal bands of shingles, and bay windows associated with the Queen Anne style. 

Arthur A. Hewes House

Arthur A. Hewes House – 1905
811 St. Joe

    Arthur Hewes had a general merchandise store in Spearfish from 1903 to at least 1921. In 1905 he built a large Queen Anne style home. Mr. Gray, a Montana rancher, bought the house in 1917. After Gray purchased the house, Episcopal Church members met in the home. During the thirties, Gray turned the single-family dwelling into a boarding house with one common kitchen. It is again, however, a single-family dwelling. 
    Situated on a landscaped corner lot, it is located in the northwestern part of Spearfish. The two-and-one-half story dwelling rises from a stone foundation with clapboard siding. Irregular roof lines created by several gabled two-story bays add interest to the outside appearance. The centers of the south and east gables are pierced by ornate round windows. Corinthian columns, Palladian windows, and leaded glass transoms complete the elegant architectural details of this home. 

Halloran-Matthews-Brady House

Halloran-Matthews-Brady House – 1906
214 Jackson Boulevard

    James T. Halloran, the first owner, was a member of the 1874 Custer Expedition. A mining man, he owned some of the better gold claims, including Golden Crown. He built this home in 1906. In 1911 he sold it to Thomas Matthews for $8,000. Matthews built two of the largest commercial building in the city, also part of the Historic District, one being the Matthews Opera House. His son Thomas, the next owner, died in 1946 when George Sitts, an escaped murderer, shot him. Matthews was a special law enforcement agent at the time. Eventually, his heirs sold the home in 1959 to Frank R. Brady, co-founder of Brady Engineering. 
    Once thought to have concrete block facing, it has been discovered that the structure’s walls are actually poured concrete. The ornate facing and decorative patterns were created with carved wood forms into which concrete was poured. 

Homestake Workers’ House

Homestake Workers’ House – 1912 
830 State Street

    The dwelling was erected by the Homestake Mining Company in 1912 near its hydroelectric plant at the east end of Spearfish Park for use as worker’s housing. It was one of four identical houses the company built for this purpose. Three of the dwellings, including this one, were moved to new sites.
    The dwelling is a catalog house from Sears-Roebuck, representing the development of pattern book and pre-cut domestic architecture in the region. The company published its first catalog of homes in 1908. Throughout the first four decades of the 20th century, Sears sold between 100,000 and 150,000 houses and was a leader in the mail-order home business. The house illustrates a common pattern book technique of turning the axis of the roof ninety degrees so the eave line, rather than the broad gable side, faces the street. 

Otto Uhlig House

Otto Uhlig House – 1922
230 Jackson Boulevard

    Shortly after the turn of the century, American architects developed a new style for domestic designs eventually known as “Bungalow.” These were low, one-story dwellings featuring broad gables on the street façade, overhanging eaves, and open-entry porches. Floor plans were often symmetrical but lacking any formal entrance foyer.
    Otto Uhlig, a pharmacist in Spearfish, built this home in 1922. The Uhlig house is a very simple version of Bungalow styling, yet it displays one of the most characteristic elements of bungalows, including an especially broad gable facing the street, exposed rafter ends, and Craftsman windows and fixtures. 

Walter Dickey House

Walter Dickey House – 1931
815 State Street

    This house is typical of the Spanish Colonial Revival style popular in the United States from 1915 – 1945. The structure was built in 1931, based on a house Walter and Margaret Dickey had seen on a trip to Minneapolis. They bought the plans and had their house built similarly. The house was one of the few private building ventures using the high-style architecture constructed in the state during the Great Depression. 
    Dickey was prominent banker in the community with ties to the emerging cattle industry. He moved to Spearfish from Deadwood with his parents shortly after his birth in 1896. Dickey grew up in Spearfish and attended the Spearfish Normal School. Dickey and his wife were active in the Christian Science Society and Black Hills State College. They donated the house to BHSU in 1980, and it is now used as the president’s residence. 

Daniel J. Toomey House

Daniel J. Toomey House – 1906
1011 Main Street

    The land was sold to Daniel J. Toomey in 1905 with the house being built shortly thereafter. D.J. Toomey sold the house to his sone, Allen Toomey in 1934. By 1940 Robert Leeper was the owner. 
    The Toomey house exhibits an excellent example of the turn-of-the-century Queen Anne style of architecture of the Free Classic subtype. The home has a wrap-around porch with a tongue-in-groove ceiling and wooden Tuscan-style pedestaled columns. Decorative embellishments include gingerbread trim. The roof is irregular steeped pitch with a gable-on-hip design. An original chimney rises from the highest point of the roof, among the seven gables. 
    Outbuildings include a tool shed, garage/carriage house, and small cabin, once the wash house. A playhouse was built by Ben. B. Burris, Spearfish High School principal for 27 years, for daughter Carol in about 1952. Ramsdell irrigation ditch, a concrete ditch, allows water to flow in front of the property during the summer months. This water is used for the purpose of irrigating the lawn and garden. 

Frank Baker House

Frank Baker House – 1921
740 Eighth Street

    This Craftsman style house was built by Frank and Gertrude Baker, Owners of Baker Shoe Store in Spearfish. They moved out of their large Queen Victorian style home to build a smaller and more “modern” bungalow. The house is a classic example of the Craftsman style homes that were built in the early 20th century, with an emphasis on workmanship and a connection to nature. 
    It has exposed rafter tails and overhanging eaves and a large front porch. The house has its original pebble stucco exterior which has stood up to 80 years of South Dakota weather. Inside, the house has fir woodwork, oak floors, a large open living room with a pink quartz fireplace, and the original kitchen. The garage was built to house two Ford Model Ts. Built with doors on both the south and north side, it was said around town that he did not like to back up. 

Benjamin F. Walters House

Benjamin F. Walters House – 1900
740 Seventh Street

    In 1897, Benjamin Walters opened a furniture and mortuary business in Spearfish. He also served in the state legislature prior to 1900. In 1896 he had purchased a residential parcel of land and constructed this dwelling on it, circa 1900. The property remained in the Walters family until 1916.
    Constructed as a multi-family dwelling, the house is a good example of the Queen Anne style of architecture popular in the U.S. from 1890 – 1910. Influenced by the work of English architect Richard Norman Shaw, Queen Anne houses provided comfort and domesticity for small servantless households. The structure displays many of the characteristics of the Queen Anne style: pyramidal hipped roof with intersecting gables, topped by a cast-iron railing, decorative porch, bands of wood shingles with a band of fish scale shingles, decorative brackets under the eaves, and bay windows. The dwelling was taken off the National Historic Register and torn down in 1997. 


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