Fast Search
Consider your future CITY AND
Main Street Square Economic Development City of Presidents Chamber of Commerce
Email Us
© 2012 Raben Real Estate

South Dakota Black Hills Settler News

Rapid City
The City of Presidents
New Additions
Imagine walking down St. Joseph Street and then on to Main Street and meeting, on your way, past American Presidents. They will be found on street corners, standing life size, and created in bronze by leading Western South Dakota sculptors. Visitors and residents alike will be able to walk among the Presidents and be photographed face to face and side by side with them. That is especially enjoyable for children and their grandparents.
Each President is actual height and dressed appropriately for the period in which he lived. Each year two Presidents from the beginning of the Presidency and two beginning with contemporary past Presidents will be created and placed on Rapid City’s downtown streets. A ten-year completion date is anticipated for the project. Park your car at main street square and enjoy the walking tour.
Text by Gil Raben © 2012

The Beautiful Black Hills Where the Altitude Affects Your Attitude
Rapid City is listed at 3,250 feet above sea level not considering all the higher elevations and fabulous views scattered throughout the city. The highest points in the area are located at Harney Peak (over 7,000 feet) and our ski areas (almost as high). Some of the communities have an elevation over 1 mile above sea level. These heights provide the gift of some amazing blue skies and towering white clouds to go with our clean mountain air.
The books tell us that Harney Peak is the highest point between the Pyrenees and the Rocky Mountains which is still pretty great for an area that was once 15,000 feet high a few tens of millions of years ago - erosion will do that! In summary, being at a high elevation with clean air and at the top of the watershed combined with an energizing climate and miles and miles of public, state and federal lands to enjoy, it all contributes even more to the Black Hills as a great place to enjoy the good life.
A few years ago, a family (newly arrived from Kansas) was working with us to buy a home. At one point, the wife, who had been driving around on her own, called in despair and said, “I hate it here. Wherever I try to drive, there’s a hill in the way.” Now, after living here a few years, she has the right attitude - those hills offer great views!
Text by Gil Raben © 2012

Hikers and
Mountain Bikers
Hikers and bikers enjoy special benefits in the Hills. For the physical size of the region, it offers hundreds of miles of trails to enable you to explore and enjoy the natural beauty of the scenery and serenity of the Paha Sapa (the Black Hills). One trail runs from Deadwood to Pringle (the Mickelson Trail) along the abandoned Burlington-Northern Railroad Line, the Centennial Trail runs from Bear Butte to Wind Cave (close to Hot Springs) and there are other trails in the Central Hills like Black Elk Wilderness and Norbeck Wildlife Preserve. Contact us for information or just click on Black Hills Maps.
Text by Gil Raben © 2012

More Good News for Our Area about Rapid City Air Quality
A recent article in the Rapid City Journal reported that the American Lung Association rated Rapid City as one of four U. S. Cities with the country’s cleanest air. Our altitude of 3,202 feet and the mountains in the area (Harney Peak tops out at 7,242 feet) also further improve air quality. When my parents moved to the Black Hills in 1937, they built a home on what my mother called Hurricane Hill (not true), but she had been living in flat country (remember the dust bowl days of the 1930’s) and soon learned to appreciate the climate, the views, and our lifestyle in the Black Hills - the beautiful Paha Sapa (Lakota). For more area climate information, go to and click on “Climate” to visit our sensational season overview. Why is it so great you ask? Air circulation from around the mountains, no major pollution generators (but a regional center for services), recreation, medical facilities, education, transportation and retirement areas, fresh air, clean and abundant water resources, and all the added benefits of good living without a lot of metro area problems.
Text by Gil Raben © 2012
History & Who We Are
Our great grandfather and grandmother left Denmark and settled in Dakota Territory just before South Dakota Statehood. That may not qualify us as natives but certainly long-term settlers. With a five generation history in the state, we hope that some of our experience and knowledge will offer visitors an understanding and insight into life in the Black Hills - the beautiful Paha Sapa. Today we are professional Realtors. We locate properties, we sell properties and we are an information resource for this area. We do not have paid advertising on this site but offer links and articles about the Black Hills. Enjoy and if you have any information requests, let us know. The Rabens
Text by Gil Raben © 2012

Year-Around Fishing
From fly fishing to ice fishing, the fishing season never closes in South Dakota which makes the pursuit of trout a year-round sport. The Black Hills are home to 14 mountain lakes and more than 300 miles of meandering streams containing brook, brown and rainbow trout. The surrounding prairie has reservoirs and stock dams that have walleyes, largemouth bass, northern pike, catfish and a variety of panfish. Because the Black Hills are user-friendly, you don’t have to drive a hundred miles to get to your favorite fishing spot. Most of the communities have fishing available within the city and there are no lines to stand in and no waiting to get to your favorite fishing hole.
Text by Gil Raben © 2012

Small Town Living with Big City Activities, Services & Advantages
The Rapid City limits cover about 45 square miles (larger than the San Francisco, CA, city limits) with a population of about 100,000 people. In that area, we enjoy large parks and formal gardens, picnic areas, greenways, recreation and playing fields for soccer, baseball, football and more such as recently added aquatic parks and, 2 new hockey/ice facility for year-around events and miles and miles of scenic paths for bicycles, walking and jogging. If you’re into fishing, we have several lakes and Rapid Creek flowing through the community. All of this located in our beautiful mountains has enhanced the outdoor pleasures. And to complement all that, we are the regional center for an area of hundreds of thousands of people and, in the tourist season, millions of visitors for conventions and “seeing the sights.” Add to all that our first-class regional medical services, entertainment from Broadway musicals to theatre and rodeos, shopping, good dining, retirement facilities, education though college and university level, an exciting art community and volumes more. (Check out Package that all together with a cost of living that is one of the most affordable in the country and you’ve found an excellent reason to explore your options in Rapid City in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. When you consider that it all started as a “Hay Camp” over one hundred years ago where it delivered supplies to larger mining communities in the hills, Rapid City has done well for itself and it’s residents.

By the way: If you are into it, there are golf offerings throughout the whole area and especially the Rapid City area.
Text by Gil Raben © 2012


In the past, communication was handled with the technology of that time. Multiple letter copies were made with carbon paper or a hectograph (A gelatin tray and a purple-inked master was good for about 20 copies.) The new mimeograph quickly surpassed that with multiple copies made by cranking the drum. The Thermofax copied on special paper and lasted 7 years before fading away. Then the fax and computers appeared along with the internet, e-mail, cell phones, networking, and other tools. Now people are linked with websites, You Tube, Twitter, texting, etc. The world is at our fingertips on our keyboard and with other high-tech tools never imagined 80 years ago.

I kind of miss the “personal touch” - telephone calls on a party line with someone yelling,“GET OFF THE LINE!”

Text by Gil Raben © 2013

Grassy Commons, City Center Ice Rink, Farmers’ Market, Shops, More Parking, Water Displays, Band Shell, Public Restrooms, & More!

Pricey? Yes, but with more downtown projects to be added to complement other attractions and businesses, there’s just one more consideration . . . Will we see an influx of ducks and geese from the overpopulated west side parks? Just a thought . . . .
If so the Downtown Association will provide pigeons to the parks!

Text by Gil Raben © 2013

Year-Around Good Times and Events
The Black Hills area offers an amazing menu of experiences and adventures to visitors and to residents alike. Deadwood is a good example. It is located at close to a mile high in the mountain country with bright blue sky and fresh air and surrounded by western history. The new Deadwood offers gaming, entertainment for adults and children, history and access to skiing and snowmobiling in winter. All of this is only minutes from Mt. Rushmore and Spearfish Canyon. Spend some time in the high country touring old mines and ghost towns. The Queen City, Spearfish, is the home of Black Hills State University and, with everything else, is increasingly popular as a regional retirement center. Lead, SD, Deadwood’s sister city, is the site of a new national neutrino research center. The other area cities and towns are also growing.
Text by Gil Raben © 2012

are comprised of different heritages, religions and other variations but our common bonds are our freedoms and being Americans first and foremost. In this troubled and fast-changing world, we must sustain our system of government and work as one toward its preservation. The tragedy of September 11, 2001, acted as a catalyst to unify us toward the goal of protecting our way of life, our people and our democratic heritage. When many of our ancestors arrived here, they were seeking the very things that, by and large, we enjoy today. We are aware of the injustices that occurred to Black Americans and the unfairness that affected Native Americans, but this time there may be an opportunity that we had not earlier realized. In the past, when people asked us about our own family roots, we usually responded with Danish or English or German American, as other groups do. What if, when we are asked from now on, we say proudly "American" of Danish heritage (or Polish, Indian, Black, etc.) but, first and foremost, an AMERICAN.
Text by Gil Raben © 2012

Consider the Good Old Days! or Global What?

Climate change, carbon dioxide, pollution, or just bad weather . . . What are the facts? The Dakota Settler has a few ideas. Six or seven decades ago, you could easily see the railroad grade at Wall, SD, from Skyline Drive. You could climb Harney Peak or drive to the top of Terry Peak and enjoy the view into many surrounding states most of the time. At night, you could wonder at the Northern Lights and view the magnificent Milky Way from your own yard. Now there are changes. We, however, are still more fortunate than most. A short drive into our high country provides us with those pleasures again. In addition to our climate and beautiful seasons, we are further blessed with a large aquifer plus snow and rain for abundant clear water. Some pollution drifts in, but our location in the approximate center of North America protects us from the faster changes happening elsewhere on the planet. The facts? Things are changing!!!

Maybe man just needs to leave a smaller footprint on Gaia (Mother Earth). Think about it!

Text by Gil Raben © 2013

Blog to follow

Here is a story told back in 1909 about bad news. Ours may not seem so bad after all!

A wealthy rancher and businessman was advised by his physician to go to the mountains for a rest. So he went home, told the members of family what the doctor had suggested, and said, "I'm going to operate on his advice. Now while I'm away, I don't want to be annoyed with letters or telegrams. In fact, I'm going where I can't be reached by either."

After about six weeks, he returned home very much improved in health and very anxious for some news. When he got off the train at the station and was met by his ranch foreman, the following conversation ensued:

He said, "Well, Hank, how is everything at home? Is there any news?"

"No Sir, there’s really no news. Not much has happened. Everything's just about the same as when you left."

“Well,” he said, "You know I am just dying for some word from home now. You can tell me any little thing, no matter how trifling."

"No sir, there’s no news, nothing to tell you, nothing happened except, ah. . .there's just one little thing, course it doesn’t amount to anything, but as long as you are so anxious to know, I'll tell you. . . Since you've been away your dog died.”

“Oh no! That’s terrible! What happened?"

"Well sir, the dog, ah, the dog ate some burned horse flesh."

“Where did he get burnt horse flesh to eat?”

"Well sir, see your barn burned down. Burned up all the cows and horses and, after the fire had cooled off, the dog went in and ate some of the burnt horse flesh and that's what killed the dog."

"My barn burned down, eh?"

“Oh, yes sir, the barn, that's all burned down.”

"How did the barn catch fire?"

"Well, you see, sparks from the house flew over, caught onto the barn and burned the barn down, burnt up all the cows and the horses and after the fire had cooled off, the dog went in and ate some of the burnt horse flesh and that's what killed the dog."

"My house must have burned too?"

"Oh, the house, that's completely destroyed."

"How did the house catch fire?"

"They had some candles burning in the house, and one of the candles set the lace curtains on fire and then the whole house caught on fire, and the wind blew sparks over to the roof of the barn.”

"They had candles burning in the house where I have gas and electricity?”

“Yes, sir, they had the candles burning all around the coffin."

"Coffin! Who's dead?"

"Well, that's another little thing I overlooked. Since you've been away your mother-in-law died."

"My mother-in-law is dead?"

"Yes sir, she's dead all right.”

"What killed my mother-in-law?"

"Well I don't know exactly what killed her, sir, but around the neighborhood, they say it was from the shock of your wife running away with your chauffeur, but outside of that sir, there’s no news.”

Written in 1909 By Nat Wills
Grandmas Recipies
Early Dakota life: Great Grandmother Fitzgeralds Special Washing Fluid For great chicken dinners try Mansfields chick feed for small chickens

      1. One can of Louis Lye
      2. One pint of Amonia
      3. 10 teaspoons salts of Tatar
      4. 3 Gallons of water

      a. First disolve Lye in water
      b. Add Amonia & bottle uptight
      c. Add one cup of washing fluid to a boiler of water

Caution - colors may fade some cloth may fall apart

* Note * Do not mix, use, recommend or buy the above ingredients. Just be greatful for the new products.

      1. 60 Lbs ground yellow corn

      2. 20 lbs. steel cut oats

      3. 20 lbs. Mill run

      4. 15 lbs. Meat Scraps

      5. 2 lbs. charcoal

      6. 1 lb table salt

(very good for little chicks)

also feed butter milk some or try a super market!

Gil Raben - Owner Broker
Contacts: Email
1-605-342-7272 Local Phone
Members: Black Hills & National Association of Realtors
Rapid City Chamber of Commerce
Raben Real Estate 401 3rd Street, Rapid City, SD 57701
Mail: Raben Real Estate PO Box 1279 Rapid City, SD 57709

401 - 3rd St.
Rapid City, SD 57701
Licensed in SD - Members: Black Hills and National Association of Realtors, Rapid City Multiple Listing Service, Rapid City Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Association