Spearfish City Hall (old)
Situated in the center of the 700 block of Main Street in downtown Spearfish, South Dakota, the Spearfish City Hall is set back from the street with two large fir trees covering most of the front facade. The City Hall is a massive, square, two-story stone masonry building. Rising from a concrete foundation, it has rubble limestone walls with coursed red sandstone pilasters dividing the front facade into five bays. The front and side walls extend into a parapet, which is stepped on the front and capped with cast concrete coping. A sloped, flat built-up roof covers the building. Windows are recessed one-over-one wood double-hung units with pre-cast concrete sills arid lintels. The main entrance, which consists of an aluminum door with a transom and sidelights, is raised approximately two feet above grade. It incorporates a set of concrete steps and a newer concrete ramp that extends out toward the street…
Spearfish, located on the eastern rim of the Black Hills, was founded in 1876 in response to the emerging gold rush. It quickly grew into a vital service community for the area miners and ranchers. In the mid-1880’s the city became the home of Black Hills Normal School, now known as Black Hills State University.
By the mid 1930’s, the Great Depression had created large scale unemployment and economic despair across the United States. In South Dakota the depression had come many years earlier because of problems in the agricultural economy. Problems with the economy started in the early 20’s with a severe and prolonged drought that lasted until the late 30’s and early 40’s, leaving much of the land harmed. Many federal programs were established to ease the poverty conditions. South Dakota took advantage of such programs during the economically depressed years. In 1935, the federal government established the Works Progress Administrations to provide jobs for unemployed, able-bodied local people to work on public projects. City, county and state agencies provided some matching funds – approximately 11% by local agencies and 39% by the WPA in South Dakota. Many public buildings were built across South Dakota. In many cases they were and still remain the major landmark in the towns and cities.
Spearfish was one of the cities that benefited by the Works Progress Administration, in South Dakota, securing a grant for a much needed sewer system and a new city hall. Until 1939, the city offices were located in several buildings around Spearfish. In October 1937, the city council voted to submit a proposal to the WPA. By March 1938 the proposal was approved and construction began. Of the $45,000 required to build the structure, $39,000 came from the WPA, and $6,000 was matched locally. Seventy men from Lawrence County were employed on the project which met the requirements of the WPA by putting local people to work on local construction projects, providing jobs and improving the local economy. The building was occupied in 1939.
NRHP Nomination Form: https://npgallery.nps.gov/pdfhost/docs/NRHP/Text/90001649.pdf
Nearby historical marker also highlights WPA construction of the city hall.
Project originally submitted by Douglass Halvorsen on February 15, 2018.
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