Sturgis & Meade County History Day to be held June 15

The annual event showcasing local history will be held at the Sturgis Community Center, and will recognize the 150 th anniversary of the 1874 Custer Expedition

Sturgis, South Dakota — May 24, 2024— The eighth annual History Day, sponsored by the Sturgis & Meade County Historical Society, will be held Saturday, June 15, at the Sturgis Community Center. “1874 Custer Expedition: 150 Years of Exploration, Settlement and
Exploitation” is the theme of the event this year.

Booths displaying a variety of historical artifacts, pictures and other information and memorabilia will be open on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. A donation lunch will also be served. Booths include information and displays about the Sturgis & Meade County Historical Society, latest updates from the archaeological dig at the Bear Butte Creek Historic Preserve, “Where I’m From”—a collaboration between Sturgis Brown High School Academy students and Aspen Grove Assisted Living residents, West River History Conference, a collection of antique maps including ones from the 1874 Custer expedition, History Below The Pines group, Black Hills Gold Rush as a result of the Custer Expedition, Early Women and their Influence After the Gold Rush, Lead Homestake Mine and Lab exhibits, Sturgis Area Arts Council History at High Noon and more.

The Meade County Time Capsule will also be on display, along with items from the Old Fort Meade Museum.

The Society will again be presenting their Friend of History Award(s).

Two programs, both held at the Sturgis Community Center Theater, will be offered. Donovin Sprague will present “1874-1877 Lakota History Shaping Sturgis Area History” at noon.

Photographer Paul Horsted will present “Exploring with Custer: The 1874 Black Hills Expedition” at 2:00 p.m.

For those who want to learn more about the Sturgis and Meade County Historical Society, a booth with information about the Society and membership will be available. There are five levels of membership in the Sturgis & Meade County Historical Society, as follows: individual
membership, $25 per year; family membership, $35 per year; student membership, $15 per year; life membership, one-time payment of $5,000; and business sponsorship, $250 per year.

History Day is possible, due in part, to the support from the City of Sturgis, HomeSlice Group, KBHB Radio and the Meade County Commission.

For more information, call 605-381-5395 or email

About Sturgis & Meade County Historical Society
Founded in 2014, the Sturgis & Meade County Historical Society is the result of a cooperative effort of people within the local community who are dedicated to preserving and relating the history of the area. The official mission of the Society is to “Preserve, protect and promote Sturgis and Meade County History.” More information can be found at

For more information, press only:
Logan Lamphere
Sturgis & Meade County Historical Society

Jan Lamphere, below, asks questions of Janice Nequette of the information contained
on a poster board put together by Joan Bachmeier about the Nequette family during
History Days 2023. (Photo by Kris Hubbard)

Complete List of Booths for 2024 History Day

Janice Lundgren, Kris Hubbard — Sturgis & Meade County Historical Society information

Logan Lamphere – 1874 Custer Expedition maps

Joan Bachmeier – Sturgis & Meade County Historical Society scrapbooks

Violet Stoltz – Early women and their influence after the gold rush

Mark Rambow – Meade County Time Capsule items old and new

Marcia Moore (Aspen Grove Activities Director) – “Where I’m From,” poems written by Sturgis High School Academy seniors based on personal history interviews with Aspen Grove senior residents.

Ross Lamphere – Bear Butte Creek Historic Preservation Council

Tim Velder, Laura Hovey Neubert, Dave Super – West River History Conference

Richard Moeller – Sturgis Area Arts Council History at High Noon

Lee Stroschine, Jessica Kusser – Old Fort Meade Museum

Bill Swanson, Spearfish – Ghost towns which sprouted from the Custer Expedition

Sanford Underground Research Facility and Homestake History Group

Afternoon Programing

1874-1877 Lakota History Shaping Sturgis Area History by Donovin Sprague
Custer Expedition and its effects on the Tribal peoples in the area.
Gold – The program will discuss historical events of the Lakota from gold discovery in 1874 to 1877 when Lakota surrenders had occurred-1877. Following the 1874 Custer Expedition into the Black Hills and gold discovery, there was a large influx of miners and settlement into the Black Hills which was a center of activity for the Lakota people. Events that followed included an attempt to have all “hostile” Lakota surrender to agencies.
The Treaty – Because the Black Hills land was wanted for the gold resources attempts were made to change the boundary and title to the Black Hills which was already designated to the Lakota through the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie. When the legal terms of the treaty were attempted to be changed by the Allison Commission who met near Crawford, Nebraska, the commission broke up and returned to Washington, D.C. where they comprised a forced plan which became known as the 1877 Black Hills Agreement.
Aftermath – Lakota either populated the agencies or refused to surrender and were labeled hostiles. War continued between them and the U.S.
Fort Meade was chosen for its proximity to Bear Butte and known camping areas of the tribes. The military wanted to oversee the new agencies and provide a military force if needed.
1874 Custer Expedition into the Black Hills. Its effect on the Lakota people.
June 17, 1876 Battle of the Rosebud in Montana
June 25-26, 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana
September, 1876 Battle of Slim Buttes in S.D.
Surrenders – April-May, 1877 Lakota-Cheyenne surrenders. Lakota are on 5 reservations in western S.D. The “surplus” land was opened to non-Indian settlement.
Significance of Bear Butte and the waterways in western S.D

2:00 p.m.
Exploring with Custer: The 1874 Black Hills Expedition by Paul Horsted
The presentation focuses specifically on this historic and controversial expedition. The route of the wagon train and the campsites of the expedition have been located and documented, and Horsted presents details of the first photographs ever taken in the Black Hills, including matching views from today at the same locations. He will focus on the camps east of Sturgis, south of Bear Butte, from mid August 1874. This project’s photos and book were completely revised in 2023 with all-new photographs and 36 pages added to the book. Paul will be available for a book signing afterwards. For more info you can go to his site:


You can become a member or Business Sponsor of the Sturgis & Meade County Historical Society online.
You can also make a valued Donation.
Your support is essential in our efforts and is highly appreciated.