Tag Archives: family

From Crazy Horse to Wall Drug: Visiting Home

By Danielle Prostrollo

This autumn I am taking a few weeks off from writing, reading, and studying to be with family and introduce my other half, Dan, to the beauty of South Dakota. Having grown up there its easy to go back and entertain myself – its home. But this will be Dan’s first trip to America, so I feel the pressure to make sure he gets to experience everything.


So I’m going to do what no born-and-bred South Dakotan has ever done (I’m guessing?)… consult a tourist guidebook. The library has an heroic collection of travel guides for all corners of the United States so I was lucky enough to find two different books to use: Mount Rushmore & The Black Hills by Laural A. Bidwell (a Moon guide) and Off the Beaten Path: The Dakotas by Lisa Meyers McClintick.

The obvious ‘Must-See’ attractions are there – Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore, and the Badlands. Those aren’t in question, we’ll certainly put those on the list. Other options that would normally be a given include Hill City/Keystone salt water taffy but sadly we’ll have missed out on taffy season.

From the guidebooks I realised I had forgotten about the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site and Launch Center Delta-01 – a site we will definitely visit, weather permitting. The old Cold War missile silo and launch center are something a little bit different in a state that is best known for its Wild West history.

While reading I stumbled into the history of Mount Rushmore, something we all learn as kids but hadn’t thought about in a long time and resonated much more now that I have been living abroad for a few years. Specifically, what I found interesting is that Mount Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum was friends with famous French sculptor Auguste Rodin and had exhibited for Queen Victoria before returning to America and taking on large scale projects such as the Stone Mountain project (which his temper eventually saw him relieved from) and Mount Rushmore.

And in a bit of reminiscence, the entry on the Black Hills Institute brightened my day. The Institute was a stalwart of my childhood summers. Sue the T. rex was my favorite. I was of the perfect age to be devastated when she left the Black Hills for good but on this visit I hope to see Stan, the most complete T. rex, to date.

There’s so much to see, hopefully we can tick off as many as possible.


Wall Drug – the greatest emporium/roadside attraction around

Alpine Inn in Hill City – ultimate restaurant for the indecisive (you get a steak, either a big one or a smaller one)

A beer in Deadwood – toast one to ol’ Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane (for more info on Wild Bill in South Dakota, we have some great books on the man in the library)

Mount Moriah – a similar but more solemn remembrance of Bill and Jane at their resting place

Nick’s Hamburgers – on the other side of the state these famous burgers are tiny but delicious

Corn Palace – who wouldn’t love a building covered in corn murals?

Falls Park – the namesake of Sioux Falls, the Falls are a great attraction for anyone who enjoys a walk in the park

Al’s Oasis – to get between East and West River you have to stop at Al’s Oasis to recover and recuperate in their cafeteria.

And the list goes on. Undoubtedly, this trip will spark a ton of lists for future visits as the Black Hills and the Great Plains offer such beautiful landscapes and rich culture.




Leave a comment

Filed under American Culture, American History, American Travel, Books, Uncategorized

Family Members Pay Tribute to 2nd Lt. Warren Freed

Jeff Foss and his wife Laura Freed are an American couple who came to the Library looking to find out more about their relative, 2nd Lt. Warren Freed, who served as a pilot in the 453rd. They are told he flew three missions aboard B-24 “Strictly Business”, before having to crash it into the North Sea and perishing. Freed’s name is featured in our honor roll.

During their visit, the couple visited Old Buckenham airfield where Freed was based. Of their visit they said, “[they] learned a lot about this particular aspect of WWII, and also about the people of Norfolk and the special bond between our countries. All of the tales the good-natured Norfolk locals during that period of wartime were reflected in our own meetings with people there during our visit.”

Jeff was kind enough to share his flickr album of their journey, including our museum and library, which can be found here:https://secure.flickr.com/photos/42893431@N00/sets/72157644966525926/

Jeff also works as a TV News cameraman and video editor and covered the 70th Anniversary of D-Day in his local area in Reno, Nevada. By chance, as he tells it, Jeff was assigned to interview two local veterans, one of whom served as a flight engineer at Tibenham.

You can catch a part of that interview here:  

Many thanks to Jeff and Laura for sharing and for visiting us! Until next time!


Leave a comment

Filed under American History, Local Interest, Memorial Library, World War 2

Just taking the kids to the (National) Park

Lanza Kids at Glacier National Park. Photo by Michael Lanza.

Lanza Kids at Glacier National Park. Photo by Michael Lanza.

“Since we started hiking yesterday morning, other backpackers have stopped and stared at our kids, asking their ages. Alex and Nate have probably noticed that we’ve seen only a few other kids out here. But they have no grasp of the anomaly of their own presence. It would mean nothing to them to hear that I was past thirty when I first saw these mountains and walked this trail; they are Westerners, but I was a child of the East who discovered the West as an adult. They don’t yet appreciate that they are experiencing one of America’s most beloved landscapes more intimately than the vast majority of their countrymen ever will.

“But that’s the problem with mature perspective: you don’t acquire it until long after it first would have been useful.”

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA

Outdoorsman and writer Michael Lanza has hiked the American West like a teepeed nomad. He’s a kind of ranger-shaman. He knows things that a man knows only when he’s lived and stalked around outdoors like the beast Darwin says he is. Lanza knows, for instance, that “the Tetons will manhandle your psyche.” He knows the giddying company of “a bull elk standing right outside our tents in the milky glow of a full moon.” He knows five miles of “dizzying pain from a broken foot” and he knows the less temporary consequences of walking undomesticated terrain: death (what goes up must come down, and its remains be found), and loss. “Returning to ground where Rick and I stood together … I also feel his absence, like I’m in an empty room where we were supposed to meet.”

But that is all cake because over four seasons Lanza is doing it over — the Tetons, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Glacier Bay, Joshua Tree, the Rockies, and others — with a couple of tagalongs, Nate and Alex, aged nine and seven.


Before They're Gone, by Michael LanzaThe title says it all: Before They’re Gone: A Family’s Year-Long Quest to Explore America’s Most Endangered National Parks (Beacon Press, 2012). Each chapter tells of visiting a different national park. Lanza puts you there but takes an unusual angle. He also leads you to see the world through a child’s eyes — his children are engaging co-protagonists — and to grasp from a new perspective the challenges ahead. The personal narrative is grounded by studies and reports and interviews. What you get is a boots-on-the-ground account of climate change set against the desire of every parent to fill their children’s lives with the wonders of their own.

Discover and Plan with the help of our American Travel Guides

As you begin to plan for the summer holidays, why not take a look through our collection of American travel guides? As well as covering all fifty states broadly and in depth, our collection will guide you through the hundreds of national park areas across America. Here are a couple I’ve just thumbed:

The Official Guide to America's National ParksThe Official Guide to America’s National Parks: 13th Edition (Fodors, 2009). Every year millions of people travel to cherished national parks such as Yellowstone and Yosemite to see some of the most stunning landscapes on Earth. Produced in cooperation with the National Park Foundation, this is the official guide to all 397 sites in the national park system, including natural, historic, and cultural treasures.  It’s invaluable as a quick reference as well as to help plan the trip of a lifetime. 

National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of the United StatesNational Geographic Guide to the National Parks of the United States: Sixth Edition (National Geographic, 2009). Packed with more color photographs (380) and detailed, color maps (80) than any other parks guidebook on the market, this handy, practical, guide offers comprehensive information on the crown jewels of the national park system — the 58 scenic national parks that conserve and protect the flora and fauna in some of our nation’s last wilderness areas. This guide helps travelers design custom trips, depending on the time and interests they have.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books