Dakota Midday: Legends of Spearfish

Apr 27, 2015

Local writer and historian Paul Higbee says Spearfish is the most western town he knows. Although it doesn’t dress “cowboy,” it was founded on the gold mining, cattle and lumber economies of the Old West and prospers in the farming and tourism economies of the New West.

State Normal School President Fayette L. Cook, 1887
Credit Black Hills State University

Higbee is the author of several books about state history and is a feature writer and columnist for South Dakota Magazine. He’s also a teacher in the South Dakota Arts Council’s Artists in Schools program. His play Phantom of the Matthews Opera House returns to Spearfish's historic theater this summer.

During a Dakota Midday broadcast from the stage of the Matthews Opera House, Higbee shared stories of such Spearfish legends as cattleman and opera house builder Thomas Matthews, stagecoach driver Harvey Fellows, aviator Clyde Ice, founding university president Fayette Cook, and Passion Play founders Josef and Clare Meier.