Share |


08:05 am - Wed, April 3 2013
Heidi said:
Bad water, a bank robbery and a murder all led to the town's demise. So sad!
06:45 pm - Wed, April 3 2013
Leon Ewert said:
Did a lot of growing up in Owanka! My Grandfather was section foreman for the railroad. The two story house in the pictures with the truck in front of it, was the railroad's house for the section foreman. Slept many nights in that upstairs!
09:20 am - Thu, April 4 2013
Elmer Johnson said:
My cousin, Glen Johnson, and his siblings grew up and ranched south of Owanka. Glen lived in Owanka for many years until he moved to a nursing home in New Underwood..He died a few years ago at the age of 100.
01:26 pm - Sun, June 30 2013
Jerri Paulk said:
In the early '30's my grandparents worked on the railroad. Grandpa was a brakeman and grandma was a cook. My mom would have been about 2 when they lived in Owanka. They were Joseph and Ada Kautman. My mom was Eunice Joy.
01:14 pm - Tue, July 9 2013
Marlys Huber said:
Love the pictures!
12:26 pm - Sun, April 27 2014
Mark said:
John Piepkorn's stark photo of the grain elevator in Owanka is featured on page G2 of the April 27, 2014 STAR TRIBUNE.
11:47 am - Sun, May 18 2014
Marvin Hanson said:
I was born in Pierre but my parents and I and two sisters lived in Owanka , my Dad was section foreman for the railroad their in the 30's ? 40's Harold P. Hanson and we moved to Cal. in the early 50's. Seeing the section house again where we lived gave me chills.
12:53 am - Sat, June 28 2014
Diana Guerrero said:
My grandmother was born in the early 20th century in Owanka. Her maiden name was Louckes, changed from Lukes, and her father was a farmer. Family legend has it that her mother, my great-grandmother, had Lakota Souix blood but that was never confirmed and in those days would be hushed up. My great-grandmother's father had been a settler and community leader but his last name escapes me. Brown perhaps? My grandma would tell me of her life on the farm and how she'd go out into the fields to pick wildflowers with her sisters and of the cold winters and how once she'd put her tongue to a doorknob and it became stuck. She also talked about her classroom where different grades were together in her room. I'm old now but still miss my grandma but it's so nice to see some pictures of where she grew up. Thank you for sharing them.
07:43 am - Thu, July 17 2014
My Family (The Tom and Erma Brassfield Clan) came from this area and I was only 10 when we moved away but I remember going for water in Owanka many times. Sad to see towns die like this but it happens. Love the pics and would love to take a trip back in time to really see the history of this great part of the prairie of South Dakota. Still have strong Family ties to this Beautiful State with so much History. Thank you for the photo tour!
10:15 pm - Fri, September 19 2014
Christine Beri (Truman) said:
My grampa Tiny Allen Blake use to live down there and I remember going for many visits. I loved the old feel you can't find any where else any more and all the memories tied to it as a child. Very upset my mother sold that land for $1 as convinced by my stepfather as I feel it was to spite our family. I really wanted to go back there and can't.
09:17 pm - Sat, November 22 2014
Pete said:
I have been indexing the school census records for 1937, Owanka, N Underwood and Viewfield. So interesting are the names and to read these comments.
So sad to see so many people go separate ways.
03:53 pm - Tue, April 21 2015
Daryl A Jossart said:
Born in Owanka at grandparents place in 1927. Spent summers there growing up.
06:45 am - Sat, June 6 2015
Rocky Ehlers said:
My grandfather, Charles Frederick Ehlers (1864-1955)homesteaded on a premption near Owanka. He later sold
to a Less Winchel of Owanka. In 1890 Charles married Charlotte Brennon, daughter of Granny Brennon, sister of Will Brennon of Owanka. There is registered grave at the homestead, Teckla Ehlers. Granny Brennon was a nurse during the civil war in which her husband was killed. .
Does anyone know of these names and if so, how we might make contact.
As of 1955, the homestead house remained standing and oppupied. .

03:44 pm - Sun, August 23 2015
Glenn Bloom said:
I was born in Owanka in 1934 on banks of the Owanka creek on a little goat farm my dad name was Geo.& mom name was Glennie Bloom had six brothers & four sisters.
Move to rapid city in spring of 1943 because of dad heath.
09:54 am - Wed, December 30 2015
My Grandad worked on the railroad there. My mother and her older brother were born there. The Carl Frederick Family.
08:40 pm - Mon, June 20 2016
Kay Waterson Lamb said:
My grandfather Gilbert Brink was also from Owanka and worked for the railroad. I remember going to visit and see that his house is still standing. In 2008 when my husband and I retired we took a trip back to visit and saw the house. I remember taking baths in a big wash tub set up in the living room and visiting the outhouse. My family moved from South Dakota in 1955 to California. That trip is the only time I have been back. Remember being warned of rattlesnakes. Hope to make at least one more trip back. Interesting site and have enjoyed pictures. Thank you.
09:12 am - Fri, December 30 2016
Jerry E. Brodsky said:
The Brodsky family lived in Owanka for many years, my father was born there in 1906 as the next to last child in a large family. We lived in Rapid City from 1951 to 1961 and occasionally visited Brodsky relatives who lived in Owanka during those years. In 1986 at our last visit, we saw a number of graves in the cemetery with the Brodsky name.
08:25 pm - Mon, January 30 2017
Hazel birrenkott said:
My mom was born in owanka in 1921. Her maiden name was pullins. They moved to custer, sd but not sure when or why.
They farmed in the area. Does anyone know about that family.
03:25 pm - Mon, July 24 2017
John Arnoldy said:
Just visited Owanka (3rd time in my life) in late May 2017. My great grandparents (Ungs) and grandparents (Arnoldy) farms, going back to the 1920s, are still there just down the road between Owanka and the highway. My father was raised on the farm until moving out to Calif with his parents in the late 1940s, and he always talked about wanting to move back there.
09:04 am - Fri, October 20 2017
Marge Huether Martin said:
We drove to Owanka yesterday (10/19/2017) Loved all the old buildings. My Grandfather an Mother Christ and Kathryn Huether lived there sometime around 1910 or 1911. My Dad Chris Jr was in a school picture at the Owanka School.

Any one remember the Huethers??
04:54 pm - Sun, October 22 2017
Richard Aby said:
My family moved to Owanka in 1951, my dad Perry Aby was section Forman with the railroad. There were several families living tin Owanka, mostly retired railroad workers. The Brodsky family, The Blake family, The Tennyson Family, the Winchell family and several other family’s. They moved the church from Owanka to Wicksville, and moved the big gymnasium from Owanka to Wall. Bill Williamson and his wife, ran a little store in the old bank building.
04:45 pm - Tue, May 1 2018
Thad Ferguson said:
My grandfather, Lawrence Holmes homesteaded in the area & my mother was born at their farm. They always said that Owanka was the best & main town at the time (early 1900's). I visited Owanka in the summer of 2018 & found it to be a ghost town. From the buildings that were there one could tell that it was a prominent area & town at one time.
09:44 am - Fri, December 28 2018
Lynn arnoldy-spring said:

My father, Jerome (Jerry) Arnoldy born in 1929 was raised down the road from Owanka SD. His parents (Frank and Henrietta Ungs Arnoldy) farmed the land and to this day the house, which is still standing but not livable is still on the property. My great grandparents and great aunts and uncles also farmed the family property. Visited the area growing up (I was raised in California) as we had great aunt & uncle (Clara Ungs Williamson and Fred Williamson) living in Rapid City. Always went to visit the farm and Owanka on our trips. My last visit was 2017. Love that country!!!
06:05 pm - Thu, February 28 2019
Michael Woller said:
My great grand parents Ernst and Carrie Wilbur lived there in the early 1900s three children born there Alice Eugene and Claude my grandma was Alice Ernst was a black smith they later moved to wasta and he went into the auto repair business
02:01 pm - Wed, December 18 2019
Allan Burke said:
My grandparents were Edward and Minnie (Miles) Seaton. They originated in St. Ansgar, Iowa, and homesteaded in Stanley County near Hayes. They moved to Owanka in about 1918. My mother, Hazel, was 4 when they arrived in Owanka, and she was born in Pierre. Her brother, Charles, was born in Iowa. Both graduated from Owanka High School. Ed managed the grain elevator until he was disabled by a stroke in the 1930s. My dad, Gerald Burke, started with the C&NW Railway at Owanka, and my mother had the telephone switchboard in the Seaton house, which was above Box Elder Creek in the southwest part of town. The Williams bought the house Ed Seaton built and moved it to their ranch. My brother, Edward, and I were born in Rapid City while our family lived in Owanka. I was a baby in 1948 when our family moved. The Seatons are buried at Lakeside Cemetery north of Wicksville. From listening to my mother reminisce and from visiting Owanka, I recognize many of the names above—Williamson, Aby, Brodsky, Winchell, Gib Brink, Brassfield and Johnson. I could add Carleton, Reeves, Hawks, Greenwalt, Coad, Willhoite and more.
06:23 pm - Fri, January 31 2020
Bill Mower said:
My grandmother was from Owanka, her father, my great grandfather was Arthur Willhoite. My grandmother was Jeanette and married William Mower.
09:18 am - Mon, April 27 2020
Douglas Londry said:
My Mother Agnes Champion born at Owanka December 1928.
04:01 am - Fri, February 5 2021
Hi, does anyone remember the travilian family Jim and Doreen . they had a large homesteaded farm just outside of town . Jim's father and mother homesteaded and his father lived to be 106 if anyone remembers them please contact me
02:33 pm - Sun, February 7 2021
Janeen Trevillyan said:
Jim & Doreen are my folks. Dad is still with us and lives in Rapid City (94 yrs old). Gpa Trevillyan lived to 103. He and Gma (William & Orpha) Trevillyan were good friends of Fred and Clara Williamson and I grew up often visiting them at their Rapid home. Clara had beautiful and extensive flower gardens. Fred gave me my first taste of wine at about age 12 at a christmas we shared at their home. It was Mogan David & terrible! My dad went to last year of high school at Owanka school. He lived in "the dorm' - really the old hotel. I went to school 1st-4th grades at Owanka School. Knew the Brodskys, Jerry(?) Aby was a few years ahead of me but all 8 grades were taught in one room then. Aby's had bee hives and school visited to see them harvest honey. Knew the Blakes. Gpa T played horseshoes with Gib Brink, Glen Johnson and Mr Williamson who ran a general store as resent as 1961 or so in the old brick building visible in one of the photos. I believe our farm was on Brennan Flat but that isn't evidently where they homesteaded? Our place was 6 miles SE of Owanka. Went to school with Jerry & Kathy Tennyson, the WIlliams, the Stovers (Dave owns the old WInchell place). When I was maybe 4-5th grade our 4-H club cleaned up the cemetery on the WInchell place and fenced it to keep cows out - I always wondered if anyone ever kept the place up. Remember the Brassfields, Arnoldys and Blooms. Dad knows all these families. I'll reach out to Ron Connell directly. We used to walk the rails and the old train bridge. Dad tells story of a Brodsky sitting on an old foundation and being bit in the rear by a rattlesnake - maybe late 1950s? I have a small sign from the Owanka auto service station. Went to Vacation Bible School at the old IOOF Hall, which Glen Johnson owned for years and collected antiques in there and sold them too.
08:07 pm - Wed, March 24 2021
In 1905 at the age of 16, my grandmother (Margie Trew Sprigg) left Indiana to stay with her Uncle George Comer who had a ranch "south of Owanka between Rapid City and the Badlands." The next year she was employed at a neighboring ranch as a mother's helper While there she participated in a parade on horseback at the State Fair and entered the relay race. At 17 she homesteaded on a piece of land staying alone in a sod hut. She found out that she didn't meet the age qualification for homesteading so she happily sold her improvements to her cousin Auburn Comer and moved to Rapid City where she received training and worked for I.H. Chase drygoods store. I would be happy to share the pictures of her sod hut, a distance view of Wasta, the Land and Loan Office in Wasta, a large group in front of her uncle's barn at a party, and employees posing in front of the I.H. Chase store.
02:25 pm - Wed, April 7 2021
Jonathan Paulsen said:
I've been recently researching my family history and I found out that my great-great-grandfather Emil Paulsen staked his claim of 160 acres eleven miles north and one-half mile west of Owanka. If anyone knows anything about Emil Paulsen and his family please let me know because I am very limited on my knowledge. Thanks
07:00 pm - Mon, July 5 2021
Bill Mower said:
My father (Russell) was born in Owanka to Jeanette & Bill Mower
07:07 pm - Mon, July 5 2021
Bill Mower said:
My father graduated from Owanka HS in 1940
04:32 pm - Sat, December 11 2021
Lynn Arnoldy-Spring said:
Janeen Trevillan. Fred and Clara (Ungs) Williamson were my Great Aunt and Uncle. Clara (Ungs) was my grandmothers (Henrietta Ungs Arnoldy) sister. My father Jerome “Jerry” Arnoldy is Frank and Henrietta son. Old family farm is still in our family. My brother, sister and myself now are the owners. My brother and I (we live in Calif) went out for a visit in 2018 and want to head out there again soon. Lovely country. This is a great site, such history to be shared.
07:11 pm - Fri, January 7 2022
Marlene said:
My name is Edler but I'm a Lamke and of my grandfather own the Lamke and sons general store and which people would buy things in the store and on Saturday night upstairs would be of dinner and dance there. My grandfather had five general stores all over South Dakota .see all Dakota s love you all.
12:01 pm - Tue, January 25 2022
Don willhoite said:
Born in Underwood in 1950 .lived in owanka 1950 1955. Lived in my aunt gertie willhoite house.. remember going to winchells and les playing guitar.. mmy mother was postmaster and aunt Gertrude had owanka bee n newspaper.. uncle Roy and aunt vadar had a farm north of wicksville.. I believe my uncle ward had a barb er shop. Williamson's store with the old candy jars grampa and grammas house still standing last time I was there l
It WAs on the north hillside. I remember
watching the 4th of July parade through the window because I had mumps.. mt folks were Tom and Brita willhoite sisters Maxine and Carol and brothers r
Richard Paul and Tommy
. Related to arbys and comers and maseks

08:41 am - Sun, July 24 2022
Lorna Greenwalt said:
My parents, Donald Greenwalt and Naida Patterson graduated from high school in Owanka. I was born in Owanka. The weather was not good so Dr O’Toole came to our house which was about 2 blocks North of the railroad tracks.
I remember our house there and the grocery store AND The
church. AND the grocery store.
09:01 pm - Mon, March 6 2023
Carolyn Cappel said:
My great aunt, Miss Pearl M. Parks was a schoolteacher in Owanka in 1918 and either a few years prior to and/or after. I have a letter that was mailed June 8, 1918 on letterhead from E. J. Willhoite, Photo Supplies, written by Jeanett who was married to a Floyd. In her letter with fancy handwriting she mentions an “old Mrs. Bean”, Aunt Farries and Liz. Wondering if any of these names ring a bell in your genealogy. If I could figure out how to post a picture of the letter and envelope I would do it.
04:10 pm - Thu, September 7 2023
Gary Lee Meyers said:
On April 16, 1924, the bank burned down and a cashier and part owner, Elmer A Porter, was arrested for arson in the 3rd degree. Due to the burning of many documents and bank records, the bank was closed by the state banking department. A trial was set in May 1925 to try Elmer A Porter for destroying and mutilating books, papers, writings and securities of the Otawanka State Bank. I do not know any more information after that as to what happened at the trial or to Elmer A Porter. All the info was gotten from the Rapid City Journal archives in
09:10 pm - Thu, January 4 2024
Wes reeves said:
I live north of Owanka .the house pictured on north side of owanka was Harry reeves house that I have now and the pasture west up the creek3/4 mile or so.

Share your thoughts, post a comment to this story:

Your Name:
Your Email Address:  
Your Website:
2000 characters remaining
Web Design by Buildable