When Hot Springs Was a Pup

A new version of Badger Clark’s book on Hot Springs is now available, via Amazon.com. Proceeds from sales of the book will benefit the Fall River County Historical Society. Linda M. Hasselstrom assigned the copyright to this edition and her two previously published editions of the book to the society at the annual meeting on January 15, 2022. More information on Hot Springs, and the Pioneer Museum can be found here.

Badger Clark was already famous when he wrote When Hot Springs Was a Pup, likely a fund-raising project for the local Kiwanis Club in 1927. Clark extolled the virtues and foibles of his little community on the edge of the Black Hills, from its beginnings as a Lakota place of healing to its current status as a destination resort. Hot Springs, South Dakota is still a unique, thriving community, home to artists, craftspeople and the world-famous Evans Plunge.

Charles Badger Clark Jr., known as Badger Clark, became the first poet laureate of South Dakota in 1937. He lived and worked in his cabin, dubbed “The Badger Hole”, until his death in 1957, writing poems and humorous short stories depicting the cowboy life. Self-described as a “poet lariat”, he enjoyed spinning his tales for audiences across the country, as he became a much sought-after speaker for events ranging from rural junior high and high school graduations to women’s club meetings.

Except for added electricity, the cabin remains as it was when Badger Clark died at age 74. In summer, volunteers show visitors how simply the poet lived, with kerosene lamps, and a storage box below the kitchen where he kept perishable food and ice when he could afford it. His boots are lined up in the bedroom ready to wear, and a table holds the typewriter on which he composed poems. Above his fireplace hands a saying recalling his hospitality as well as the time he spent in Cuba. “Mi Casa Es Suya”: My house is yours.

Expanded edition with over 100 photographs and notes by the editors

Historian and author Peggy Sanders and author Linda M. Hasselstrom worked together to create this text to bring Badger Clark’s words to a new audience. This updated and revised edition contains additional notes and commentary; a biographical sketch of Clark, “Requiem for a Cowboy Poet”, by Peggy Sanders; and a timeline of Badger’s life. The book provides an abundance of detail on the early days of Hot Springs, with over 100 historical photographs, maps and illustrations.

Preserving the Legacy August 23, 2019 Westerners

Preserving the Legacy, Digitizing the work of Dr. Watson Parker meeting dates

A presentation on the methodology behind the Watson Parker preservation project will be given at the Jedediah Smith Corral of Westerners, at the Hot Springs Public Library, on August 23 at 1PM. James W. Parker will discuss the project, the tools he’s using to digitize the images, and the work involved. Everyone is welcome! The link below shows the location on Google Maps.


Progress Report

Progress has been slow on getting Dr. Parker’s images digitized. Soon after the enthusiastic start to the project, my slide projector threw a cog, and stopped advancing slides. I did manage to give a presentation on the project to the Black Hills Westerner’s group in May, and am scheduled to do another one in Hot Springs, August 23 at noon. The meeting will be held at Pine Hills Retirement Community, 2711 US 18, Hot Springs, SD.

I’m happy to report that the slide projector has been repaired. I found the solution to the problem, as well as parts to fix it, online at https://www.micro-tools.com/collections/kodak-repair-kits

It took a bit of futzing to get the projector disassembled and put back together, but all appears to be working now.

Yesterday, I went down another rabbit hole, looking for a video of Dad that was made in front of the Hill City shootout set. He is reciting one of his favorite poems, “The Fatal Ball”. It was also a recitation that Troy L. Parker was fond of. I did manage to find a small video of it, and am working on getting the videotape redigitized.


The new online home for the work of Dr. Watson Parker, the dean of Black Hills history. Here you’ll find some of his best lectures and talks, preserved in glowing RGB color, with audio commentary from the master himself. Audio files, images and writing are gathered here for the general edification and amusement of the general public, and those interested in the history of the West. Please browse and offer comments and suggestions if appropriate, or necessary.