Dad grew up in Hill City, South Dakota, in the Black Hills. He recounts his experience in a rare audio recording that I unearthed recently. It was on a poorly recorded 3 3/4 ips reel to reel tape that I digitized and edited to make the voice clearer.
The piece is about 45 minutes long, but it give wonderful insights into Dad’s boyhood experiences. If you enjoyed it, leave a comment below.
Olga Glassman Parker was born November 13, 1929, to William and Hope Glassman, in Philadelphia, PA. Olga grew up in Warren, PA, leaving that city at the age of 16 after only two years of high school, to attend the University of Chicago. She graduated in 1949 with a BA in liberal studies and proceeded to Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh, PA, to earn a secretarial degree. She died of natural causes on June 19, 2023, in Rapid City, SD.
Olga met the love of her life, Watson Parker, at the University of Chicago. They were married in 1950 and moved to Hill City, SD, in 1951 where Watson managed his family’s business – Palmer Gulch Lodge. When Watson entered graduate school, they moved to Oklahoma and then to Oshkosh, WI, where they resided for 20+ years before retiring to the Black Hills. Throughout their marriage, Olga used her secretarial skills to type many of Watson’s scholarly papers and books. They enjoyed 63 years of marriage before Watson passed away in 2013.
While Olga was primarily a stay at home mother, she also worked occasional part-time jobs, in secretarial and bookkeeping positions. She was a Cub Scout Den Mother, a library volunteer, and a member of AAUW, the Embroidery Guild (Oshkosh, WI), the Antiques Club (Oshkosh, WI), Westerners Black Hills Corral #8, and Friends of Hill City Library.
She loved photography, traveling, and making pictures of the people and places she visited. A historian in her own right, she documented her growing family, and her trips to China, Russia, and historical monuments around the United States. Her photo albums are an amazing record of family life from the 1950’s onward.
Olga is survived by her three children James (Karyn Kozo), David (Tiggie), and Becky Jensen (Larry), as well as six grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. Olga was predeceased by her sister, Nema Maynard, and her brother, David Glassman.
In lieu of flowers (which she did not like) the family suggests memorials to the Hill City Library building fund (PO Box 88, Hill City, SD 57745) and Warren County Historical Society (210 Fourth Ave, Warren, PA 16365).
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.
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 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.
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.