Monday, October 24, 2011

The Case of the Disappearing Old House

The old house disappeared. My grandparents, George and Mary McFarland, purchased a fine old house in Rapid City, South Dakota in the early 1900's when my grandfather invested in the Security Bank. After the bank closed, the family used the house off-and-on over the years when the children attended high school and for other occasions. The picture shows Alice, Mamie, Clarence, and Ellen McFarland in front of the house in 1937. George died in 1941. He left the house to his daughter, Alice (Sallie) McFarland Miles, as the house had always been a favorite of hers. She lived in it until her death in the house in 1965. I have good memories of visiting my aunt and cousin there. After Sallie’s death the house went to her daughter. She and her family lived there until the early 70’s.

When visiting Rapid City it was easy to spot the old house at the end of Fifth Street. In 2010, I drove by to see the house, but I was dismayed to discover that it was no longer there. I could see the remains of the foundation but nothing else. I figured that a large old house like that was probably too expensive to maintain and heat and that the current owners had likely razed it. I was very disappointed to lose the old icon.

Recently, my cousin Ann moved to Rapid City. She learned that they had not razed the house but moved it. My next step was to find out to where they moved it. The only clue was that it was out in the country somewhere; not an easy search. I tried doing some searches on the Rapid City Journal website, but I was not able to locate anything. On a trip back to the area a couple of weeks ago I stopped at the Rapid City Public Library. The reference librarian https://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=60792005629&v=info did some searching and found that the house actually has its own Facebook page. I was delighted to find the web page with a nice picture of the house, a picture of it being moved, and an article about the move. When I next go back to visit, I think I should be able to locate it. Mystery solved.

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