Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ranch Store, Kadoka, South Dakota

I chose this postcard of the Ranch Store for Sepia Saturday 89 because of the "groceries" sign in the window. It is one of my favorite roadside cards. It is a nicely photographed view and has some interesting signs and old 1950s cars. The following description is from the back of the card:
The "Ranch Store," is an unusual building on Highway 16 at Kadoka, South Dakota, Gateway to the Badlands. This is a good place for visitors to see many FREE attractions, a natural prairie dog town, rattlesnakes, a zoo, free cactus and mail service.
Originated, owned and operated by Doris and Emory Herring
This postcard was originally published in 1958. Surprisingly, the store has not changed too much since then. It still has a bull on the roof and a painted prairie dog on the side wall. There are quite a few recent pictures on the web. The location is now listed as Cactus Flats, a small unincorporated area near Kadoka. The store no longer has a "groceries" sign. It is more of a gift shop now, and a giant prairie dog statue seems to be the main attraction. The photo below is from 2005 and is by Brian Butko.

According to a death notice in the Black Hills State University Alumni Magazine Spring 2005 issue, Emory Herring operated this store for 17 summers. Emory Herring died in 2004, and Doris Herring died in 2006.
Visit Sepia Saturday for More Vintage Photos


  1. I can see why you like this postcard so much. As you say it’s well-photographed, and full of interesting things. That giant prairie dog is an eye-catcher too!

  2. The 'then' and 'now' shots make this store so much more interesting.

  3. It's one of my favorite roadside postcards too! I'm going to have to find one of those for sure.

  4. How amazing that it is still pretty much the same when most High Street shops have changed hands dozens of time since then. Love the old cars :-)

  5. It's really surprising that it's so little changed, even down to the bull on the roof.

  6. I wish I'd seen this place when up in South Dakota. I'd have stopped for sure. I miss seeing all of these wonderful "side shows" along the highways. Great card.

    And I do love the little prairie dogs. Such talkative characters. I had one sit and chew me out for the longest time at Devil's Tower. The rest of the clan kept telling to go back underground but it had a lot on its mind and wanted to make sure I understood. It allowed me to get close enough to take some wonderful photos.

  7. Classic Americana. Mom & Pop stores that used real inventiveness to lure the traveling tourist. Sadly places like this disappeared with the advent of the interstate and the franchise mini-mart.

  8. I love the way one old photograph can transport everyone back through time and across great distances so that on a particular weekend that odd collection of people known as Sepia Saturdayers all take a tour around some far off Prairie Dog Town. The power of the image!

  9. Too cute! I really like the part about seeing the free prairie dog, lol.

    I enjoyed your post very much.

    Kathy M.

  10. Great postcard - and an interesting contrast with the album with photos from Montreal that I was just looking at on savethephotos. It's like two different planets.

  11. aside from the rattlesnakes...
    this looked like a fun place,
    then and now!!

    btw: love the postcard you posted on sunday!! nice piece!!


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