Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.

Sunday in South Dakota: Homestake Opera House Festival of Trees

December 3rd, 2017

Lead’s historic Homestake Opera House invited the public to attend the kickoff event of the Christmas season – the 2017 Festival of Trees Vintage Holiday Celebration. This event is the oldest of its kind in the Black Hills, the original festival was hosted in 1982 in the “Theater Built by a Gold Mine.” It didn’t take long to see why it has continued as a popular Christmastime event in the mining community.

The Lead Opera House & Recreation Center was built in 1914 as a gift from the Homestake Mining company to the people of Lead and the surroundings communities. Phoebe Hearst, widow of Homestake co-founder George Hearst, played a major role in the facilities conception. Once a useful public entertainment and cultural center, the Opera House was hit with a disastrous fire in 1984. The beautiful building is being resurrected to productive use for the enrichment of the community at this time.

Spirits were bright amidst the charmingly decorated theater, while visitors enjoyed free cocoa, hot apple cider and cookies while touring the heavily decorated Christmas trees, wreaths and unique items for auction. The trees and wreathes were donated by opera house supporters from local Black Hills communities. http://www.homestakeoperahouse.org/

Cowboy and calf photo on canvas auction item.

Restored area of lobby

Horses in winter painting in auction. Beautiful

Homestake Opera House lobby

Homestake Opera House

Historic piano and instruments used prior to the 1984 fire that destroyed the opera house

Homestake Opera House lobby

May your season be festive and bright!

Sunday in South Dakota: Homestake Mine & Tatanka

September 10th, 2017

High in the Black Hills, surrounded by Ponderosa pine forests, meandering trout streams and magnificent mountain meadows, are one of South Dakota’s most memorable twin cities: Lead & Deadwood.

Lead has been called the richest 100 square miles on Earth. Over a period of 126 years, miners pulled more than 41 million ounces of gold and 9 million ounces of silver from the Homestake Mine, the largest mine in the western hemisphere. Prospectors began arriving in the Black Hills in the mid-1870s. Very quickly, “Lead City” was transformed into a thriving community built around the gold-mining industry.  In December 2001, however, that limit arrived. Homestake mined its final ore and left behind more than 370 miles of tunnels from the surface to the 8,000-foot level. Today, those caverns house world-leading research by Sanford Lab that seeks to understand the riches of the universe.

The Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center now is a modern and dramatic facility providing public outreach for the Sanford Underground Research Laboratory as well as interpretation of the history and cultural context of the Homestake Mine and the new underground Lab. A short video history brings it to life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrJtG_jLptg

After a physics lesson in WIMPS and Neutrinos, I followed the Bison to Deadwood to study the story of Tatanka. Amazingly, 30 to 60 million Bison once roamed the Great Plains of North America. By the close of the 19th century, it was estimated that less than 1,000 bison survived. I was very impressed by the hands-on education exhibits and 14 larger-than-life bronze sculptures of bison being pursued by Native American riders. I could almost hear the shouts of the hunters and the thunder of the buffalo’s hooves. Neutrinos are basically nothing. Bison, on the other hand, are inspiring, full of life and passion. Make this special place a “must see” stop in the Black Hills. Watch Kevin Costner talk about his passion for the Black Hills: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgbaEzGIl2M

Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.