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“Vanished South Dakota: Towns of Yesterday” preview screening

New documentary visits South Dakota’s once-thriving towns.

Cemetery marker: Moritz, SD 1887-1967

The public is invited to a free preview screening of South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s new documentary Vanished South Dakota: Towns of Yesterday, Tuesday, August 6, at 2pm at the South Dakota Art Museum, 1036 Medary Ave., Brookings, SD.

In addition to the 30-minute screening, the event features a Q&A with SDPB’s Stephanie Rissler, producer of Vanished South Dakota, and South Dakota historian Robert Kolbe. The event is free and open to the public.

Guests are also encouraged to explore the museum's current Harvey Dunn exhibition, Fences, Cows, Plows & Oxen which celebrates the hard-working agricultural backbone of the state of South Dakota. In some of the artworks in this exhibit the fences, cows, plows or oxen take center stage, becoming characters within the painting themselves. In others they are barely referenced as small masses in the distance, or faint, slight lines dotting the landscape. A smaller number of images allude to a more disconcerting legacy of the heydays of homesteading. Paintings of deserted houses, abandoned farms, and old settlers stand as relics of a bygone era.  

About Vanished South Dakota: Towns of Yesterday

Set to premiere Monday, August 19, 7pm (6 MT) on SDPB1-TV, this thought-provoking, one-hour documentary visits remnants of once-thriving towns to discover what led to the birth, boom, and demise of formerly prosperous communities throughout the state. The film includes interviews with local families and historians and trips to “vanished towns” in both western and eastern South Dakota. Eastern counties include sites in Beadle, Clay, Codington, Deuel, Grant, Kingsbury and Miner Counties. SDPB visited “vanished” towns from Argonne to Moritz, and from Manchester to Crandon.

Other public screenings include:

  • Thursday, August 8, 7pm – Black Box Theatre, Dakota Wesleyan University, Mitchell. With Steph Rissler & historians Lyle Swensen and Jim Hunt.
  • Monday, August 12, 7pm – Coyote Twin Theatre, Vermillion. With Steph Rissler and Arthur Rusch.
  • Thursday, August 15, 7pm, SDPB Sioux Falls Studios. With Steph Rissler and Robert Kolbe.

For more information, see: SDPB.org/Vanished/.