Dell Rapids; A Walk Through History
By Craig Kumerfield
Preface and Dedication
“Forty-two years ago, I rolled into Dell Rapids for the first time. I came to interview for the position of elementary principal for the public school. As I drove through town, I was struck by all the amazing quartzite buildings on main street, trying to imagine how they were build and what took place in those buildings over the years.
I immediately became enthralled with the town and thought it looked like a great place to live and work, hoping that I would have the opportunity to do so.
Fortunately, I was offered they contract, and that was the beginning of an incredibly rewarding 36-year career with Dell Rapids Public Schools.
I spent the next five years as elementary principal, and during that time, as an officer in in the South Dakota Association of Elementary School Principals, I had the opportunity to work with and get to know elementary principals throughout the state. And back here, it was a privilege to work with such an extraordinary and talented group of teachers.
After five years, though, I decided it was time to go where the real action is – back in the classroom. So, that is where I spent the next 31 years. It was a truly rewarding experience, and it went by in the blink of an eye! Confucius once said “If you choose a job that you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” I think he was right.
In 1989, I was given an opportunity that changed my life, so to speak. One of our town’s premier historians, Roberta Merry DeVaney, asked if I would assist her with a historical documentary that she wanted to produce. I agreed, and over the next 2 ½ years, we worked on the production, which was called “Scenic and Historic Dell Rapids.” We enjoyed a lot of success with the project, including a national award from the American Association of State and Local History. (complete story on Roberta at the end of Chapter 20.)
In 2014, I started a history column in the Dell Rapids Tribune called “A Little Piece of History.” This book represents a culmination of all the stories that were submitted during the past four years.
While writing the column, I was constantly reminded of Roberta’s influence, and how this book would never have been possible without her mentorship. Therefore, I would like to dedicate the book to the memory of Roberta Merry DeVaney, 1916-2009.”
- Craig Kumerfield