Preservation work done on cabins in the hills

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 4:39 PM CDT
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CUSTER, S.D. (KOTA) - 3 cabins sit on the side of the road about 26 miles west of Custer.

They might not stick out when driving down Highway 16, but nevertheless, these structures connect us to history from nearly 100 years ago.

“These buildings were built by the CCC in the 30′s during the depression era and it put a lot of folks to work. These buildings represent that connection to that time period of the depression and the idea of creating the CCC,” said Ryan Prochaska a historic preservation expert.

Preservation work on the cabins means maintaining the legacy of the work done by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

“But it’s a challenge to maintain them. We were able to obtain Great America Outdoors Act funding and then Job Corps was also able to get some grants to make this happen, but we’re really happy that that Great American Outdoors Act was passed last year and we were able to utilize some of those funds for maintenance of facilities and historic places.”

Prochaska provides guidance to the students from the Job Corps on how to preserve these cabins accurately.

“Projects like this are absolutely wonderful because they give these students a chance to work hands on. There’s no better way to learn something than by doing it. So, coming out on a project like this gives them that opportunity, helps them learn employability skills, helps them learn life skills. Also gives us a little bit of an opportunity to give back to the local community and the nation when it comes to historic preservation.”

The restoration project on these 3 buildings involves scraping away old wood finishing and replacing it with an oil-based finish.

The project’s team is made up of 6 students, half from Pine Ridge the other half from Box Elder.

“I think it’s really great because I put my name in history books, in a sense, because I came out here, helped it, and then, you know, hopefully, it can stay around for another plus years.”

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