D. C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery, Spearfish, SD
The Spring Stocking Pond bronze sculpture
depicts the lives of early fisheries workers.
The Fish Car - transporting fish for stocking.
History lesson of the week: The D. C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery in Spearfish, named for Dewitt Clinton Booth, the first superintendent of the new facility in 1899.
In 1871, The federal government started the National Fish Hatcheries because of the decline in fish population, lost from drought, flood, or over-harvest. There were 70 hatcheries across the nation in 1896 when the hatchery at Spearfish,
was established, mainly to provide trout to the area, as the local fish
population consisted mostly of suckers and crappies. Trout are not native to
the region, but it is an ideal environment for trout. Spearfish was chosen
because of the pure cold spring water available for a gravity system and its location
near town and rails. The first superintendent of the Spearfish facility
was Dewitt Clinton (D.C) Booth, from 1899 to 1933.
The Generations bronze sculpture with the
Superintendent's house in the background.
In 1905, after living in 2 rooms over the hatchery building for several years, the Booth family moved into the new Superintendent’s house. The house had electricity, indoor plumbing, bathroom, hot water, and central heating (in 1905!). We had a very nice tour of the Booth House by the volunteer docent. She gave a detailed history of the hatchery and the Booth family, the parties, the piano lessons, the coal burning kitchen stove (they got their coal hauled all the way from Gillette, WY because it burned longer, they are still mining coal over there, y'all should go over there and take a tour), the Neo-Colonial Revival style of the house (which means it has lots of windows - you can Google it).
The D. C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery site is 10 acres, the entire hatchery site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The grounds are clean and landscaped, the self-guided tour is fun and educational, parking and admission are free.