State Historical Society acquires 1930s lantern slide collection

State Historical Society acquires 1930s lantern slide collection

Pictured is the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Depot in Redfield, one of 90 lantern slide images from the Rev. H. J. Loemker Collection recently donated to the South Dakota State Historical Society. (Photo courtesy South Dakota State Historical Society-Archives)

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota State Historical Society recently acquired a collection of glass lantern slides dating back to the 1930s.

The Rev. H. J. Loemker (LOME-ker) Collection consists of 90 lantern slides, which were introduced in 1849 and allowed photographs to be projected onto a surface and viewed by a larger audience. Lantern slides were popular until the 1950s, when smaller 2×2 transparencies were introduced.

Loemker was a Methodist minister who served churches in Iowa and Illinois before eventually coming to South Dakota and ministering in the Crandon area of Spink County.

A majority of the Loemker images are from Spink County sites, but the collection also includes images from various locations throughout South Dakota. The collection includes images taken in or near the towns of Crandon, Redfield, Parker, Ashton, Woonsocket, Turton, Brookings, Clifton, Hermosa, Rapid City, Custer, Pierre, Hitchcock, Tulare and Webster.

Slide topics include churches and parsonages, agricultural scenes and machinery, tourist destinations, town scenes, automobiles, winter scenes, sod houses and courthouses.

The donor purchased the lantern slides at an auction and later donated them to the State Historical Society-Archives, located at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre.

“The Loemker Collection offers a broad range of South Dakota images from the 1930s,” said Chelle Somsen, State Archivist. “Collections like these are what add depth and breadth to our state’s history.”

Select images from the Loemker Collection are on the State Archive’s Facebook page via

To donate items relating to the history of South Dakota, contact Matthew Reitzel, manuscript archivist, at (605) 773-3615 or Dan Brosz, curator of collections, at (605) 773-6013.

The State Historical Society-Archives is open Monday through Friday and the first Saturday of each month from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. CDT. Contact the archives by phone at (605) 773-3804 or email

— From a State Historical Society news release

About Author

Seth Tupper

Seth Tupper was born and raised in South Dakota and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from South Dakota State University in 2001. After college, he worked at a newspaper in Minnesota and then returned to South Dakota in 2003 to join the staff of The Daily Republic in Mitchell, where he is currently the publisher. Seth has won numerous awards for his writing, including the 2007 Outstanding Young Journalist award in the daily newspapers category of the South Dakota Newspaper Association's Better Newspapers Contest. Seth's day-job and freelance work have granted him opportunities to meet hundreds of South Dakotans and travel across much of the state. He also spends a lot of his free time exploring South Dakota's state and national parks, hiking trails and kayak-friendly rivers.

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