Welcome To KEY TO THE CITY's Page For
Brookings County, South Dakota
It's not the end of the earth, but you can see it from here
While recent history has placed Bushnell on the map as an artist community, Bushnell began as a farm community. The town grew for several years and not only had a railroad depot, but a grocery store, a hotel, a blacksmith, a cheese factory and creamery, a post office, a church, a school and a grain elevator. At one point several of the houses from nearby Fountain, South Dakota were moved to Bushnell to provide additional housing.
After the railroad established a depot in Brookings, 8 miles west of Bushnell and the location of South Dakota college (now South Dakota State University), the commerce that had kept Bushnell alive began to dwindle.
Now, in 2000, there are only small artist galleries and the Bushnell Bar operating in Bushnell with store fronts. Yet of the 30 houses inside of Bushnell, 15 operate their own business(s).
Bushnell has a higher percentage of artists than Paris, France. While Bushnell has a population of approx 70 people, of those over 1/3 of all residents are artists.
The community is older than Brookings and was once the location of the area railroad depot. It was a bustling prairie town from which passengers got off and traveled west by horse and buggy.
Bushnell, until recently, still had on it's city ordinances regulations preventing pilots from landing their planes on Main Street. This ordinance was issued during a period in history when barn stormers caused a great deal of havoc when they tried landing on busy streets.
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The hamlet (you just can't really call Bushnell a "city") of Bushnell is made up of only about three streets, two lanes, and 4 stop signs! It is common to find kids riding their horses down the street. Once a year, during halloween the town puts on a little party that includes flinging pumpkins with a medieval style catapult. The town is made up of farmers and artists, which makes an interesting place to live. Pretty much everyone knows everyone by first name, plus their pets by first name. There are a few cannons on front porches. There are a few artist galleries in town and one small local bar/pub, where until recently a patron had to bring his own firewood (to heat the place as part of his fee).
The town has a sculptor, two potters, a woodworker, a nationally known painter and several musicians all calling this "northern exposure town" home.
Don't expect to just drop in and check out the art work, most of the artists are by appointment only or by chance.
While Bushnell is a small town, it is still known by many throughout the state for it's unique mix of people. Bushnell is home to a diverse religious makeup, yet with this enclave of cultural and religious diversity, the community of Bushnell is tolerant to all.
In Bushnell there are several Historical Re-enactors who own a variety of unusual items, such as cannons, medieval armor, tipis, coal forges, and other historically oriented items. With the large percentage of artists and three households of historical re-enactors, as well as the Brookings Renegade Muzzleloaders making their homebase in Bushnell, the town is often the place to find someone who knows of some festival in the state or region.
One of the attractions of the town that isn't online is the small "Bushnell Garage" which is in a 1900's gas station. The place has witnessed the period of prohibition at which time it was a sandwich shop and soda pop stand. At the end of prohibition it returned to selling beer. The locals who regularly gather to socialize often bring some firewood, since the facility is heated with a small potbelly stove. Many of the area farmers, farm hands and local hunters stop in as dusk approaches to exchange news and grab a beer.
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Biographical homepage of Anisah David
The town, which is a mile off the nearest highway and 7 miles from the nearest expressway is a real-life version of Northern Exposure! We have a lady in town who walks her mule daily on a leash through town; A dog that wears a medieval ruff for a collar down the street; numerous artists reside here and work. We have painters, sculptors, potters, musicians and others. Some of the artists have internet pages, while others still sell their work the old fashioned way.
Some of the unique things of the town include the fall party. This past year that consisted of burning an effigy of a historical bad guy of England (which was filled with firecrackers), lobbing pumpkins from a medieval catapult and feasting on old fashioned meat pies, stew and other dishes.
It's a town hard to believe exists but it does. It is quietly ignored by most of the world most of the time. It has two paved streets running through it and two paved streets running along it's border, as well as two gravel streets. It has about 26 houses with less than 80 people total in it's local population. You find canons on the front porch of some homes as decoration.
People stop and watch if a car goes by to see who it is. Neighbors not only know each other's names, but know each others' pets' names! It is a quiet town unique in it's quirks and in it's atmosphere.
The main attraction of the town is the atmosphere. It is quiet and peaceful, where time it's self slows to oblivion. The people here are neighborly and speak to strangers and friends alike, but don't meddle. Privacy is respected and so is neighborliness.