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Carter, the gateway to the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Reservations, occupies a unique position among the towns of the Rosebud country. Carter is at a central point on the western border of Tripp County (from north to south), at the southeastern corner of Mellette County and northeast corner of Todd County.
 
Shortly after Tripp County was opened to settlement in 1909, the town of Carter was platted and the initial lot sale was held on the 17th of December, 1909. The highest prices ever paid for vacant lots in the Rosebud country or in the state as far as is known was paid for lots in Carter. Business lots reached as high as $3,100 for 25' x 140' lots. Few sold for less than $1500.
 
CONSTRUCTION OF CARTER
Building started during the winter of 1909-10 with the expectation that the Chicago Northwestern Railway would be coming through. Even the hard winter did not hold back progress as the advantages of Carter were not to be questioned. Its trade territory would be Tripp, Todd, and Mellette counties plus Washabaugh and Bennett counties to the west. It was the center of the land district with no impassable streams. The Western Townsite Company (owned by the Jackson Bros.) was behind the promotion of Carter and had contracted with the Pioneer Townsite Company for the establishment of a Chicago Northwestern Railway station at Carter. This was to be one of the railways most important terminus for the time to come. The Chamberlain and Gregory U.S. Land offices were to be combined and Carter was to have a government land office.
Big two story buildings were erected. The Hotel put up by I. T. Stone was the finest this side of Norfolk and Fremont, Nebraska. Banks were started and businesses set up. The women organized their clubs and societies.
 
DEER CREEK
Water of 99.75% purity was to be conveyed from springs to the south of Carter. A dam was built on Deer Creek (DeBell), which formed the beautiful Lake Westonka to the east of Carter. This lake provided the swimming hole, the picnic grounds, boating, and fishing plus an ice harvest in the winter.
 
Carter at its hey day is said to have had a population of 300 people and probably had the most substantial buildings of any town in Rosebud.
 
Carter's first newspaper was "The Carter News" and was published May 26th, 1910.
 
The town of Carter was named for Jarvis W. Carter, Registrar of the Land office, Pierre. Some contended it was named for a rancher to the south by the name of Carter. 
 
October 8, 1910 the Carter Woman's Club was organized. In 1911, it was admitted to the Federated Woman's Club.
 
What Happened to Carter
Two devastating fires, one on January 12, 1925 and one on March 31, 1926 consumed much of the town. The fact that they were never able to float bonds for a water system was perhaps a contributing factor to the final fall of the town. Winner until 1929 and then it missed Carter by some seven miles.
 
ONCE EXISTING BUILDINGS AND BUSINESSES OF CARTER
BUILDINGS AND BUSINESSES
OWNER / MANAGER
DESCRIPTION
HOME HOTEL
HAISCH & CO
Ed Haisch
General Merchandise
FARMERS STATE BANK
Also known as Jackson Bros. Bank
GINTER STATE BANK
Not used until Farmer's State Bank moved into it.
CARTER STATE BANK
Also known as Youngquist Bank
LANGWORTHY & CO
Hotel with saloon downstairs
ZELLER BUILDING
Mrs. Coleman
Restaurant
HOWARD COOMAN BUILDING
Saloon
DOAN SEARS LUMBER
C. W. Bolen
Branch store from Dallas
KAUCH SHOP
Garage moved to Igloo
CARTER NEWSPRINT SHOP
A. J. Reichmann
GILKERSON & MILLER
1st store in Carter, and it was a Hardware and Machinery store
SMITH LUMBER
Julius Sandoz
BLACKSMITH
John Prichard
Dougherty Blacksmith Shop
BEATRICE CREAM STATION
Max Volkman
HARDING CREAM STATION
A. Jackson
CREAM STATION
S. L. Funk
WELL DRILLERS
H. Quackenbush
J. C. Wineigar
REAL ESTATE
W. Hacker, Gregory
James Flynn, Homesteader
Wolf and Bowden, Gregory
CAMERON BUILDING
John Prichard
Saloon
CARPENTER
John V. Roach
DOCTORS
Dr. Collect
Dr. Swett
Dr. R. M. Malster
LIVERY BARNS
Lee Dunken
Anton Anderson
STAGE
G. W. Hood
Ran stage from Dallas in steam automobile
CARTER THEATER
Harold Estes
Ran three shows a week
BARBER SHOP
GOT YOUR HAIR CUT
TOWN GARAGES
Ed Gran
L. V. Andrea
FREIGHTER
Chris Tideman
TOWN MARSHALL
Jack Jensen
CHURCHES
All Saint Episcopal Mission
Rev. Blair Roberts
organized in spring of 1910
A guild was started in the fall
Catholic
Located east of Main near highway.
Congregational Church
Rev. Alex Russell
organized in 1910
Schools
Mrs. C. C. Kellar(teacher)
School started in a rented building with 30 pupils. A school room was built in 1912.
Carter Dam
Taylor Bros.
10 teams worked on moving dirt to create the 300' dam.
Carter Post Masters
George W. Segrist
1909
Eddie E. Gran
1912
Mildred Swanson
1913
Geo. Widner
1914
Joseph H. McNamara
1916
Ruth A. Keepers
1919
Thelma L. Abbott
1924
Emily W. Raycroft
1924-1943
J. R. Martin
1943-1958
Ruby McCollam
1958
Harry Jansen
1959-1976
 
 
Source: Tripp County Historical Society, 6th Annual Auto Caravan, Heritage Tour, Sunday, September 26, 1976
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