Hot Springs historic building gets grant money to make repairs
Hot Springs is best known for the obvious natural hot springs, the veterans home and the historic, sandstone buildings and more. That’s why keeping the buildings in the good shape is important. One downtown building is getting some help in the form of a state grant.
HOT SPRINGS, S.D. — After vacationing to the Black Hills from Colorado for many years, the Alleys’ were looking for an opportunity to move here and saw the potential in a building for sale this time last year.
Kimberly Alley, co-owner of Fargo Mercantile, says, “We love history, so when we walked through the building, we fell in love with it.” Jeff Alley, the other owner of Fargo Mercantile, says, “I’ve always loved antiques and have a real strong appreciation for anything vintage and really old; and the stone work on the outside of the building was just spectacular.”
They quickly applied for a historic preservation grant, which is designed to encourage restoration or rehabilitation of historic properties to protect South Dakota culture and history. Funding for the program is from Deadwood gaming revenue earmarked by state law for historic preservation projects throughout the state. The program is administered by the society’s State Historic Preservation Office at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre.
They learned of some of the history from the Helen Magee Heritage Room collection at the local library.
It was built in 1910 and has seen a handful of owners since then, with Killinger Furniture being the longest from 1912 to 1969.
With over 10,000 square feet, the building includes a second floor with six suites.
The building is known as the Smith Fargo Suites or to some, the Fargo Mercantile, among other titles. But with anything historic comes preservation.
Kimberly says, “We (Hot Springs) are known for sandstone buildings and the one next to us burned down so it would be nice to get this one back to it’s old beauty.” Jeff adds, “It’s very important to keep these in good condition here, it’s how the onto puts it’s face forward, its what it known for.”
They received matching funds of just over $16,000 worth. The mortar needing repaired is a top priority to preserve the building as well as repairs to the sandstone bricks and fire damaged on the side of building and work to the roof.
With a restaurant and real estate background, the Alleys they saw the potential in the mercantile building, but first wanted to get it up to snuff.
Future plans include maybe leasing or partner with someone to get an eatery going and upstairs perhaps a plan of a Air B & B or a Bed & Breakfast, a ways down the road. They are excited to be a part of the Hot Springs community.
Jeff says, “The people are exceedingly friendly and it’s a wonderful little tight knit community and its going through a growth spur right now but I think the basic feel and make up of the community its going to stay the way it is regardless of how it grows.”
They will begin renovations soon. Within a couple years, the street they are on will get a face lift. So they are mindful of the construction on US Hwy. 385 that is slated for the future.
A fun fact is that the tin ceiling is 100% original and is the largest continuous tin ceiling of any building in South Dakota.