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Where sleeping in school is encouraged

  • Nemo Schoolhouse
  • Nemo Schoolhouse
  • Nemo Schoolhouse
  • Nemo Schoolhouse
  • Nemo Schoolhouse Great Room
  • Great gathering spot
  • Fireplace in the great room
  • Nemo Valley
  • Nemo Schoolhouse built in 1926 building front
  • Nemo Schoolhouse built in 1926 building rear
  • Historic Nemo Schoolhouse
  • Great room with fabulous fireplace
  • Comfortable chairs in the great room
  • Fireplace in the great room
  • Paradise Valley

Nemo School History

Due to high enrollment, the Nemo School was built in 1926. Students moved into this new building in 1927. It was an exciting event because the new building had modern plumbing and a two furnace heating system. The new school accommodated both grade school and high school students. Grades one through eight were taught in the lower rooms. High school students used the upper level where there was also a library and a science lab. Home economics was taught in the basement.

After 1927, Nemo flourished as a town and so did the school. School enrollment and the number of teachers varied. Special activities increased including high school basketball with both boy's and girl's teams. These teams played such towns as Piedmont, Hill City, Trojan and Terry.

In the years of 1925-1927, Nemo had a high school band of 15 members. They had no uniforms but played at an auto show in Deadwood and played concerts at the Woodman Hall in Nemo.

In the 1930's the school had a very active vocal music program. This group put on special musical programs at Easter and Christmas. They took part in music festivals held in Rapid City and also sang for several churches.

In 1939 when the Homestake sawmill moved out of Nemo, the families gradually moved away and the school attendance dwindled. By the school year of 1941-1942, there was only one pupil in the school. School attendance jumped to 15 in the fall of 1942 and two rooms were again in use.

In the fall of 1970, the Nemo children from 4th grade and above were forced to be bussed to the Lead-Deadwood schools. The spring of 1970 was the last time 8th grade graduation was held at the Nemo School.

September 6, 1988 found the Nemo Community once again upset when the lack of students made it possible for the Lead-Deadwood school board to close the school. At the time of closing, there were five students.

Nemo School Re-Opens

Nemo School circa 1926A group of Nemo residents filed a lawsuit challenging the decision by the Lead-Deadwood school board to close the Nemo School. Eighth Circuit Judge Warren Johnson ruled that the school board had exceeded its authority when it closed the Nemo School without a vote by the resident voters of the former common school district which operated the school. In April of 1989 the South Dakota Supreme Court by a unanimous decision upheld Judge Johnson's ruling.

The Nemo School re-opened for the 1989-1990 school year.

Information from the book "Nemo South Dakota: One Hundred Years"
Submitted by Clara Schmitz
Contributors: Lenora Nelson, Caroline Cypher and Bertha Saxwall Nelson

History of Nemo, SD

Nemo, SD circa 1900Early settlers came to the Nemo area in the late 1800's. Many of them located mining claims or took their chances on squatter's rights to get some land to call their own. Later, they would use the Homestead Act to legalize their claim to ownership.

In 1899, a Location Certificate for the Nemo Placer (143.14 acres) was filed by T. J. Grier, W. E. Smead, George Foglesong, E. L. Billings, R. O. Robinson, James Hoyt, John Peterson and T. D. Murrin. A year later it was deeded to the H & H Company and in 1903, the H & H Company sold the Nemo Placer to Homestake Mining Company for $200,000.

By this time, there were at least 200 residents living in the area. Homestake had built a sawmill at Este in 1898 and many of the residents were employed there. Nemo's Post Office had been established in 1889 and there was also a store, meat market and school.

In 1913, Homestake built a sawmill at Nemo to replace the one at Este. During those years, Nemo flourished. Approximately 200 men were employed at Homestake and housing was constructed for the mill workers and their families. A community church was built. The school building was expanded and later an even larger school was constructed to accommodate the growing population. For a time, there were two community halls used for social functions. Nemo was an active thriving community.

The Homestake Mining Company began construction of the Black Hills & Fort Pierre Narrow Guage Railroad in 1882. A branch line through Nemo to Este was completed in 1898.

Nemo's glory days were short lived. In 1920-1930, the railroad line was disbanded, the tracks removed in the Nemo area and the equipment was sold and scrapped for iron. The area was eventually timbered out by 1940, the sawmill operation at Nemo was shut down and Homestake employees moved away. The sawmill was torn down and some of the structures were either razed or moved.

In 1946, Nemo was purchased by the Frank Troxell family and developed into a guest ranch.

For reservations call:

Bonnie Osland 651-260-8616
Al Einberger 612-868-3657
Dean Osland 651-260-8617
100 year anniversary of Nemo, SD 1989