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Ideal, South Dakota

Love that it says "Main Post Office" for this community of 86 people!

Best Western

Wall, South Dakota

November 15, 2022

Ideal is an unincorporated community in northern Tripp County, South Dakota. It lies north of the city of Winner, the county seat. Its elevation is 1,886 feet. The population of the CDP was 86 at the 2020 census.


During the spring of 1909, a group of people met at the John Katt place and decided to name their new settlement Ideal since this was an "ideal" place for a settlement.


In 1909, a post office was established with Sigrid Bondesson named postmaster. The office was in here home.

In 1910, the second postmaster was appointed, Florence Patrick (Mrs. Ray Snow). The building she used was moved from Dallas. Soon a store added and became a gathering place for many persons.

Am overgrown baseball field.

Robert Patrick was named postmaster followed by H. P. (Pat) Dixon which moved the building to his homestead. He too kept the store in conjunction with the post office.

Florence Anderson was appointed in 1919. Her father, Ed Anderson, erected a new building on his farm. Another store was added. Florence served as postmaster for 38 years, the her sister, Mrs. George Beardsley was appointed in 1957. The post office was moved again. This time across the road to the Beardsley farm. Lottie died in 1967. Genevieve Frank was appointed acting postmaster and moved the post office to the corner of the Ed Anderson place.

In the winter of 1949 and 1950 mail could not get taken to the mail boxes because of heavy snow. Howard Roosa was the carrier. Charles Heller, Known as our "Flying Farmer" flew over and dropped the mail in the farm yards.

Wilma Calhoon was appointed in 1967 and moved a trailer house one mile west to land owned by the Indian Holy Spirit Episcopal Church. The post office building used by Florence Anderson was sold to Wayne Nelson and moved to their store site, "The Depot."

The present post office is now located next to the Ideal Presbyterian Church. It was moved to its present location on December 1992. Judy Lantz is the postmaster succeeding Darlene Bell.

A telephone was first installed in Ideal when Jessie Patrick was postmaster. It was moved when Pat Dixon became postmaster. This was a toll phone, but neighbors could call for the doctor or send messages to family and friends at a distance. Later the community organized a telephone company and built lines into winner in 1919. This Ideal Telephone Company served the community until the Bell company installed the dial system in the early sixties.


Ideal's first school was built in the winter of 1909 and started in the spring of 1910. The first teacher was A. B. Chain followed in the second term by Mary Dooley. Mary rode a horse from her claim in Lone Tree township to teach a 3 month term.

Other teachers were: Jessie Horn Patrick, Mattie Leat, Laura Holly, Francis McElhaney, Clara Volz, Nellie Beardsley Hazzard, Madge Hampson Brown, Maude Henderson, and Raymond Watson, Superintendent. In 1918, the district was consolidated and a new school was built in 1920. The first graduating class was in 1923 with 9 graduates. High school was held until 1944. Grade school continues with a large enrollment of Native American children from the Ideal Indian community.

The pupils were transported from 1920-1942 in horse drawn buses. The barns which housed these horses have been sold and removed, and the Ideal Hall stands on the site. the old school building was remodeled and used as apartments for teachers. The building was later sold to the DeJong brothers and moved to their ranch on the White River by the Kennebec bridge.


In 1960, the Ideal Community Hall was built south of the school. The community help under the guidance of Don Jorgensen. Many community activities, family socials, and 4-H gatherings were held here.


The Ideal Presbyterian Church was organized in 1910 and services held in the school house until March, 1949, and were organized by W. W. Lenker, S. A. Pinkerton, K. D. Curry, Floyd Morgan, and K. Nedenna. Rev. D. D. Cullen of Dallas and Rev. S. B. Cook had charge of the organization ceremonies.

Rev. Albert Kuhn bought the Westminister Church from the Charles McEachran farm near Hamill in 1945 and was moved land donated by Ed Habeger. The church was built originally in Dallas. A basement was dug and much remodeling was done. It was dedicated in September 1949. Terry Lenker was the first person baptized in the church on June 12, 1949. Dorothy Frescoln and Lowell Vanneman was the first to be married on March 19, 1949. In 1980 the congregation voted to enter a shared ministry with the Christian Church of Winner. The Ideal congregation has always had an active and devoted Ladies Aid to help promote the projects of the church.


This Episcopal Church was built in the 1920's. A cemetery was established later. As the Indian community became larger, a Guild Hall was built.


Later the Rosebud Housing Authority built a number of houses. This is across the road east from the Episcopal Church and post office. Some names of early families that remain in this community include Thunder, Stands, Eagle Hawk, Old Lodge, Felix Bear Looks Back, Gunnysack, and Bad Hand.


The Timble Club was the first women's group organized in 1910 with 13 members. Shortly after it became the Ideal Ladies Aid. Membership grew through the years so that the farm homes where they met were bulging.

Now the group has dwindled to 10 active members plus some guests who come regularly. however, they are still devoted group participating in Bible Study and helping with the church activities and projects.


The Star 4-H club was composed of girls from the Ideal-Star Valley community in 1929 and was the first 4-H in Tripp County. Mrs. Thomas Hurd was their leader. There was as yet no county agent, so all instructions and information came directly for the State Extension Office in Brookings. The chief project for girls was sewing and Wilma (Frantz) Calhoon says she still has several articles she made. In the summer of 1929 the girls attended the 4-H camp held at Pierre Indian School. In addition to lessons, demonstrating, games, etc., the girls enjoyed a tour of the State Capitol Building and a plunge in the Pierre Capitol Pool. Those attending were: Margaret (Hurd) Novotny, Ruth (Hurd) Johnson, Marie (Jorgensen) Paul, Helen (Jorgensen) Armstrong, Geneva (Mayes) Miller, Frances (Mayes) Nelson, Nina (Lineback) Peterson, Margaret (Hampson) Thompson, Libby (Kotrba) Mason, Dorothy (Vanneman) Hulton, Anna Heying, Fern (Schueth) Peters, Adalene (Lantz) Parker, and Cora (Heller) Kaiser.


The Southern Cowbelles was organized in November 16, 1962, at the Westside Frontier room with 17 women present. Wilma Calhoon was president and the Ideal director was Mildred Engelmeyer. Cowbelles promote beef and beef by-products through education and public relations and to be of assistance to the South Dakota Stockgrower Association. Some projects are serving an annual Gourmet Beef Fest for the Farm-City promotion, conduction local high school beef cook offs, selling beef certificates, helping 4-H clubs through donations and assistance, supporting Special Olympics, and giving packets of beef literature and recipes to brides.

The organization is no longer Southern Belles Cowbelles but Southern Belles Cattlewomen which is a nation wide change form Cowbelles to Cattlewomen. Southern Bells had 52 members and is the second largest club in SD and the largest nationally at this date. Ten members come for the Star Valley and Ideal Community. Three women have been honored by being State Presidents: Rose Paulson (1983-1984), Ardath Ewing (1987-1988), and newly elected Ruth Ann Farnsworth (1997-1998).


Twenty-one home Extensions clubs were organized in 1934. Extension women have been a busy group over the years, going to the State Fair with demonstrations, attending summer conferences at Box Elder, and a State Federation meeting Yankton. The ladies work and donate food for the lunch counter during the Tripp county Mid Dakota Fair at Winner, have bought kitchen equipment for the 4-H center. The women work with the communities raising money for different projects.

The Ideal Homemakers Extension Club was started by the ladies in Star Valley in the late 1940's. It did involve the whole Ideal area as well. We did follow the homemaker council guide liner, but always had community projects and social events as well. Out club broke up in the later 1960's when some of the older members passed on and the younger members were getting involved with school and church events with their own children.

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