The collection was assembled over the 50-plus year career of Bernard J. Carey, a second generation employee of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad – the fabled “Rock Island Line.” Carey was the last depot agent in the Sioux Falls office when it was closed in 1971.
The unique donation includes historic paper documents; photos;
hardware including oil cans, locks, keys, and lanterns; standard depot clocks; telegraphy equipment; an 1880s depot “barrel” stove; and period office furniture – some of which date back to eastern Dakota Territory in the 1880s. South Dakota railroads represented in this collection include Rock Island/Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern,Great Northern, South Dakota Central, Milwaukee Road, Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Paul & Omaha/Chicago & North Western, Illinois Central, Burlington Northern, plus other historic companies. Additionally, a large collection of historic barbed wire will also be a prized addition to the Museum’s agriculture section.
“The generosity of the Carey’s children Steve, Sheila and Sharon is
tremendous. I am amazed at the variety this collection adds to the
Museum’s statewide focus,” related Museum Director Rick Mills. The
items have been transferred to the Hill City facility in two trips
since late June. Mills says this is the third major collection from
eastern South Dakota that the Museum has received in the last 8
“It sure is nice to know there is something like the SDSRM to provide real learning experiences and historical context for tourists. Oh, how I wish it had existed when Dad (Bernard) was still alive. He was quite a guy, and so interested in history and had a great love for the railroad and his, his dad’s, and brother’s and niece’s telegraphic contributions to the Rock Island and Great Northern in their jobs over so many years,” commented Sheila Brzica, Mr. Carey’s eldest daughter. As a child, Sheila also learned to tap out Morse code by her father’s side in case of emergency.
Some of the new items have already been moved into the Museum’s
display areas, with more to be readied for display during the Museum’s annual TREES AND TRAINS Christmas exhibit in November and December, as well as more in the new depot display in 2013.