Growing Up with the Town
“Schwieder’s combination history and memoir is warm and witty. Only a consummate historian of the Midwest like Schwieder could reveal so many strands; small-town life, local culture, and immigrant contributions are a few. Schwieder has combined scholarship and her love of region to produce a truly wonderful book.”— Glenda Riley, Alexander M. Bracken Professor of History at Ball State University and past president of the Western History Association
“Interweaving the story of her family with the history of her hometown, Dorothy Schwieder creates a colorful tapestry of small-town life on the northern Great Plains. Her engaging personal history gives faces to the names of those who built communities and persisted in what could be a harsh land, preserving a valuable legacy.”— Nancy Tystad Koupal, South Dakota State Historical Society
“This book is a combination of solid history and personal memories of Presho, South Dakota, that have been woven together with great skill and sensitivity. By integrating family and community history, Dorothy Schwieder has given readers a most interesting and meaningful book. It is classic local history.” — Gilbert C. Fite
In this unusual blend of chronological and personal history, Dorothy Hubbard Schwieder combines scholarly sources with family memories to create a loving and informed history of Presho, South Dakota, and her family's life there from the time of settlement in 1905 to the mid 1950s.
Schwieder tells the story of this small town in the West River country, with its harsh and unpredictable physical environment, through the activities of her father, Walter Hubbard, and his family of ten children. Walter Hubbard’s experiences as a business owner and town builder and his attitudes toward work, education, and family both reflected and shaped the lives of Presho's inhabitants and the town itself.
While most histories of the Plains focus on farm life, Schwieder writes entirely about small-town society. She uses newspaper accounts, state and county histories, census data, interviews with residents, and the childhood memories of herself and her nine siblings to create an entwined, first-hand social and economic portrait of life on main street from the perspective of its citizens.