#568 – Dick Bernard: A short visit to Montrose SD

A friend just wrote an excellent book, and in it a town was mentioned, Montrose SD, just 20 miles from Sioux Falls.
Since I was going to Sioux Falls anyway, I decided to pop in on Montrose, just to see what it was like.
It was a bit like going back to the old days. I kept thinking of Mayberry RFD and recently deceased “Goober” from that popular show. Also entering my mind was the old Garrison Keillor saying about Lake Wobegon: “the little town that time forgot, and the decades cannot improve”.
Montrose is surprisingly invisible on the South Dakota prairie. It is only two miles off the freeway, but you could almost go past it without actually seeing it. It is nestled in a valley and there are no tall buildings, not even grain elevators.
Best I know, no train tracks go through Montrose.
Montrose’s less than 500 residents are hidden in plain sight.
Thanks to google maps you can sneak a peak at Montrose via satellite.
Driving the streets of Montrose, it was easy to become nostalgic about the “good old days” that I remember in even smaller towns in long ago North Dakota.
There were the little, older houses, and some more impressive ones, none of them cookie cutter suburban development homes. They had yards. These were the yards of ordinary folks.
The downtown, such as it was, was a few stores on a sleepy main street. No traffic jams or traffic lights or even stop signs, here.
St. Patrick’s Church, in this community that seemed to have a pretty heavy Irish ‘cast’, was an anchor.
A gaggle of young people on bikes, gathered on the edge of a street.
But this was 2012, and it didn’t take much imagination to know that the people in this little town were connected to the larger world much more so than when I was growing up in similar little towns in the 1940s and 50s, before television, the internet, etc., etc., etc.
Indeed, I had booked my motel in Sioux Falls by doing a google search of Montrose SD.
Every place with a name seems to have an entry these days, and while there were no motels in Montrose, the web offered a garden variety of options in nearby Sioux Falls, only (in my case) 23.8 miles away.
Back in the day of WWII, when I first became aware of the world outside my little town, 23.8 miles was a pretty long trip, not taken without good reason. Here I was, 275 miles from home, on what was essentially a single day trip on mostly four lane highway in two states.
Times have changed. Have we?
(click to enlarge photos)

St. Patrick's Cemetery, Montrose SD

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