Thursday, April 17, 2008

Capa ghost town

Got a couple ghost town posts coming up. This one is Capa, in the west central part of South Dakota.

Capa is nine miles northeast of Midland. The first task is to find Midland, which is on US Highway 14, 61 miles west of Fort Pierre and/or 56 miles east of Wall. It can also be reached via SD Highway 63, 14 miles north of Interstate 90. Once in Midland, you will want to head east on Highway 14 approximately 1/2 mile east of town to the junction with the gravel Bad River Road at the top of the hill. It gets easy from here. Nine miles on the gravel will bring you to what's left of Capa.

If you count three outhouses, there are 14 buildings still standing, including a church and a school on Capa's one street.

After walking around a bit, I was ready to declare Capa inhabited by only cows, pigeons and prairie dogs, but then I realized one house did look slightly more recently used and actually had a satellite dish! At this point I realized I was probably trespassing in someone's front yard. If you visit Capa, please respect the property of others and do not remove, destroy or vandalize anything there.

Also, be careful! Places like this have innumerable hazards lurking for the unsuspecting photographer. Rusty nails and sharp pieces of discarded metal are strewn about everywhere. Snakes, skunks, and other nasty creatures may have taken up residence in or under decaying buildings. Photographing from a distance is sometimes the best idea.

There are several ghost towns throughout South Dakota, mainly "West River." I will write about more in upcoming posts.


Tom said...

My great uncle, Nathaniel Edwards, was the railroad station agent in Capa and died there in 1950.

Grandma Cindy said...

My father, Rex Huston, won a railroad car in a poker game in Capa - 1950's. It is still parked alongside the dirt road near my grandparents' old homestead a few miles outside of Midland (my cousin, Tom, took pictures of it Aug. 2010). My aunt Mary Jane, 86, said "Capa was wild, and the Hustons didn't help it any." She said winning the railroad card was a "big deal" but Dad couldn't make a big deal of it around his mother.
Cindy (Huston) Fletcher

Chad Coppess said...

Wow, great storie! Thanks for sharing.

Wes Edwards said...

Somehow I got on South Dakota ghost towns last night and ended up on this blog this morning. I can't let it go without a comment.

I can't say that I ever heard of Nathaniel Edwards or if he is a relative but my grandparents, Ira and Emma Jane Edwards homesteaded east off Capa on the Bad River. They had 13 kids and all but one were raised in the Capa and Midland area. My grandparents and several of the kids are buried in the Catholic cemetery on the hill north of Capa. My granddad, dad and several uncles worked for the railroad at Capa.

My dad worked for Jack and Margaret Huston on the ranch and they were life long friends. I may have a picture from about 1943 when we at the Huston ranch. I was about 5 at the time said...

My grandfather Stuart raised my dad charles for a period of time, 1929s. I visited twice meeting the then only resident, (if I remember correctly) Helen O'Conner who ran cattle during the summer. The Capa road east takes you past the faint impressions of a Native American horse racing track. There was old signage supporting this story along the road.
Talking to mrs O'Conner she told me of her childhood memories of my grandfather. A hotel standing then had a hot water spa still flowing, that near the RR sign "Capa" .
I have a few photos from that trip.
Chuck Stuart

Wayne said...

aMy Grandparents homestead there and claim was filed in 1908. James and Mary Center. My mother was the youngest child and born four months after they left for Beresford, S D