FROM WINONA TO COLOMBE
On June 2nd, 1908 the townsite of Winona was recorded in Book 1, Pages 36 and 66 of Lyman County, South Dakota. This Venture was preceded by a group of speculators including Wm. H. Tackett, H. F. Slaughter, Chris Colombe, and W. R. Meserve. They had purchased a quarter section allotment from Chris Colombe and foresaw the opportunities and need for establishing a town with the opening of the Rosebud Territory. Thus the townsite of Winona was begun. In 1909 the name of the townsite was changed to Colome and the first post office was established. Rapid growth saw many businesses set up and flourishing in that short amount of time and when the Chicago Northwestern Railroad came to town in 1910, Colome became a thriving and growing community.
NEW WATER SYSTEM
In 1911 the town installed a municipal water system at the cost of about $9,000.00 and in 1914 a two-story brick school house was constructed on the present school site. The census in 1915 was shown to be 415 and in 1917 the town voted to grant a company form Walnut Grove, Minnesota the right to erect, operate and maintain electric works for the town. The first graduating class was in 1918 with eight students graduating. In 1920 the Thayer-Waters Post #146 was organized and charted and the census was shown to be which included a mayor and six members to the council, which remains in effect today. The Masons and the Eastern Star organizations were granted charters for the newly formed groups.
A devastating fire occurred in 1923 beginning in the Nick Weis Market, destroying it and seven other businesses, including the Floyd G. Bank, Clothing Store, Blakkolb, Zimmerman Hardware, Cotton & Goldfuss, Bakery, L. G. Vanderboom Jewelry, and the post office. Restoration began almost immediately with brick building replacing the lost ones. The current library is the only remaining "old" building left on Main Street today.
In 1924 a brick addition was added to the school doubling its size and is still presently standing. In 1926 main street was graded and graveled and the new Methodist Church was dedicated to the town and Mabel Koester Reed was chosen as Miss Colome! In 1927 the home belonging to Mr. And Mrs. Chris Colombe was destroyed by fire and the I. O. O. F. (the former Methodist Church) was completed and in 1929, Colome's first movie theatre introduced talking pictures to the community and the tradition of sounding the noon whistle was established. The dirty thirties saw the closing of the Tripp County State Bank with the census standing at 598 and the state highway was graveled from Dallas to Winner. The drought and grasshoppers were the news and every one suffered the effects brought by them. Chris Colombe died of cancer in 1935 and population had dropped to 531. A swimming pool measuring 17ft. by 40ft. was erected at the H. S. Graham place. In 1939 F. E. Newlon was granted permission by Bridgman & Russell Company to lay out a new city park for the town, which still exists and is kept up by the city.
In 1940 the Colome Auditorium was finished but was destroyed by fire in 1941, the new Veteran's Memorial Building was completed in 1948. Many sports activities and dances were held in the building through the years. Highway 18 south of Colome was graveled in 1940, the Colome Times was sold and ceased to be printed in Colome. The fire department purchased a new V-8 fire truck and equipment in 1950. The Blizzard of "52" was hard on the entire community and in 1953 the city approved the building of a new street lighting system to be erected by the REA. Ben Reed replaced Gottlieb Korb as Chief of police and in 1960 the census was 398. In 1961, four blocks of main street was hard surfaced and in 1963, the old Tripp Hotel, then housing the school dorm was sold and tore down. In 1969 a $90,000.00 water revenue Bond system was enacted to improve the water system to the city. In 1970, Thayer-Waters Post # 146 constructed a new post home and the census was shown to be 375. A new grade school building was constructed near the existing school in 1971 and 1975 the new post office was built. !9778 the last train passed through Colome and a new city hall building was constructed Skatetown was completed in 1982 and remains an active enterprise today.
Colome celebrated it's diamond Jubilee in 1983 with a very successful celebration, including a parade, old fashioned dress revue, the selling of special coins, and publication of the Diamond Jubilee book with stories of the town and surrounding communities.
The latter part of the 80's and the 1990's saw Colome move ahead with several worthwhile improvement projects. A new football field was constructed as a community effort, including donated funds and labor, and joint cooperation between the city and the school. The little league baseball/softball field was improved as an important part of the sports complex, as well as a new concession stand, rest rooms and bleachers, all a result of community spirit and effort. New lighting was installed on Main street, and street signs were installed to make Colome compatible with 911 regulations, an effort which also included an addressing project. Volunteers worked hard to designate and remove dead trees, and the City sponsored a free tree project, for trees to be placed on city side streets.
1999 saw the City realize the outcome of several years of planning and grant writing to achieve the replacement of the water main system, a $500,000.00 plus project which is still in progress.
The City of Colome has a rich and Varied history, and is looking ahead to an even better future.
Source: Colome Historical Tour, Sunday, September 12, 1999