It was established under the name Augusta. The postmistress being Miss Augusta Niehus. Later the postmistress resigned and another appointed; this being the time the name changed to Wewela. Wewela is a Native American word meaning "The sign of a spring".
The first postmistress of the post office was Augusta Niehus. Later Elmer Pelletier had the post office; it was also a printing shop and library. Clark Briggs put out the Wewela Records in approximately 1912. Mrs. Jim Graham was postmistress for 33 years in Wewela.
It was originally owned buy John Rames and Bob Welsh. Later, Welsh sold his interest to Nels Haakus and it was renamed the Rames and Haakus Livery Barn. In later years, the stables were turned into a Ford Garage and ran by John Wahe. A tornado destroyed in in June of 1930.
Built buy the Jackson brothers of Dallas, SD, in 1909, it was a branch of the Dallas Bank. Loyd Mengel was the first cashier and banker. Charles St. John ran it until approximately 1931. In 1918 the Wewela State Bank had a capitol of $5,000 and surplus and undivided profits of $6,000. Nellie Bowles kept books in the bank from 1923 until St. John moved to Colome. He sold the building to Reason Didier to use as a residence.
It was built in 1912. They sold fine candy, cigars, and tobacco, but no liquor was sold. Brown later mad it into a garage. Approximately 1927 John Rames tore it down and took the lumber to Mission where he built a garage.
It was ran by Bill Hrabanek before 1918. This building was also used as a meeting place, church, and school house. While it was a school house in 1923, there were 53 kids in the Wewela schools and grades first through fourth. The population of Wewela was at this time was 153. The saloon now is in the center of the Cole building and the Post Office is located there.
It was run by Gene Wallace. Also Jim Clark ran it for a while; however, he did not serve meals. Later Kylers took over and they again served meals along with the hotel. In the early 1900's there was three doctors in town. Dr. Hood had his office in this hotel. There was some dentistry work done from this building, but the name has not been recalled. However, the medical doctors did pull teeth, so this may have been the case.
It consisted of a variety and clothes shop. The play, Deacon Dubbs, was presented in this building.
At one time dances were held in this building before the store expanded. As the store did expand many lines were added including implements and hardware. The store was later sold to a co-op which consisted of several area businessmen.
Mr. Dugan was the town veterinary and worked with horses, being the mode of transportation.
It was later ran by a Mr. Foster in around 1920.
It was ran by Elmer Barcus. Elmer carried mail for a number of years and put their home by the highway. Elmer quit carrying mail and built a repair shop. He also did wiring and sold Norge washing Machines. Lyla Barcus organized the Do-A-Deed Aid, which put money together to build the present church building. They left Wewla in 1963. Harold Jerred now owns the buildings.
It has always been in its location and in the early years the first team was organized by Elmer Smith with five of his sons playing. The improvement of lights had been added.
Wewela being in need of a community hall put their efforts together in 1926 and built the hall.
The trees around the park were planted by Charles St. John. The lilacs were planted by Wm. Weickum in approximately 1930 and brought by horse back from the George Weickum homestead. A large bandstand, build after 1927, stood on the south end of the park.
It organized by George Weickuym would play here many Saturday nights. Some members of the Wewela Band were Tom Bowles, Paul Grieau, Henry Grieau, John Wahe, Mr. McPhadden, Floyd Achenback, Orie Kenaston, Millie Kenaston, Jim Kenzer, Bic Weickum and Bill Weickum. Vic Weickum remembers playing on this stand and receiving a silver dollar from Mr. Mullen for payment. The coin he still has. George Weickum later formed a band called the Hungry Five consisting of George, Vic, Bill, Weickum, Henry Grieau and John Wahe. George Weickum traveled from Mills, Nebraska to the Black Hills playing his fiddle and came to Wewela in 1909 to homestead. He was also the band teacher in Colome.
Dr. Haggard practiced from this building. The Kenaston Store was destroyed by fire.
The Congregational Church currently stands in its place. Mr. Madsen died of pneumonia and the store was then run by Axel Holst. Mr. George Mullen later managed the store.
It was first organized in 1911 with six members. Most of the members moved away so it re-organized in 1920 with 21 charter members. A strong Ladies Aid, organized and established a strong Sunday School and Do-A-Deed Aid, organized and established a strong Sunday School and helped in building a new church. A new church was built and dedicated on August 25, 1957 under the able leadership and efforts of the Rev. Arnold Brown. It was a joint effort of the church members and community.
Sixty-seven babies have been baptized; there have been four weddings and three funerals in the church. Dick Richey. member. was the first baby baptized. The church aid still serves a supper every fall and has a bazaar as they have for more than 25 years.
Source: Tripp County Historical Society, 8th Annual Auto Caravan, Heritage Tour, Sunday, September 17, 1978
Mrs. Donald Turnquist
Wewela - land of many springs - Pioneer Town
Founded in the Rosebud in nineteen nine.
Nestled beyond the Turtle Butte, along the murmuring Keya Paha
Land of peaceful paradise, said the pioneers, it is mine.
They built a bustling little town
With stores of every kind,
Whatever might be needed
In Wewela, you could find.
No railroad came and the dirty thirties
Were forces some could not bear
And many had to move away
To start anew elsewhere.
Now seventy years later, the town is small
But the memories and spirit will stay,
In the busy, active community known
As Wewela, so hats off to you, today!
Written in 1978