Shindler, South Dakota
Shindler was named after Charlie Shindler, an early homsteader. The community is close to the historic Blood Run Site, along the Big Sioux River. Due to the rapid growth in the southern portions of Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls is getting closer and closer to Shindler.
In 1886 the Cedar Rapids, Iowa Falls & Northwestern Railroad built a railway line from Larchwood, Iowa, through Granite, Iowa, Springdale Township in Lincoln County, to Sioux Falls. The Springdale Station depot was established here, and later it became known as Hobsonville. In 1891, two years after South Dakota gained its Statehood, it was renamed Shindler in memory of Charlie Shindler, an early pioneer homesteader.
To serve the needs of the area farmers, tradesmen built stores for their businesses and homes for their families at this site. Businesses included the Shindler State Bank, a General Store, Hardware store and a lumber yard. A Post office, blacksmith shop, grain elevator, garage and service station, stockyards for the shipping of livestock by train and a barber shop were also located here. The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Line, the successor railroad, provided passenger, freight and mail services on a daily basis.
A town hall opened in 1910 and quickly became the social hub for the small community. The hall hosted a variety of events including square dances, church services, Sunday school, basketball games, school programs, Red Cross meetings, talent shows and a various community parties. An annual diversion for area residents was when the circus train rolled through the town. Parents and their children gathered at the depot and alongside the railroad tracts to wave at the railroad cars carrying the animals and entertainers.
During Prohibition years, three enterprising farmers built and open air dance floor. Dances were held here regularly each summer with band from the area providing the music. The dances were dubbed "Brewery Dances" because it was rumored that a bootlegger that lived nearby provided alcohol for the partygoers. Young people from surrounding towns flocked here for Saturday night dances, and Shindler residents referred to those from Sioux Falls as "the packing house crowd."
The Great depression of the 1930s, combined with years of drought and crop failures of area farmers, led to the decline of Shindler. The automobile replaced the horse drawn buggies and wagons. Dirt trails leading to larger towns became graveled roads which later became concrete highways. One by one the businesses closed, the bank failed and residents moved away. The small town had served its purpose. When the post office closed in 1953, Shindler gradually dwindled. The last remaining business in the community, the Shindler Country Store, closed in the 1980s, leaving only a handful of homes along Highway 11 as remnants of the town. Today, new houses are being built in the surrounding area, as Sioux Falls continues to expand outward.
Fond memories, tales of simpler times, and stories about making do with what one has are all that is left of the town of Shindler.
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Shindler, South, Dakota. Retrieved on 2008-02-19. (Elev. 1404 ft / 428 m)