The crouch line was an important railroad for Silver City.  It connected the mining town to Rapid
City and later served as a daily destination for picnickers and tourists.  

"Railroads were the preferred way to travel through the Black Hills for two generations. The
Dakota Wyoming and Western line was formed in 1901 to provide a direct rail link between Rapid
City and the central Black Hills. The line up Rapid Creek required over 100 bridges in 37 miles. The
line was completed to Mystic in 1906. It operated as the Rapid City, Black Hills and Western until
closing in 1946, but it's still called the Crouch line in honor of its builder and first owner, C.D.
Crouch."
(1)

Conceived in the early 1890's, the railroad had not really got going through the turn of the
century.  In 1904 a local periodical wrote: "...one of the richest mineral sections of the county,
Pactola and Silver City, are now without a railroad.  The Black Hills & Missouri River Railroad,
however, will tap it on its east-west line from Rapid City to Mystic, on the Burlington.  Some
fifteen miles of grading are completed, and bridges finished and tracks laid on eight miles of this
road, while the directors give out that the forty miles between Rapid City and Mystic  will be
completed and equipped within a year.  Along the surveyed route, following Rapid Creek, are the
mining camps mentioned and great quantities of timber that will be available for mining
purposes."
(2)
Loading logs onto the railroad in 1939 - BHNF libraryLoading logs onto the railroad in 1939 - BHNF picture. Looking East, near School House
Log deck for railroad 1939 - Courtesy of BHNF archive
View of thew railroad tracks in early Silver City - Courtesy Kevin Eilbeck
Pactola Valley - Flood between 1902-1908 - Courtesy BHNF archive
1906 Picnic Train in Pactola - Courtesy South Dakota History
Pactola Valley before dam was built - BHNF archive. Sherman's field.
Flood in Pactola circa 1902-1908 - BHNF archive
Resource Information:
(1) www.gorp.com, Black Hills National Forest, Hiking Deerfield Trail & Lake Loop Trail.

(2) "Black Hills Illustrated", 1904

(3) Rapid City Journal  July 6, 1936

(4) Railroads of the Black Hills. Fielder 1960

Floyd, Dustin D. "
Progress Crossing".  Deadwood Magazine, 2009.
The Crouch Railroad 1940 - Courtesy Hoffman Family
Train going through town in 1926 - Courtesy Hoffman Family
Silver City in 1920 - Logs were stacked to be taken by railroad - Courtesy Hoffman Family
Jim Melvin and others (date unknown) - From Harriet
1906 Picnic Train by Pactola - Courtesy Carl Leedy
Confusing names.
The railroad had many names over the
years.  These mouthfuls were a
testament to the dreams and
aspirations of its various owners:

Dakota & Wyoming Railroad
Dakota, Western & Missouri River
Dakota, Wyoming & Missouri River
Dakota Pacific
Missouri River & North Western Railroad
The Crouch Line
Black Hills & Wyoming Railroad
Black Hills & Missouri River Railroad
Rapid City, Black Hills & Western Railroad
Picture Gallery
This railroad was a true feat of ingenuity, it followed the crooked canyon carved by Rapid Creek to Mystic. Locals would joke that the
bends of the line were so sharp that the engineer in the locomotive could hand chewing tobacco to the brakeman in the caboose. (Floyd,
2009)

"The original idea had been to extend the road far beyond, but that was never done.  It did get through to Mystic, though, in 1906, and
there was a big celebration May 27 of that year, marking the laying of the last rail.  It was a hard job, with deep cuts through hard rock,
with 105 bridges across Rapid Creek, and with enough curves to make fourteen complete circles if they were put together.  The twenty
actual miles climbed by the thirty-five mile road see an ascent of 1,790 feet."
(3)
"...recognized as the crookedest railroad in the United
gas car makes a 44 mile round trip each day and will
drop passengers off anywhere on the route and pick
them upon the return, allowing them ample time for
fishing.  Round trip fare $1.05 to $2.70.  This makes an
ideal day's outing at a very small cost."  From a 1940
advertisement.
The train stopped at Silver City.  From the Rapid City
station to the Silver City station it was exactly 27
miles.  Other nearby stops included mile #23 with a
stop at Pactola (a historic place now underwater)
and a stop at mile #31 at Canyon City, located on
Rapid Creek just below the mouth of Slate Creek, a
site of gold placer mining in the 1880's and '90's.
May 27, 1906. From postcard of the driving of the last spike. Courtesy Richard McNeil
1940 Crouch line tain between Pactola and Silver City - Courtesy Jack McBride
The rickety railroad suffered multiple setbacks through the years.  Barely a year after being completed, a flood in June 1907 took out all but
was caused by an unprecedented eight inches of rain that fell in the area.  Through perseverance the Crouch line was rebuilt.  They figured
that it was easier to redirect the creek than to build new bridges and that is exactly what they did in Silver City.  This is the reason that the
creek is surprisingly straight as it crosses town.  Close inspection reveals how two bridges were eliminated by simply redirecting the creek.

By late 1907 the railroad was up and running again, but on November 15 of that year, a terrible accident happened just up from Silver City on
bridge 28.32 (where the first foot bridge now sits).  The Rapid City Journal led with "Terrible Death, Disastrous Wreck Caused by Burning
Bridge".  The accident happened late at night.   In that location, there is a narrow gorge and the bridge had been built 26 feet above water
level.   "Somehow the bridge had caught fire and was burning well when No. 11 burst around the bend going at a good pace down the gulch.
Engineer Almore Harper tried to stop the train, but he could not stop.  He must have jumped when he saw that he was heading straight for
the burning bridge, because he got off the train alive."  However, the fireman perished and the conductor lived because some of the rear
cars stayed on the track.  "The freight was hauling coal from Sheridan, Wyoming, for Rapid City residents, and when the engine went down it
pulled three gondolas of coal after it, which ignited in short order."
(4)

The crouch line is important in the history of Silver City.  All we have today is the railroad bed and the pilings of the bridges.  But it is easy to
imagine the liveliness of the canyon when the train would make its daily trips.
1950 - Workers of Chicago Fuel & Iron salvaging rails near Flavin's Corner. Courtesy Jack McBride
1927 Train Schedule
Picnit Train - 1920s or 30s?
1906 - First train at Mystic - USFS
1907 view of Mystic
The Crouch Line