Category: Tourism  Listing Date: 2019-03-23
Tabor South Dakota
Badlands National Park, Wind Cave, Jewel Cave, and Minuteman Missile may also appear on your travel agenda. For the fisherman the Oahe Dam and reservoir or Fort Randall may be the destination of choice.
If you enjoy history and rural America then consider Bon Homme County in south eastern South Dakota. That's right folks. South Dakota is not just the Missouri River and the Black Hills although Bon Homme Country's southern boundary touches the Missouri.
One of many points of interest is Tabor South Dakota. For many of us native to South Dakota, Tabor is synonymous with the annual Tabor Czech Days but this small community has embraced its past and displays it proudly. The museums and square, accessible from Main Street, are a reminder of yesteryear. The school, church, and other buildings take you back in time.
Across the alley from the main square is the Emil Blachnik museum. The building itself is a country school, typical of the area and time. The contents are the incredible creations of an imaginative and clever resident of the community, Emil Blachnik. The caretakers of this museum, Evelyn and Emil Beran, offer an interesting and personal insight into the Mr. Blachnik's handcrafted displays. Evelyn is the daughter of Emil Blachnik and the school/museum rests in the yard of her childhood home and current residence. That is a story of significance in itself.
Consider Tabor South Dakota and all of Bon Homme County when you plan you next vacation.Article below 2011-09-03
Much more than a Czech Celebration
If you're from Bon Homme County, the eastern part of South Dakota, or anywhere in the Midwest for that matter, you've heard of Tabor, famous for Czech Days. Tabor (a Czech word meaning "camp") is located on Hwy 50 about a mile west of the Bon Homme County boundary. It is a community rich with the Czech Heritage and its citizens welcome you.
Tabor, SD has two museums, Vancura and Blachnik, historic churches and schools.
Tabor's first schoolhouse was built in 1873. Timber from near the Missouri River provided the building materials. Josef Zitka was the first teacher and was paid $20 per month. That school now provides a perfect introduction to the Vancura Memorial Park. The main street attraction is owned and managed by the Czech Heritage Preservation Society.
Among the buildings located on the grounds of the Vancura Memorial Park is Saint John the Baptist Church, the First Czech Catholic Church in Dakota Territory. The organ and other artifacts provide a window into 1869 worship. The original Tabor Jail, built in 1901, was constructed of lumber laid flat to discourage escape. The Nikl Jewelry Store of the 1920's to the 1930's represents a village store and Post Office.
Just a few steps from the Vancura Memorial Park stands Blachnik School, 1886, Dist. 26. The school is home to the Blachnik Museum. All of the contents are creations of Emil Blachnik who attended the school which is now just a few feet from the home he built. Emil and Evelyn Beran were gracious hosts at the museum during a recent visit. Evelyn Beran is the daughter of Emil Blachnik and told about the many pieces on display.
As fascinating as the story of Emil Blachnik is (and it is fascinating) so too is the story of Evelyn and Emil Beran. Evelyn Beran is the daughter of Emil Blachnik. She is married to Emil Beran. Two Emils not to be confused with each other. Evelyn was born in the house in which she now lives. It is the house that Emil Blachnik built. When Evelyn married Emil Beran, they farmed southeast of Tabor or west of Yankton, South Dakota. When Evelyn and Emil Beran retired they moved back to Evelyn's childhood home. The Berans are soon to be 97 years young.
Continuing north on Tabor's main street from the museums mentioned earlier, we reach the large brick church built in 1899. A sign on the church describes the historic building and that the bricks were hauled by horse and wagon from Lesterville, South Dakota as that was the closest railroad.
A fitting conclusion to a visit to Tabor may very well be the memorial dedicated to the men and women who served in the military. One more example that this Bon Homme community is Much more than a Czech Celebration. The Tabor Soldier's Memorial was dedicated May 25, 1998.
A special thank you to Dennis Povondra for scheduling this visit. Thank you to Mildred and Leonard Cimpl who took time to describe the museum pieces and the Czech history.
Thank you to Evelyn and Emil Beran for sharing the story of Emil Blachnik. Their own story was equally touching and will not soon be forgotten.