Henkin

The relationship of a brick presented to Sioux Falls businesswoman, Sylvia Henkin, and the Hemingway hunting story, written by Ardyce Stamp, presents an interesting facet of Lake County history. These two items are documentation for a little known Lake County town named Henkin and a hunting lodge, which were both important to the area in the 1920's and 30's.

Henkin was a platted, surveyed town when the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad was built through the county at the turn of the century. A water tower and other railroad facilities were located at the site. The town was the service stop for the train between Madison, Henkin and Huntimer. The railroad line came into Lake County from the north through Oldham, Ramona, Madison, Henkin and Huntimer. Eventually the line joined another branch of the Milwaukee at Elk Point, S.D.

Ms. Henkin, former Sioux Falls City Commissioner, businesswoman and historian, relates the story of her late husband's family. She explains that the Henkin family originally lived at Madison, S.D. They later moved to Sioux Falls and originated KSOO radio station, which is still in operation. Sylvia explained why the town came to being:

"The Milwaukee railroad needed to place a water tower in the vicinity of southeastern Lake County. It happened to be on land owned by Joseph Henkin, Madison. They asked if he would mind if they painted the Henkin name on the tower. Of course it was okay with Joe Henkin. A man by the name of Palmer (I think) owned land adjacent to the spot, and he offered Joe $2,000 to have the name of Henkin removed and Palmer painted on the tower. Joe said, "No." In 1909, that was quite a sum of money. The Henkin family lived in Madison until 1926 when they moved to Sioux Falls."

Sylvia and her late husband, Morton, son of Joeseph Henkin, have had an interest in Lake County history through the years.

These people cannot substantiate the number of established businesses or residences after so many years have elapsed. The platted map of Henkin, from the Register of Deed's office of Lake County, shows three surveyed streets and three avenues. It is doubtful that many of these lots were occupied, according to historians.

During the late 1920's, however, the railroad line no longer needed the Henkin water town facilities; the town was abandoned and buildings moved out. These included the elevator and railroad buildings.

At the present time, Wayne Hefner of Chester, S.D, owns the old Henkin town site. The Hefner family has built a ranch-style home near where the water tower once stood. An American flag flies from a flagpole on Hefner's landscaped lawn at the historic site.

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