Monthly Archives: March 2018
Every community, no matter its size has at least eight items it can build on.
Aladdin, Wyoming is a favorite stop on our cutoff from Belle Fourche, SD to Sundance, Wyoming whenever we’re headed to Colorado. This micro-sized community packs a punch with everything from local foods and wine, cowboys and cattle, unique shopping and tourism.
Aladdin easily covers all eight assets- Arts/Culture, Architecture, Cuisine, Customs, History, Geography, People and Commerce
“Everything fits into one of these categories. Every town, even ghost towns, have a story to tell about each one.”- Kansas Sampler Foundation
Here’s my take –
Geography – Aladdin is just to the east of the Bear Lodge Mountains and has covered plateaus and pine and oak covered coulees and draws. Stunning vistas no matter which direction a person looks. Aladdin also had an abundant coal seam, which was mined and sent to smelters near Deadwood. *Bonus- there is an average of 226 sunny days a year!
Arts/Culture – Brand new this year is the inaugural Aladdin Days Country Music and Food Festival on June 16th! (I can hardly wait, since it coincides perfectly with my next trip down!!) In the meantime, when visiting the mercantile there is local artwork – paintings, hand decorated skulls, notecards, etc- available and books from Wyoming authors. Right across from the store is the Centennial Park- with picnic benches and toys for everyone to enjoy.
Architecture– The Aladdin Mercantile store was built in 1896 and is a prime example of early stores. This mercantile has been in continuous operation the entire time! The false front was a common feature during this time period. Just a hop and a skip to the east of town is the Aladdin Tipple. Another prime example of early engineering and one of the last wooden tipples.
Cuisine– Right next door to the mercantile is Cindy-B’s café and hotel. It doesn’t look like much from outside, but don’t let that fool you. The food is good, portions pretty generous and good prices. Not to mention you can sit on the patio and soak up the sun while you have morning coffee!
Inside the mercantile you will find sandwiches, snacks and a small bar. Local whiskeys and wines too! (Chris Ledoux, anybody???)
Customs– Aladdin is in the heart of “Cowboy Country” and that means a certain set of rural values abound. A mans word is his bond and handshake still means something. Men will always treat women like ladies and friendliness is the order of the day.
History– (I could go on and on about local history, but I’ll keep it short!) Aladdin was founded in the late 1800s on coal and logging. The Mercantile was opened in 1896. The coal mined in Aladdin was loaded onto rail cars for use by gold smelters in Lead and Deadwood. In 1874 Colonel Custer was in the Aladdin area during his Black Hills expedition. Population peaked at 200 +/- during it’s coal mining years, but today hovers around 15.
People– The people of Aladdin are a hearty bunch. Deeply committed to the land, their faith, community and country. Always friendly and ready to help in a pinch. Many nearby residents are descendants of local settlers. Want to know how the West really was?? Ask a local. They are usually very happy to share personal stories and local lore.
Visitors to Aladdin are equally as jolly. It’s a popular stop on the way to Devils Tower, Sturgis and for hunters and fishermen.
Commerce– The Aladdin Mercantile has it ALL- Literally. It may be a one-man-band so to speak, but Wow! It carries artwork, clothing, antiques, foods and beverages, jewelry, gifts- truly, everything. And make sure to send home a postcard from the little post office tucked inside and sit a spell on the porch.
The next time you’re road-tripping, make it a point to get off the road at Aladdin and enjoy the sights. You won’t be disappointed!
“Kate’s 8” are a way of showcasing small towns and rural communities. When looking at your own town, get creative and see how many ways you can fit what you have into these categories and get creative with your marketing!
*Katy is part of the dynamic speaking duo Tait and Kate- helping small towns and rural communities grow and thrive.
“Rural Values” – One of the top 10 reasons why people choose to live in a small town.
Normally, I would agree with that statement.
After yesterday, I am afraid I have amend that to say “everywhere but here”
This story involves “small town” mentality and a complete and utter breech of financial privacy.
The local Cenex Station has long been known for it’s lack of customer service- But this really takes the cake.
You see, I told the kiddo-o to swing by and ask to have propane delivered to a house he had rented and put on our tab. – By and far, not an unusual occurrence. Plenty of families do that out here. “P” said- “Have your mom call and OK it”
Fine- I called.
The first words of P’s mouth were “Well- your son owes us XYZ and he has to pay it”
WOW! WOW! WOWSIE!!!!!
WHAT???? You are discussing a grown man’s credit with someone one the telephone you don’t know?????? I could have been anybody calling!!! And then she implied (without actually coming right out and saying so) that because she heard we had moved (WE haven’t) that we may not be good for it.
Like that makes a fig of difference. Anyway- I OK’d the transaction.
An hour later, “P” calls back and tells me that because kidd-o has an outstanding balance, she refuses to let them deliver propane.
WHAT The heck!!! It’s MY MONEY.
And “P” says that because of kidd-o, she will not allow a delivery to that address no matter who is living there.
For the record- the house is EMPTY and we are fulfilling a promise we (not kidd-o) made to the owner 6 months ago to fill when the lease was up.
After some haggling and name dropping and I got her to do it.
And then I stewed. Since I know I have a hair-trigger temper at times, I decided waiting until morning to go ‘discuss’ the incident with “P’ was the best choice.
I show up and “P” was as condescending as they come. Continually saying that “my son” drug me into this with his carelessness…. blah, blah.
I told her that it was no sweat of my back to have McClusky or Washburn fulfill all of our bulk fuel, propane and oil needs in the future.
I cheerfully told “P” that she has opened herself and Cenex to a lawsuit for flagrant violation of privacy by discussing an adults credit with me- and in front of her co-workers to boot. To which he replied “you’re his mother” and “it’s a small town”
That should ZERO bearing. He is an adult. Cenex willfully entered into a credit arrangement with him. Not me. Not anyone else.
That my friends was THE LAST STRAW
I am DONE keeping my yap shut because Hubb’s was born and raised here.
If they will discuss his financials on the phone and in public without a care, who else are they blabbing about??? Because you can bet your rump they are.
**Update** A complaint has been files with the ND State Attorney and to add insult to injury- after only OK’ing X amount of fuel to be delivered… they delivered MORE…. What the Heck!???