Guide to the Lown Store Papers at the Leland D. Case Library of Western Historical Studies

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Lown Store
Title: Lown Store Papers
Dates: 1907-1915
Quantity: 1 box(es) (0.35 cubic feet)
Collection ID: MSS. Lown Store
Repository: Leland D. Case Library of Western Historical Studies
E.Y. Berry Library-Learning Center
Black Hills State University
Spearfish, SD 57799

Biographical Note

W. B. Lown was born in Columbia County, New York, on November 11, 1846. His parents were John J. and Catherine Lown and he had ten siblings. W. B. was educated in New York and later began building wagons and carriages until 1872. He left New York to engage in cattle ranching in Montana before he moved to Spearfish.

From 1880 to 1890, Lown engaged in the mercantile and hardware business on Main Street until the building burned down. Following the fire, he moved to California and invested in orange orchards. In 1892 he returned to Spearfish and commissioned Swan Thompson to build a sandstone business complex on Fifth Street. Here Mr. Lown created one the most successful mercantile stores in this area of the state of South Dakota.

The store, aptly called Lown´s, was a genuine general store that sold groceries, clothing, and wagon accessories, among other things. Mr. Lown and his sons were very knowledgeable about their inventory and were very generous with credit during the Great Depression.

On December 30,1881, W. B. Lown married Clara M. Short, of Redwater, at her parents´ home in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. They had three children: William Earnest, Charles R., and Clara Bernice Boland. Many houses were built by Mr. Lown for himself and his children. His sons became part owners of the store and it eventually came to be known as W. B. Lown and Sons General Merchandise Store.

Mr. Lown died on March 27, 1927, at St. Joseph´s Hospital in Deadwood, South Dakota and was buried in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Spearfish. His wife, Clara, was buried there as well, in 1929, after having moved to California.

Scope and Contents

Three Day Books 1907-1915.

Related Material

Lown Photograph Collection

Preferred Citation

Lown Store Papers, Leland D. Case Western Historical Studies

Processing Information

Dora Jones


Daybook from November 29, 1907 to July 7, 1908, Daybook from July 7, 1908 to December 7, 1908, Daybook from October 23, 1914 to [December 15, 1915]