First timer? In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48). I call this “landing.” I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near. I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landing” above. To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”
Landing number 2310; A Landing A Day blog post number 740.
Dan: Today’s lat/long (42o 51.457’N, 96o 44.755’W) isn’t very different from my most recent landing in Iowa: (42o 9.545’N, 95o 1.121’W). In fact, today’s landing is just 100 miles NW of my last. Here’s my regional landing map:
And my local landing map:
I’ll zoom out, and you can see that Spink is only game in town . . . er . . . the only town on the map:
Here’s my streams-only map, showing that I landed in the Brule Creek watershed (2nd hit); on to the Big Sioux R (5th hit, the 167th river on my list of rivers with 5 or more hits); on to the Missouri R (416th hit):
Of course, I can’t forget the MM (901st hit).
So. It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) space flight in to far southeastern SD. Click HERE, enjoy the trip (and then hit your back button).
Well, I do have halfway decent Street View coverage:
And here’s what the Orange Dude sees, looking north from beautiful downtown Spink:
Not much development north of town, eh?
Speaking of downtown Spink:
And here’s a Street View shot of the town’s only hot spot, the Spink Café (more about the Café later):
Before I forget, I have a nice local Street View shot of Brule Creek:
And here ‘tis:
I must admit that at first, Spink didn’t ring a bell with me. But I recalled landing in far southeastern SD in the past, so I went ahead and searched for Spink in the ALAD search box. And there it was. A Spink SD post from May 2011.
Here’s my local landing map from that post:
And some words from that post:
Believe it or not, I found this in Wiki:
A community named Spink was established in Spink township in 1871. At its peak, the community was strong enough to compete for the title of county seat.
Toward the end of the 20th century, only a few business remained in the community of Spink. The Spink Cafe was (and still is!) the center of life in the township and is still a place were farmers would gather to talk about the bean or corn crop and share a pot of coffee. Gary’s Repair was (and still is!) the place where people could get the truck or tractor a little work. The old Co-Op that went by the name of Spink Oil was the town’s gas station. Spink Oil closed in 1997.
[The above Wiki entry is still active, although it’s under Spink Township.]
I found an article about the Spink Cafe in the October 18, 2006 edition of the Akron (IA) Hometowner. I lifted some excerpts and pictures:
Saving Spink Cafe — one of South Dakota’s landmarks
By Julie Ann Madden
“The Friday night Fish Fries during Lent and Sunday dinners tend to draw the largest crowds. Recently, we served 70 people Sunday dinner and last spring we served 150 during a Fish Fry,” said owner Diane Otten. “Sometimes there’s only three customers in a day. It just depends on which fields the farmers are in and who else is in the area.”
“The Spinkburger is the best in town,” she said. “It’s two hamburger patties, mayo, mustard, lettuce pickle, onion and tomato.”
Breakfast is available any time they are open. They sell beer and the coffee pot’s always on. Spink Cafe is open Wednesday through Sunday. Wednesdays are until 8 p.m. or “until the last customer leaves.”
Fridays and Saturdays, they open until 10 p.m. or so. Sundays is 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. “It’s really a family-run business,” said Diane, “and I think the cafe is an important part of history.” Otten admits they don’t make a lot of money operating the café – “there’s is always something to repair. It takes a lot of work but we have a lot of fun here.”
I love that the Spinkburger is the best in town. In a town of eight people and (of course) only one restaurant, it’s hard to argue the point!
Also, I looked long and hard to find the origin of the name “Spink.” The info is probably out there somewhere, but I have only so much time to search . . .
Back to real time. Guess what? I now know how the town got it’s name (which I’ll share with you in a minute). But first, the Akron Hometowner newspaper has an update article about the Spink Café! This is from an undated article (but clearly later than 2011), by Eden Hemmingson:
South Dakota is home to one of the Midwest’s best kept secrets: the Spink Cafe. The cafe has been around for 16 years, and the building has been standing for over a hundred.
Recently, the owners have repainted walls and retiled the ceiling and now the inside of the Spink Cafe looks brand new.
“We’ve wanted to repaint for awhile now but couldn’t decide what to do. We started with new ceiling tile and painted the vents red,” said owner Rhonda Otten. “I’ve wanted a red wall in the cafe ever since I read an article saying red makes people hungry. “
After the big red wall was painted, Rhonda wanted to keep making changes.
She decided on a red, black and light blue color scheme, with a big vinyl record mural on the dining room wall.
“We have an amazing artist as our waitress, Eden, so it made me think to have an actual record painted on the wall. And with the three colors we went with, it all just works so well together,” said Otten.
“Our father, Junior, passed away in May and he has a collection of over 3,000 records. We wanted to incorporate them some how,” said Otten. “Music is a huge part of our entire family’s daily lives.”
The new look goes well with Spink’s classic Elvis memorabilia and has been loved by all the customers. The drastic change has sparked some ideas about the menu.
“The new look is definitely inspiring us to try other new things. We are having an old fashioned shake and burger night on Wednesdays in July. We have some new menu ideas also,” said Otten. “It’s kinda like a whole new feel when we walk in. It’s fun thinking up all these new things.”
And here’s the new wall decor:
Now to the story on the origin of the town’s name: I found a post about South Dakota town names on the website reallyweirdplacenames.blogspot.com. Here’s an excerpt:
Which of the following represents a correct use of the word “spink”?
- Ursula expressed considerable surprise when she found a small spink in her sleeping bag.
- Bob sure showed a lot of spink in taking on the Hell’s Angels, didn’t he?
- You’re going to need a new spink, ma’am, if you’re going to get that toilet to work properly.
Spink, interestingly, is both a town and a county. The county is in the northeast part of SD, has 6,400 Spinkers, and comes in at over 1,500 sq. miles. It’s the home of the rather off-color town of Athol. Pronunciation? Let’s not go there.
The town of Spink, oddly, is not in Spink County, but in Union, which is in the very southeast toe of the state (that little part that kind of just dribbles down there all by itself). It’s got 245 Spinkites.
The name? Well, S.L. Spink just so happened to be Secretary of Dakota Territory when the county and the town were founded.
There you have it. And yes, I googled S.L. Spink (Solomon L.). There’s not much on the web about him, but Wiki confirms that Solomon was, in fact, a representative of Dakota Territory from March 4, 1869 to March 3, 1871. Here’s a Wiki pic:
It looks like he blinked when the flash went off. If I were Sol, I would have preferred another shot . . .
Since this post doesn’t have all that much substance, I decided to shift the focus of this post to:
All Things Spink
Of course, I Googled spink, and dominating the internet is a London Auction House, Spink & Son. They’re really big into coins:
And then, down a ways on the Google search, I found out about a spink, which is a finch. From Wiki:
The common chaffinch, usually known simply as the chaffinch or spink, is a common and widespread small bird in the finch family. The spink breeds in much of Europe, across Asia to Siberia and in northwest Africa. It prefers open woodland and often forages on the ground.
The name spink is probably derived from the bird’s call note.
And here’s a pic:
And then, I found a small (incredibly small) town in Ireland, even smaller than Spink SD, just down the road from Knock:
Zooming back a little (OK, a lot):
Here’s the very little that Wiki has to say:
Spink is a small village in County Laois, Ireland. It is situated near the Kilkenny border on the R430 regional road.
I have excellent GE StreetView coverage of Spink:
And here’s a Street View shot of a lovely patch of Spink:
Just outside of Spink, I found this GE Panoramio shot of an exotic stone structure (by Giedruteg):
But I couldn’t find anything about it’s history or origin . . .
Also just outside of Spink, I found this GE Panoramio shot, entitled “View from the spink” (by Alan Larkin). “The spink?” Say what? Well, here’s the shot:
This describes a hike one can take in Glendalough which is quite a distance from Spink (about an hour and half drive, according to Google Maps). The website included this map:
Hmmmm. The “looped walk” (obviously to be taken with a flask) is along the red dots. You can see hike goes right along “The Spink,” just south of lake. But what exactly is it?
And then I found a flickr photo of the very same spink (by rockface), taken just off the southwest corner of the lake (looking east):
The photo had a caption that started out with:
“An Speanc – The Cliff or Crag.”
So, in Irish Gaelic (I think), “an speanc” (the spink) means the cliff or crag. Looking at the above photo, that’s the spink to the right of the lake (which corresponds with the label “The Spink” on the map above the photo). Phew.
So, going back to the Pano photo entitled “from the spink” near the town of Spink. Doesn’t look like there’s much of a spink in Spink. Oh, well.
Now that I’ve fully explored the Spink universe, it’s time to return to good ol’ Spink SD, and look for a GE Pano shot to close things out. Well, here ‘tis, by Doe4Rae:
That’ll do it . . .
© 2016 A Landing A Day