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Ruskin Park near Forestburg was a popular stop for pioneers and early settlers. Here, when the park was in its prime, people gather for a day on the James River during the 1920s. (Photo courtesy of Carnegie Resource Center)

Man seeks Ruskin Park photos, info

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FORESTBURG -- An area man is working to preserve the history of Ruskin Park.

Brett Selland, Letcher, has documented several historical places in the Mitchell area and plans to create a documentary about Ruskin Park, near Forestburg along the James River.

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"I've always been a history nut," he said. "I grew up hearing stories from Dad and my grandparents about the park. I always thought it was unfortunate I was too young to be there."

Ruskin Park, near Forestburg, began as a meeting place between American Indians and the pioneers settling in Dakota Territory, according to the park's website. Three pioneer wagon trails met at the site, which eventually included a hotel, cabins, a theater, a baseball diamond and horse and car race tracks.

Today, the site includes a hunting preserve and lodge. Selland has been interviewing people who spent time at the park. He has collected artifacts from the park but is in need of photographs.

"I know there are one or two movies out there, too," he said. "I know there were one or two taken." Selland began his effort to document Ruskin Park late last winter and hopes to have the documentary done by next year. Selland's other work includes "The Last Flight of 790," the story about two B-17 bomber planes that crashed near Fedora and "The History of Scott Brothers Park," a similar park to Ruskin located near Storla. Selland said copies of these documentaries are available through him.

Anyone with information or items regarding Ruskin Park who would like to share may call Selland at (605) 999-4753 or (605) 248-2364, or email him at castaway@santel.net.

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