I grew up in what you’d call a “progressive community.” I don’t know where Mrs. Michaels’ grew up, but in the 1950s we had a heated year round indoor pool, a fantastic free library started by Phoebe Hearst, a beautiful theatre (formerly an opera house), free hospital and clinic and other unbelievable amenities all the courtesy of Homestake Mining Co.
Our schools competed and won state championships against much larger schools. Thinking back it was all so amazing for a small town of 6,500 people, much like Gillette. Until.. .. the mine closed! All those beautiful facilities were closed or given to the city (who couldn’t afford to operate them). Such a sad ending to a thriving community, a sad remnant of its former self.