Booth, D.C. pf.jpg
Induction Category & YearProfessional 1988
Home TownSpearfish, SD
BirthAugust 5, 1867
Palatine Bridge, NY
Spearfish, SD

   DeWitt Booth
Champion of Excellence

 D. C. Booth served as the first superintendent of the Spearfish Hatchery (now known as the D.C. Booth Historic Fish Hatchery) in Spearfish from 1899 until his retirement in 1933. He came to the Spearfish Hatchery as the youngest superintendent in both age and service when the hatchery was still under construction. He established the Yellowstone Fisheries in 1901 and continued to supply them for 10 years.

During the years which corresponded with D. C. Booth's superintendence, the Spearfish facility played a key role in the development of trout stocking programs and techniques across the American West and the world. Booth's philosophies and personality would dominate the hatchery for over 30 years. <p>From the beginning, the D. C. Booth style was to accept any challenge, exude extreme confidence, and labor day and night to meet the crisis. There was much to be done during the first years of the fish hatchery. Aside from the buildings, the site was something of a disaster and cleanup of the area began the day of his arrival. <p>A wire was received that the first shipment of eggs was on its way. No hatching trays were ready to receive the shipment, so trips to hardware stores and lumberyards located necessary materials to improvise hatching trays and other necessary equipment. By working day and night, Booth and his assistants had everything ready. <p>Disaster followed close on the heels of success. In August of 1899, a cloudburst gave Booth and his staff an introduction to the shortcomings of their hatchery site. The following flood completely filled the spring reservoir and deposited several inches of silt in the ponds and hatching troughs and destroyed the eggs. For the rest of the Booth era at the hatchery, stream diversion and rock retaining wall construction would receive considerable attention. <p>Because no funding was available, Booth and his staff worked in their spare time to construct a storm channel 1,200 feet long and 16 feet wide. Booth took great pride in this work. These measures, taken to protect the spring, stood the test. <p>As the site became more secure, the business of hatching trout continued. Soon the stocking inventories in the Spearfish station's letter book provided a fascinating look at early fish stocking programs in the Black Hills. In addition to the immediate area, deliveries of fish were soon being made as far away as points in Nebraska and Wyoming. <p>The most colorful chapter in the history of the Booth era at Spearfish was the hatchery's role in the management of Yellowstone National Park Fisheries. The Spearfish facility was given the added responsibility of this additional area with no additional staff or funding, yet Booth and his staff were successful. <p>The Booth Home is one of the most elegant of its age in Spearfish. Built in 1905 by its namesake, it was the first house in Spearfish to be built with radiated heat. A few pieces of silver cutlery and ceramic tableware are the only authentic pieces left in the home as Booth was a simple man and fineries were not affordable on a government employee's salary. <p>Booth retired on November 1, 1933.

Home Town (Spearfish, SD)
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