|Frederick Evans was involved in many business dealings from the time he was a boy until his death in 1902, but none quite measured up to the energies and capital he spent in developing the town of Hot Springs into a health resort.
Born in Ohio in 1835, Fredrick Evans' travels finally led him to Grand Island, NE. There he was married to Theresa Beall, who was to become the “first lady” of Hot Springs. <p>In 1871, Evans moved with his family to Sioux City. His urge to be a little ahead of the march of civilization prompted him to begin freighting to the Black Hills when gold was discovered there. While in the freighting business, Mr. Evans had his office in Deadwood. <p>Through the efforts of Dr. R.D. Jennings, Evans became interested in the warm waters of Minnekahta. At this same time, Fredrick was looking for a new frontier, as the railroads were taking over the freighting. After seeing the prospects of the area, he decided to engage in building a town. <p>With four other men, Evans organized the Dakota Hot Springs Company. He sold his freighting business and Sioux City interest, thus bringing to Hot Springs, along with his boundless energy and ability, one half million dollars. He also had connections with eastern investors who trusted his judgement. <p>The first major project at Hot Springs was building the Minnekahta Hotel in 1886; it burned in 1891 and was replaced by the present day Evans Hotel that was constructed of stone on the same location. It was during this time that Evans got the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri River Railroads to build into Hot Springs, putting sidings to handle the stone from his quarry on Fall River. Streets had to be graded and a light plant to provide electricity had to be built. Under his promotional efforts many bathhouses, business buildings, the State Soldier’s home, and Evans Plunge, the worlds largest completely enclosed, natural warm water swimming pool, were built. It was through Evans' promotional efforts that all of these things were being accomplished. The architectural designs of the stone buildings are patterned after the European structures he saw on his trips to Europe. <p>The name Frederick T. Evans will be, and should be, remebered as the number one builder in, and of, Hot Springs, SD. The many buildings he built, or had built, of stone from his own quarry, stand as fitting monuments to the industry and vision of Fred Evans.
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