SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) –62 years ago the tiny town of Manchester, South Dakota experienced a population boom like no other for the KELOLAND TV Gold Rush.
We’ve put together a comprehensive and interactive web page dedicated to the event that will probably never be duplicated.
Take a trip back in time to 1961.
The KELOLAND Gold Rush was held for two days in late August back in 1961.
It was created by station owner Joe Floyd and the Dakota Territory Centennial Commission.
According to our website, 1439 capsules were buried in a big open gold field in Manchester, South Dakota where ‘prospectors’ armed with gold shovels got to dig for $35,000 in cash and prizes.
Here’s the original letter signed by the Centennial Commission talking about the Gold Rush and how exciting of an event this would be for the entire state of South Dakota.
They weren’t wrong.
150,000 people, the largest crowd in the state’s history at that time, witnessed the “Gold Rush”.
On our website, you can watch and listen to some of the winners as they claim their prizes.
A long list of politicians and Hollywood movie stars were also in attendance like Clint Eastwood from the popular TV show at the time, Rawhide.
Fans even gathered at the airport to greet them to KELOLAND.
Lawrence Welk was also on hand to delight fans with his music and dance.
According to our website, he gave the signal for people to start digging for the capsules.
It was a long day, where people won cars and other valuable prizes, but it wasn’t until the end that finally the big prize of $10,000 was won by Mrs. Lola Carlon of Sioux Falls.
If you’d like to learn more about the 1961 KELOLAND Gold Rush, click here.