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Herman Luce Cabin

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1871, Herman Luce. Lake Herman State Park.
  • (Photograph by Michelle Dennis)
  • (Photograph by Michelle Dennis)
  • (Photograph by Michelle Dennis)
  • (Photograph by Michelle Dennis)

Located at Lake Herman State Park, this is the oldest surviving cabin in the area. Herman Luce, postmaster and land grant officer, built the cabin in 1871 for use as a post office and land office for the small eponymous community of Herman.

The cabin is a one-and-a-half-story, rectangular building constructed with hewn oak logs. It sits on a concrete and stone foundation; its gabled roof is clad in wood shingles. The existing doors, one in the north wall and the other in the south wall, are both replacements and consist of braced wood planks. There are windows on each of the elevations, the largest just east of the south door. There is also a small window in the east gable end. All windows have shutters used to provide security for the building. The gable ends, above the log walls, is clad in vertical board and battens. The interior is one large room. The walls are unfinished logs and the floors are wooden planks. A woodstove is situated in the center of the room and a ladder to the loft area is near one corner.

Though the town of Herman was abandoned in 1881 when the railroad bypassed it for nearby Madison, the cabin was continually occupied until 1941, when the state purchased the land for a park. A small Luce family cemetery is located just west of the cabin.

In 2004, Lake Herman State Park received a grant for the restoration of the cabin. A new foundation and roof were part of that project, as were general repairs. The cabin is currently used as an interpretative historic display for park visitors. The space is furnished to illustrate how it may have looked when occupied by a family in the 1870s.


Ruple, Steven D. “Herman Luce Cabin,” Lake County, South Dakota. National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form, 1977. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.

Writing Credits

Michelle L. Dennis



  • 1871

  • 2004


What's Nearby


Michelle L. Dennis, "Herman Luce Cabin", [Madison, South Dakota], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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