Gillespie Hotel & 9th Calvary Band – Hot Springs SD Circa 1895

I was delighted today to meet with “Gloria”, owner of our original mystery 9th Regiment, Company G image and the “Horse and Buggy” photo (featured below) pinned to the underside of the mat preserving both images for many years.

Military-Mystery---Taos-News-IIIt was an emotional meeting. We both feel deeply connected to these men of service and for Gloria, their bond has remained intact for 50 years! She considers the soldiers to be “family”.

I wanted Gloria to see the stir our soldiers have created online and to fill her in on what we’ve discovered about their lives to date. As I told Gloria, we’ve been gifted with a “breadcrumb trail” of clues that seem to supernaturally “guide” us to gain more and more insight.

Take our Horse and Buggy image. From the start our goal was to identify the background building in the hope it would connect to our Mystery Soldiers and provide a year/location time stamp.

With Colonel William Haenn’s guidance we turned our research attention to Fort Robinson. Outreach to the Fort Robinson Museum allowed me to connect with preservationist, Jerry Taylor. While reviewing our online research, Jerry spotted a building that seemed familiar and subsequently shared with me the image (and details) below!

9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldier Band - SD 1895

9th Cavalry Band - Details

The image features the 9th Cavalry Band from Fort Robinson and is currently owned by the Nebraska State Historical Society. While we await additional historical details, here’s what I’ve been able to glean from poking around.

We’re looking at is the Gillespie Hotel in Hot Springs, South Dakota. Unfortunately the Gillespie Hotel burned down in 1932 however there are many references online to validate the building. See images below.

The Kidney Springs Gazebo & Gillespie Hotel

Gillispie Hotels & Minnekahta Hot Springs SD 1891 Print

What does all this tell us? Gloria’s 2 mystery images are DEFINITELY connected! It appears the band members were standing at the intersection of Fall River Avenue and West River Street. Amazing right?!:)

Now… what more do our Soldiers — all of them — have to say?!:)