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The "Big House"

[This paragraph and the articles following have been taken from the book L.D. Miles by Carol Bickel Cramer, whose permission to do so has been graciously given.]

The new house was always call the "Big" house. After it was built the first "claim house" was torn down. When the family moved into this new house they took only their dining table and all the rest of the furniture was new except some items brought from Michigan that were used on the third floor (where the hired help slept). All the new beds were iron except for brass beds for Uncle Bert, L.D. and Carrie. The organ was not brought to the new house as a piano was obtained for the music room. When Ruth married, Mabel and Lena moved into her room and L.D. bought them twin brass beds.

[From the Conde News, about 1909]

Elegant Residence of Mr. &Mrs. L. D. Miles,
Turned over to Visitors

The evening proved fine and many availed themselves of the generous invitation of Mr. and Mrs. L.D. Miles to visit them in their new residence and the commodious building was taxed almost to its capacity by nearly 200 guests who had come to pay their respects to the popular host and hostess. Time and space will not allow a full description of this fine home and a visit would be necessary to realize its beauty and comforts to the fullest extent, but from the heating plant in the well-built basement, hot and cold water system, electric lighting throughout the entire building, shows the work of a master builder. In fact, from cellar to attic, all the appointments are exceptionally fine and up-to-date, making it one of the finest homes in Spink County.

Entertainment consisted of a short musical and literary program-opened by soul stirring old time song, "We're Here Because We're Here" led by John Smith and Will Hanson, after which Mrs. C.A. Foster read a fine poem "Out of the Old House Into the New." Mrs. Vandenburgh read a humorous selection. L.C. Van Ornum gave a short pleasing address on the beauties and necessities of home. Mrs. Chs. Laughlin sang a solo. D. Robertson gave a historical sketch of Spink Co. H.J. Hall told of a rosy-cheeked lass who became Mrs. Miles and the strenuous effort of Roy to win out in the race. Mrs. Maley gave a fine recitation.

Each in their turn were seated at a bountifully spread table and served exquisite dainties of which Mrs. Miles was an expert. McMillan roasted Roy Miles and Roy answered in his peculiar happy style. As wee small hours began to lengthen the crowd began to disperse after having spent a most delightful evening and one long to be remembered.

 A Model Farm Home
By H.M. Harden, Associate Editor

[Article taken from The Dakota Farmer, issue of Aug. 15, 1912]

A visit to the farm home of L.D. Miles, near Conde, SD, will dispel all the preconceived notions of the inconvenience and isolation of farm life that one may have previously harbored. Real modern homes are those that possess all the niceties and conveniences for family comfort, the means of rapid transit to friends, neighbors and trading points and close communication with all the world. All of these things Mr. Miles and his family enjoy in their farm home every day in the year. There is not a modern feature making for greater comfort in the home circle that is not at the touch of this family. The family itself is an ideal one, healthy, hearty and capable of enjoying life at its best and they do. But it is the home itself that is of interest to our readers. As is shown by the accompanying illustrations, the house is a large one but the size of the family puts its many rooms to practically daily use. There is, however, always room and a most hospitable welcome awaiting any visitors that may chance to come that way, and, happy to say, the sociability of the neighborhood is not such as was so frequently found to be justly open to criticism in the Country Life Commission's investigations of rural life.

The house was erected in such a way that the owner knew positively that every piece of lumber was what it should be and that it was fashioned and joined in the best possible manner. The three floors are of oak, and each room is finished in either sycamore, oak or birch. A large built-in side-board and china closet graces the dining-room. Three open fire-places make winter evenings cheerful and comfortable and are so constructed that they eliminate all the undesirable features of those of our grandfathers' times.

The building is heated by a hot water plant that gives perfect satisfaction and Mr. Miles recommends this system to every farmer who wishes the best. A full-sized basement is finished in concrete and furnishes ample room for the furnace, laundry, lighting plant, etc., as well as a billiard-room in which many enjoyable hours are spent by every member of the family.

An office equipped with a roll top desk, typewriter, letter files, book cases, etc., etc., indicates that farming here is on a business basis. A high class piano of course is found in this home and a large cabinet phonograph brings to the family a touch of the best that the world of music affords. Throughout the house the furnishings are of the best from rugs to chandeliers. Hot and cold water flows in kitchen, laundry, bath rooms and lavatories, in fact this is a modern home such as no city can surpass. A big, high grade touring car furnishes means of rapid transit and it goes without saying that Mr. Miles is a good-roads booster. Telephone and rural mail delivery gives close touch with the outside world.

The one feature of this home of which the owner is most proud is the electric plant that furnishes light and power at the touch of a button. In one corner of the basement is a complete electric light outfit run by a small gasoline engine.  A storage battery permits the running of the outfit only when necessary to provide sufficient current. The battery will store enough electricity to fill the needs of the home for from two to four days and only a few hours running of the engine is required to store it. Incandescent lights are conveniently placed in every room of the house and in barns and outbuildings, and electric fans are whirled to cool and ventilate at will. Electric flat irons and other electric conveniences are used in laundry and kitchen. To cool and ventilate the kitchen a fan attached to a chimney draws the warm air outward replacing it with cool fresh air from the outside. In the laundry in the basement, electricity propels washing machine and mangle and the terrors of wash-day vanish. A vacuum cleaner gathers the dust from the living rooms and brooms are discarded. A separator and churn perform their duties at the touch of a switch in the basement, all of this by the power of the wonderful force of electricity. The cost of operating the system has proven to be so slight as to hardly be worthy of consideration. A trifle over eight cents per day is the maximum reached during the shortest winter days. When one realizes the beauties of electricity on the farm and its comparative economy it seems strange that well-to-do farmers should withgo its advantages.

This home is the result of earnest labors on the soil of Dakota, and every cent it cost is the product of this land which was homesteaded thirty years ago. A visit to this ideal home of Mr. Miles, would be an inspiration to any farmer in the land.


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