October 09, 2005
Coal Springs and Glad Valley
After the town of Brayton blew away in a windstorm sometime after 1921, Coal Springs also became the nearest post office for many of the families living around the Thunder Butte. According to John Crowley, “The Coal Springs store, which was our post office address for all of the time I lived around Thunder Butte, was built and operated by Sherill Cazar. They had two children that I have lost track of.” The Northwestern Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1916 lists the grocery’s proprietor as “A. W. Cazar,” so the Cazars must have been running the Coal Springs store for several years before John Crowley was born.
The Glad Valley store, about seven miles northeast of Thunder Butte, “… was operated by the Elfrink family the last I recall,” says John Crowley. “This was the store where my parents did most of their casual grocery shopping, and took their cream and eggs to sell. They went to church on the hill above the store on Sunday, and chances are that they danced at the open air pavilion on Saturday nights. The pavilion was just a dance floor constructed out in the open air near the store.”
Glad Valley, in an earlier incarnation, was known as Pickerville, when it was established about 1910 by William Picker. The then proprietor of the grocery store moved the establishment to his own claim in 1914, and Glad Valley became the name of the settlement. The Elfrink General Store operated in Glad Valley until 1956, when it was purchased by the Wittes, who ran it until about 1982.