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History of Whitetail

The town of Whitetail in northeast Daniels County is set in a beautiful valley along Whitetail Creek with a dam forming a lake on the outskirts. It was a small town even before the coming of the Soo Line RR in 1913. The Soo Line planned to build on farther west but ended up stopping at Whitetail.

The new town began to boom as soon as the rails arrived with numerous business and professional services being offered. A lot of homesteaders arrived on the Soo as the country around became more and more settled.

The community got a couple of unusual economic boosts. It was claimed that several gallons of oil were pumped out of a well in town and this created lots of excitement. Oilmen came from Wisconsin and the Whitetail Oil Syndicate was formed. This resulted in the sale of all the town lots and oil leases soared.

A drilling rig was moved in and a well was spudded in 1928. Action continued for a few years but no oil was recovered, although enough natural gas was found to fire the steam power unit for awhile.

In the late thirties the Schlecter Bros. invented the power-take-off driven grain blower which revolutionized grain handling over a wide area. A factory was built and by the '40s nearly every farm truck had a "Whitetail Grain Blower". Coming of the more popular grain augers put an end to this venture.

For many years an island in Whitetail Lake was the site of the area's major July 4th fireworks display, with reflections from the water adding to the enjoyment of large crowds coming from all across Daniels and Sheridan Counties.

Whitetail high school closed in 1942 and the grade school in 1973.

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