Anderson Family History

Graveling

A project that seemed to have no end was graveling the parking area in front of the store. The source for this material was a small gravel pit one mile west of Center, South Dakota. Most of the labor involved was performed by my brothers, Laurel and Lyle. Dad had acquired an old chain-drive flat-bed truck with ten-inch sideboards to use in hauling the gravel.

If I remember right, after school hours and Saturdays the old truck was cranked up and began the slow trip to the pit. I think its top speed wasn’t over twenty miles per hour and I got to ride along some of the time. It took some time to maneuver around in the gravel pit to get to the better gravel. The pit had been worked rather haphazardly in the past and it’s floor had lots of hills and valleys. After situating the truck by the better gravel, the loading process began. This was accomplished all by hand a shovelful at a time.

The truck could not be heaped up with gravel because it would never make it out of the pit if fully loaded. A short steep grade had to be negotiated to get up on the road and it was hard to get much of a run for it. The chain drive to the rear wheels broke with regularity and repair links, pliers and wire were kept in its tool box to keep it going. It sometimes would snap a link even on the road going back to the store.

The load also had to be unloaded by hand and scattered where needed around the store front. Early spring when the frost left the ground was a busy graveling time as well as in the summer when the boys were available to do the manual labor. Being only five or six or so, I spent most of my time just playing at road building.

By Allan Anderson, 2005.

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