Saturday, October 15, 2016

My Country, 'Tis of Tea — South Dakota

Earlier this year, I came across a book that mentioned a town called "Tea, South Dakota." Now I thought that was just a fun bit of fiction until I learned that there really is a town called Tea, South Dakota!

• If there was ever a place that begged a visit from tea lovers, it would surely have to be Tea, South Dakota.  I found this community guide to the town online, and I was just fascinated by all the fun names. You can read about the town in the Tea Weekly newspaper, and anyone with small children might want to look into MyTea Tykes or Tea Tots, two local childcare facilities. I for one would enjoy wearing a T-shirt in support of a child playing Tea Soccer, and I know I would enjoy a visit to the Tea Area Historical Society. The best time to go to Tea, clearly, would be the third weekend in June, when Teapot Days are held, an event which includes the crowning of Ma and Pa Teapot.

• In June of 2006, Tea, South Dakota, was honored in the US Senate upon the occasion of its 100th anniversary.  If you have difficulty reading the above image from the Congressional Record, the part I was most interested in was this: "Tea’s unusual name was discovered when the community was asked to submit 10 town names to the Postal Service but only 9 could be decided upon. A recess was called during a town meeting at which tea was served. Someone suggested the name 'Tea' be added to the list. Shortly after, this tight-knit community was informed that their new name would be Tea. Tea was officially incorporated in 1906."

• In 1885, the Ladies of the Presbyterian Aid Society in Woonsocket, South Dakota, gave a benefit Tea Party at the church. This bit of ephemera comes from the Library of Congress, and I love how it says, "A Good Supper will be served from 6 to 9 o'clock" and that afterward, there would be "Music, Charades, and Magic Music." Can anyone tell what that last handwritten line says? I'm thinking it reads, "Proceeds for Mr. Currant." Just goes to show that benefit teas have been around for a while!


  1. If I ever get to South Dakota, I will be sure to visit Tea! But I'm really wondering what "Magic Music" involved!

  2. Who knew there was a town named tea. Maybe you can visit one day.

  3. This reminds me of the book I read, A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears. The story takes place in Teaville, Kansas, 1905 (You can read more here:
    I am super curious about Magic Music on the above pamphlet. If there is already music, what in the world is magic music? The fact that they advertise that the church will be comfortable, so that no one need hesitate to bring their children OR come themselves is very amusing. Was it not normally comfortable? Were they referring to the temperature? Perhaps the church was not always sufficiently heated and therefore too cold? Thank you for sharing this. Very entertaining.


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