In 1972 Ray Hillenbrand and his wife Rita bought the Triple Seven ranch, a prairie ranch located between the Badlands and the Black Hills of South Dakota. The Triple Seven was a cattle ranch until 1985 when Ray decided to look for an animal which would be at home and adapt to the prairie’s natural and uncertain environment. Such an animal was the buffalo; the original animal which grazed the area before the white man nearly made them extinct. Today the ranch is home to over 1,500 buffalo.
Ray established the current Prairie Edge concept in the early 1980's. This concept has two primary purposes. The first is to educate the public about and to preserve the heritage and culture of the Northern Plains Indians. The second purpose is to provide Northern Plains Indian artists and craftspeople an outlet, at a fair price to them, for their finest work which reflects on their heritage and culture. Prairie Edge is housed in a restored National Historic Registered building originally built in the 1800’s, thus giving appropriate respect for the housing of Northern Plains Indian artwork and craftwork.
Today both regional and nationally acclaimed artists show their work at Prairie Edge. Beadworkers, quillworkers, painters, photographers, potters and silversmiths artwork is featured in the Prairie Edge galleries.
Within Prairie Edge a turn-of-the-century Trading Company offers the finest in glassware, pottery, Pendleton blankets, star quilts, contemporary jewelry, unique clothing, frames, candles and scents; the original works of regional and nationally acclaimed artists are on display in the Second Floor Fine Art Gallery; a kaleidoscope of color is waiting to be discovered on the east mezzanine’s Italian Bead Library, which houses over 2,600 different styles, shapes and colors of these historic beads; the west mezzanine houses a Book and Music store dedicated to Native American and Western history, education and culture; Sioux Trading Post supplies crafters with furs, feathers, shells, teeth, claws, hides, buffalo parts, trade cloth, botanicals plus Italian, Czech and Trade beads. There are so many unusual and exquisite things to see you might think you’re in a museum.
Prairie Edge is open year round, seven days a week and is located in the heart of downtown Rapid City at 606 Main Street. Our mailing address is P. O. Box 8303, Rapid City, SD 57701.