Artist's treasure on display in town known for gold: A Long the Way

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In a region well known for gold and tourism: one man is creating a different kind of treasure.

It's not making headlines, but it is adding to the richness of the Black Hills' culture.

His art work is unlike gold in almost every way: except one-- the sight of both add a sparkle to the eye.

We found his work, "A Long the Way", in the Northern Hills.

In historic downtown Lead, inside the Hearst Library on Main Street:
the walls as you would expect, are lined with books, lots and lots of books.

But lining the walls above the books, there's something you might not expect.

Artist Marshall Raeburn points at a work of art and says, "This one is geese outside the window. It is made out of an automotive door window, hinges and spark plugs"

It is the work of Deadwood artist Marshall Raeburn.

Artist Marshall Raeburn says, "This is Howard the Cat, this is made out of marbles, a stove and a piece of metal and electrical fuses."

It's not fancy, It's not complicated, and it's not meant to be. And, therein lies the charm.

Marshall Raeburn says, "It is basically goofing around. It is playing with these pieces of junk, seeing if I can make a picture out of them. It's a fun thing to do."

And a fun thing to see.

Raeburn says, "This is 'Robot carrying the head of Marvin the Martian'. This is the very first piece I made. I found that door lock that's the head and I've been making stuff ever since."

And that's how it began, about, 10 years ago, he was looking for rocks in a place where an old town used to be, but he found that old door lock, in the dirt instead.

Raeburn says,"It looked like the head of a robot so I started collecting other junk that I found on the site to make the robot whole."

And just like that, unexpectedly, he had become an artist.

Raeburn says,"And it just kind of grew and grew and I found junk in old abandoned places and antique stores, and wherever I could. People gave me stuff, I actually had people send me junk through the mail!"

One colorful work, followed another and another.

Marshall Raeburn says,"This is Fence Owl, the fence is made out of toy train track. The moon is made out of a watch. The owl's made out of a battery terminal and a jewelry piece."

For the past 5 years, or so, it's been on display here, for all to see.

Artist Marshall Raeburn says, "This is comet. It is made out of unknown rusted metal pieces. It is an early work."

There's no real strategy, no complex philosophy, no deep message.

Raeburn says,"Actually I don't picture it as something else until I start putting it together to make a picture. I just don't see it as anything until I start putting stuff together."

Which make the results all the more spontaneous.

Raeburn says, "This is Viking Reindeer Woman and she is made our door lock, watch parts, metal pieces, rhinestone and twigs."

He's 65 years old now, and plans to continue creating art.

Marshall Raeburn says, "I hope I can do it till I can't."

Marshall Raeburn is not seeking fame or fortune.

Marshall Raeburn says, "The fact that I have anything displayed is just gravy, it's just wonderful."

A hidden gem, in a historic town, quietly displayed in the library, next to the theater that a gold mine built...

If you've met someone cool "Along the way", please e–mail or call us with your story ideas.

Raeburn was born, raised, and worked in Minnesota, but he fell in love with South Dakota and when it was time to retire, there was no question which state he would move to.

If you'd like to see his work in person, just stop by the Hearst library in Lead, to check it out.