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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Wilmont in Roberts County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Whetstone Valley Rest Area

 
 
Whetstone Valley Rest Area Marker image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, December 5, 2015
1. Whetstone Valley Rest Area Marker
Inscription. You are standing on top of the Coteau des Prairies (Hills of the Prairies) overlooking the rich Whetstone Valley. This landscape was carved out some 20,000 years ago by a massive glacier which extended approximately 2,000 feet above where you now stand. Thirty miles northeast between Lake Traverse and Big Stone Lake is a continental divide. This line separates waters which flow north to the Hudson Bay and south to the Gulf of Mexico.

The remains of a human and his flint tools, radiocarbon dated to around 7,000 years B.C., were found near Lake Traverse, northeast of here. As you view the valley below, you may be looking at one of the earliest inhabited areas in the western hemisphere.

The Dakota (Isanti), comprised of the Sissetonwan, Wahpetonwan, Mdewakanton and Wahpekute bands moved into this region around 1679. The Lake Traverse Reservation of the Sisseton-Wahpeton was established north of here by the Treaty of 1867, following the Dakota Conflict of 1862 in Minnesota. The Sisseton - Wahpeton Sioux tribal head-quarters, BIA, Tiospa Zina Tribal School and the Sisseton - Wahpeton Community College now occupy the Old Agency site. In 1890, the Sisseton - Wahpeton Sioux Tribe ceded this area to the United States. From 1874 to 1889, the U.S. Army occupied a military post at Fort Sisseton. The site, located northwest of here, is now a

Whetstone Valley Rest Area Patio image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, December 5, 2015
2. Whetstone Valley Rest Area Patio
state park.

Fur traders arrived in the early 1800's establishing trading posts in the area. The missionaries followed in 1869. White settlement began in earnest in 1892. Homesteaders paid $2.50 per acre after living on the land for five years. Congress later repealed the cash requirement and gave the land to those who had stayed on the land the required time. The Whetstone Valley is now a rich and diverse agricultural community.

From the Coteau des Prairies, in a place much the same where you now stand. Joseph N. Nicollet, a French cartographer who mapped this area for the U.S. government between 1838-39, wrote: "In the summer season especially, everything upon the prairies Is cheerful, graceful and animated. The Indians with herds of deer, antelope, and buffalo give life and motion to them. It is then they should be visited, and I pity the man whose soul could remain unmoved under such a scene of excitement."

Our hope is that your visit to this Rest Area will enable you to appreciate the "life and motion" of the Coteau des Prairies its spectacular beauty, its history and its Proud culture.
 
Erected by State of South Dakota.
 
Location. 45° 24.153′ N, 97° 0.877′ W. Marker is near Wilmont, South Dakota, in Roberts County. Marker can be reached from

View of the "Coteau des Prairies" image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, December 5, 2015
3. View of the "Coteau des Prairies"
the intersection of Interstate 29 at milepost 213 and South Dakota Highway 15. Click for map. This marker is located behind the main rest area building near the picnic area. Marker is in this post office area: Wilmot SD 57279, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 3 other markers are within 16 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Browns Valley Man (approx. 15.8 miles away in Minnesota); Sam Brown Log House (approx. 15.8 miles away in Minnesota); Samuel Jerome Brown (approx. 15.8 miles away in Minnesota).
 
Also see . . .  Coteau des Prairies - Wikipedia. (Submitted on December 10, 2015, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota.)
 
Additional keywords. Coteau des Prairies
 
Categories. AnthropologyNative AmericansSettlements & Settlers
 
View of the "Coteau des Prairies" image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, December 5, 2015
4. View of the "Coteau des Prairies"
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 175 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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