“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
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South Dakota Facts and Figures

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database


on February 24, 2020

Image attributed to Chase & Sanborn Coffee Co.

 South Dakota ranks 42nd among states and provinces with markers in this database. South Dakota is a state in the United States of America located in the American Midwest. It is also in the Upper Plains region. South Dakota is some 77 thousand square miles in size with a population of around 885 thousand people. The state is divided into 66 counties and 59 of them have entries in this database. In South Dakota we have discovered historical markers in 136 cities and towns lying in 137 different ZIP Codes.

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How many historical markers are there in South Dakota? There are least 617 of them, by our count. We have cataloged 615 historical markers and 49 war memorialsóeach individually presented on 658 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another two historical markers in South Dakota that we donít yet have, and instead show on our Want List. Our correspondents have been finding and adding hundreds of markers a month to the database from all over the world, so next time you visit this page you will probably find that the numbers here have changed.

The first South Dakota marker in the database, The History Of Scotland Academy, was added September 29, 2006. It was photographed in Scotland in Bon Homme County. The last one added was submitted on February 10, 2020, and titled Masonic Temple, Aberdeen. It is in Aberdeen in Brown County. Keeping in mind that the erection date of many markers in the database is not known, the earliest historical marker we know of in South Dakota was erected in 1891. It was this one: J.B.Hickok, and one of our correspondents found it in Deadwood in Lawrence County on October 1, 2018.

South Dakota Historical Categories
204 • Settlements and Settlers
103 • Native Americans
100 • Industry and Commerce
54 • Parks and Recreational Areas
49 • Man-Made Features
48 • Exploration
44 • Charity and Public Work
39 • Railroads and Streetcars
35 • Forts or Castles
34 • Environment
    ... and more ...

South Dakotans donít want to forget their Settlements and Settlers history. How do we know? Because there are more historical markers in the database from South Dakota about Settlements and Settlersó204 of themóthan about any other historical category. It is followed by Native Americans with 103 markers.

The first marker added to the database with the Settlements and Settlers category was Pierre Dorion, Sr., added July 12, 2007. It had been erected in Yankton in Yankton County. The last one submitted was submitted on November 2, 2019, and titled Hugh Glass - Adventurer. It had been erected in 1964 in Shadehill in Perkins County. One of the earliest marker erected with the Settlements and Settlers category that we have listed was erected in 1926. More than one was erected in 1926. This is one of them: The Old Yankton Trail and Stage Road, found in Sioux Falls in Minnehaha County on August 29, 2016.

What is the most interesting historical marker in South Dakota? What we know is that Martha Jane Burke is the most viewed entry in the database from South Dakota since it was added in 2014. It is located in Deadwood in Lawrence County. This year so far, the most viewed South Dakotan entry is located in Sioux Falls in Minnehaha County. It is Pillars of the Nation.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The South Dakota county with the most historical markers listed in this database is Lawrence County, with 95 of them. It is followed closely by Minnehaha County with 86 markers. The Deadwood area of Lawrence County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 57. In Minnehaha County the area with the most markers, 79, is Sioux Falls.

Historical Markers in These
South Dakota Counties
95 • Lawrence County
86 • Minnehaha County
45 • Pennington County
40 • Brown County
27 • Custer County
25 • Marshall County
24 • Hughes County
24 • Stanley County
23 • Walworth County
19 • Union County
    ... and more ...

Checking the database for the city or town in South Dakota with the most markers we again find Sioux Falls at the top of the list with 79 markers in or near it. And Deadwood also shows up again in next place, with 57 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers itís 57732 at the top of the list with 63 markers in its delivery area. (ZIP Code 57732 is assigned to Deadwood SD including the Pluma, and Roubaix delivery areas.) It is followed by ZIP Code 57104 with 50 markers. (57104 is assigned to Sioux Falls SD.)

Historical Markers Near These
South Dakota Cities and Towns
79 • Sioux Falls
57 • Deadwood
30 • Lead
23 • Lake City
22 • Custer
22 • Pierre
21 • Fort Pierre
20 • Aberdeen
17 • Mobridge
14 • Interior
    ... and more ...

Getting back to Lawrence County, the first marker added to the database from there, Wild Bill, was added January 7, 2010. It was erected in 1951 in Deadwood. The last one submitted was uploaded on April 13, 2019, and is titled Utility Building, in Deadwood. The earliest marker erected in Lawrence County that we have listed was erected in 1891. It was J.B.Hickok, found in Deadwood on October 1, 2018.

Latest entry from South Dakota. Click to go there
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, February 10, 2020
Latest Entry from South Dakota
“Masonic Temple, Aberdeen”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Sioux Falls. The first: Battleship X, was added December 21, 2008. The last: Mound Builders Village added on September 19, 2019. It had been erected in 2000. The earliest marker erected was erected in 1926: The Old Yankton Trail and Stage Road, added on August 29, 2016.

Who Puts Up Historical Markers?

South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office is currently in charge of official historical markers found all over the state and the South Dakota Department of Transportation typically installs and maintains those that are roadside. You will also find official markers erected by the South Dakota State Historical Society, a predecessor. They erected their first marker in 1950, and we have 52 of their markers in the database. Also, a number of counties have erected historical markers on their streets and roads and within their public areas, as have some cities and towns.

Latest entry from South Dakota. Click to go there
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, May 15, 2016
A South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office Historical Marker

Then there are federal government agencies that put up historical markers, especially in national parks and other areas under their jurisdiction. And finally, there are the numerous public and private organizations and individuals that erect markers. Some do this as a continual endeavor, and others once in a while, to mark something, someone, or someplace they find important or interesting. When one of our correspondents comes across one that satisfies our criteria, we add it to the database.

Off the Beaten Path

Youíll find that even the smallest, least populated, or most rural areas of South Dakota have been marked with history. Check out Buffalo County, Bennett County and Bon Homme County. We've only found one historical marker in each. Visiting one or more of these parts of South Dakota might make for a pleasant road trip, and maybe youíll discover more historical markers while youíre there. If you do, perhaps youíll take the time to photograph them and, when you get home, become an HMdb correspondent by adding them to the database. Happy Hunting!

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