“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

South Dakota Facts and Figures

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database


on January 27, 2022

Image attributed to Chase & Sanborn Coffee Co.

 South Dakota ranks 39th among states and provinces with markers in this database. The United States of America 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 62 of them have entries in this database. In South Dakota we have discovered historical markers in 193 cities and towns lying in 193 different ZIP Codes.

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There are at least 1,009 historical markers in South Dakota, by our count. We have cataloged 1,009 historical markers and 81 war memorials—each individually presented on 1,080 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. 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.

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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 January 12, 2022, and titled You Are Entering South Dakota. It is in North Sioux City in Union County and had been erected in 1956. 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 Topics
324 • Settlements and Settlers
167 • Native Americans
134 • Industry and Commerce
90 • Parks and Recreational Areas
81 • Waterways and Vessels
76 • Forts and Castles
65 • Churches and Religion
63 • Exploration
60 • Railroads and Streetcars
58 • Charity and Public Work
    ... and others ...

South Dakotans don’t 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 Settlers—324 of them—than about any other historical topic. It is followed by Native Americans with 167 markers.

The first marker added to the database with the Settlements and Settlers topic was Pierre Dorion, Sr., added July 12, 2007. It had been erected in Yankton in Yankton County. The last one submitted was submitted on January 12, 2022, and titled Fourteen Mile House. It had been erected in 1966 near Jefferson in Union County. The earliest marker erected with the Settlements and Settlers topic that we have listed was erected in 1914. It is Henry Weston Smith, was found near Deadwood in Lawrence County on October 20, 2021.

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 near Flandreau in Moody County. It is Dakota Akicita Wokisye / Dakota Soldiers Memorial.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The South Dakota county with the most historical markers listed in this database is Minnehaha County, with 155 of them. It is followed by Lawrence County with 125 markers. The Sioux Falls area of Minnehaha County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 119. In Lawrence County the area with the most markers, 79, is Deadwood.

Historical Markers in These
South Dakota Counties
155 • Minnehaha County
125 • Lawrence County
72 • Pennington County
44 • Brown County
37 • Stanley County
35 • Codington County
33 • Hughes County
32 • Custer County
31 • Marshall County
30 • Union County
    ... and others ...

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 119 markers in or near it. And Deadwood also shows up again in next place, with 79 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers it’s 57732 at the top of the list with 85 markers in its delivery area. (ZIP Code 57732 is assigned to Deadwood SD including the Pluma, and Roubaix delivery areas.) It is followed closely by ZIP Code 57104 with 77 markers. (57104 is assigned to Sioux Falls SD.)

Historical Markers Near These
South Dakota Cities and Towns
119 • Sioux Falls
79 • Deadwood
36 • Pickstown
34 • Fort Pierre
32 • Lead
32 • Watertown
31 • Pierre
27 • Custer
25 • Mobridge
24 • Rapid City
    ... and others ...

Getting back to Minnehaha County, the first marker added to the database from there, Battleship X, was added December 21, 2008. in Sioux Falls. The last one submitted was uploaded on December 5, 2021, and is titled Foster Children Tragedy and was erected in 2001, near Sioux Falls. The earliest marker erected in Minnehaha County that we have listed was erected in 1926. It was The Old Yankton Trail and Stage Road, found in Sioux Falls on August 29, 2016.

Latest entry from South Dakota. Click to go there
January 8, 2022
Latest Entry from South Dakota
“You Are Entering South Dakota”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Deadwood. The first: Wild Bill, was added January 7, 2010. It had been erected in 1951. The last: Mining & Logging added on October 30, 2021. The earliest marker erected was erected in 1891: J.B.Hickok, added on October 1, 2018.

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 73 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

You’ll find that even the smallest, least populated, or most rural areas of South Dakota have been marked with history. Check out Grant County, Dewey County and Bennett 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 you’ll discover more historical markers while you’re there. If you do, perhaps you’ll take the time to photograph them and, when you get home, become an HMdb correspondent by adding them to the database. Happy Hunting!

Jan. 27, 2022