“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 22, 2021

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 61 of them have entries in this database. In South Dakota we have discovered historical markers in 154 cities and towns lying in 155 different ZIP Codes.

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There are at least 690 historical markers in South Dakota, by our count. We have cataloged 689 historical markers and 57 war memorials—each individually presented on 740 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another historical marker in South Dakota that we don’t 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 January 8, 2021, and titled In Memory of Hugh Glass. It is in Bison in Perkins County and had been erected in 1939. 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
221 • Settlements and Settlers
109 • Native Americans
107 • Industry and Commerce
63 • Parks and Recreational Areas
51 • Exploration
50 • Man-Made Features
46 • Charity and Public Work
43 • Railroads and Streetcars
40 • Forts or Castles
38 • Notable Buildings
    ... 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—221 of them—than about any other historical topic. It is followed by Native Americans with 109 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 December 16, 2020, and titled Town Hall and Town Pump. It had been erected in 2007 near Iroquois in Kingsbury County. One of the earliest marker erected with the Settlements and Settlers topic that we have listed was erected in 1926. More than one was erected in 1926. This is one of them: Colin Campbell Fur Post, was found near Frederick in Brown County on November 13, 2015.

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 South Shore in Codington County. It is Punished Woman's Lake.

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 94 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, 86, is Sioux Falls.

Historical Markers in These
South Dakota Counties
95 • Lawrence County
94 • Minnehaha County
55 • Pennington County
42 • Brown County
30 • Custer County
30 • Marshall County
29 • Codington County
25 • Hughes County
24 • Stanley County
24 • Walworth 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 86 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 it’s 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 56 markers. (57104 is assigned to Sioux Falls SD.)

Historical Markers Near These
South Dakota Cities and Towns
86 • Sioux Falls
57 • Deadwood
30 • Lead
26 • Watertown
25 • Custer
23 • Pierre
22 • Aberdeen
21 • Fort Pierre
18 • Mobridge
17 • Eden
    ... and others ...

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 Connor Olson, January 8, 2021
Latest Entry from South Dakota
“In Memory of Hugh Glass”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Sioux Falls. The first: Battleship X, was added December 21, 2008. The last: Bronze Propeller added on March 2, 2020. 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 56 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 Charles Mix County, Buffalo 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!

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Jan. 22, 2021