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Sturgis in Meade County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Born of Opportunity

The Story of our History

 
 
Born of Opportunity Marker image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, April 24, 2021
1. Born of Opportunity Marker
Inscription.   Sturgis City, as it was originally called, was laid out by Major Jeremiah Wilcox on August 16, 1878. it was positioned to take advantage of the recently established site of Fort Meade, 1.5 miles to the east, and named for the commander of that post, General Samuel D. Sturgis. Just as Fort Meade replaced the temporary Camp J.G. Sturgis, near Bear Butte, Sturgis city replaced the temporary tent-town of "vendors" which had set up to scoop the pay of the soldiers, and had been nicknamed "Scooptown". Those "vendors" quickly relocated to the confines of the new town of Sturgis city, bringing along the nickname of "Scooptown".

The location of Sturgis, at a natural crossroads of most of the major trails coming into the Black Hills, and a jumping off point for both the mining interests in the hills and the agricultural lands on the plains, allowed the town to thrive.

Early Sturgis was a very rough-and-tumble town, featuring saloons, dance halls, and other distractions for the soldiers of Fort Meade. The first years of Sturgis were beset with shootings, murders, vigilante justice, and even a murderous, armed invasion by some

Born of Opportunity Marker image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, April 24, 2021
2. Born of Opportunity Marker
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of the soldiers from the post. At one point the Deadwood paper referred to Sturgis as the "Wickedest Town in the West".

Sturgis saw strong, stead growth through the early years, avoiding the "boom and bust" cycles of many of its neighbors. The town itself was home to a sturdy business-class, which quickly developed a core of respectable residents, who built churches, schools, fraternal organizations, and a solid Victorian society, separate from the hurly-burly of Main Street.

It took Sturgis some time to separate itself from the activity and reputation of "Scooptown", but, eventually, the town settled down and became the thriving and active city we know today, embracing the history and reputation of "Scooptown" along the way.
 
Erected by Nolin Monument Committee and Homeslice Group.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical date for this entry is August 16, 1878.
 
Location. 44° 24.122′ N, 103° 30.541′ W. Marker is in Sturgis, South Dakota, in Meade County. Marker is at the intersection of Junction Avenue and Harmon Street on Junction Avenue. Located near the Sturgis Regional Hospital. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2140 Junction Ave, Sturgis SD 57785, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies

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. The Peace Keeping Post (here, next to this marker); The Fate of the Mail Carrier (a few steps from this marker); Broken Promises (a few steps from this marker); Charles Nolin (a few steps from this marker); Charles Nolin, Pony Mail Carrier (a few steps from this marker); Treaties are formed (a few steps from this marker); Civilian Conservation Corps Camps (approx. 1˝ miles away); Bear Butte (Mato Paha) Indian Camp (approx. 1˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sturgis.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 30, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 28, 2021, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 33 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 28, 2021, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 18, 2021