“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Chamberlain in Brule County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)



Chamberlain Marker image. Click for full size.
October 18, 2021
1. Chamberlain Marker
Inscription.  Named for Selah Chamberlain, a Milwaukee RR official, the site was scene of an encounter between Jean Baptiste Trudeau and the Teton Sioux in 1794 and when Samuel H. Morrow surveyed the area, in November of 1868, he found a ranch on American Creek on the townsite but did not name the rancher.

The Milwaukee at Marion Junction and the Northwestern at Volga in the fall of 1879 stockpiled materials all winter for the race for the Missouri in the spring; it not being known then whether the Milwaukee would come down American Creek or go to Brule City 17 miles downriver, the county seat. The townsite survey was completed October 27, 1880, after John Lawler acquired title on some Civil War script and Henry Pilger who had moved in earlier in 1880 got the first choice of lots when the plat was filed, Lot 1 Block 3, on Main Street 200 yards from American Creek where he built a shanty and fed the newcomers. The winter of 1880-81 was a fearful one, deep snow and floods and the RR construction of 1880 was largely destroyed; the railroad reaching Chamberlain in 1882 and in the meanwhile it had been built up via the river with the C. K. Peck, steamer
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bringing in most of the material for Chamberlain’s first buildings.

Chamberlain for 24 years was the railhead for the richly grassed White River Valley to the west and its vast herds of cattle and also for the Crow Creek and Lower Brule Reservations upriver. It beat out Brule City for county seat in the Nov. 8, 1881 election and has been the seat of an Indian School since 1897. It was the last steamboat town in South Dakota.
Erected 1956 by Northwest Security National Bank and State Highway Commission. (Marker Number 169.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the South Dakota State Historical Society Markers series list. A significant historical date for this entry is October 27, 1880.
Location. 43° 48.874′ N, 99° 19.685′ W. Marker is in Chamberlain, South Dakota, in Brule County. Marker is at the intersection of North Main Street (State Highway 50) and Rodeo Avenue, on the left when traveling north on North Main Street. The marker is located in the northeast corner of Barger Park in Chamberlain. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 335-347 N Courtland Street, Chamberlain SD 57325, 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. This was until 1953 American Island (approx. 1.4 miles away); Missouri River Bridges of South Dakota
Chamberlain Marker, from the north image. Click for full size.
October 18, 2021
2. Chamberlain Marker, from the north
(approx. 2 miles away); Lewis and Clark Bicentennial 1804-2004 (approx. 2 miles away); Dignity (approx. 2 miles away); The Making & Meaning of Dignity (approx. 2 miles away); Lewis & Clark Memorial Bridge at Chamberlain (approx. 2 miles away); Sojourn at Camp Pleasant (approx. 2 miles away); Purple Heart Memorial Highway (approx. 2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Chamberlain.
Chamberlain Marker, from the south image. Click for full size.
October 18, 2021
3. Chamberlain Marker, from the south
American Creek can be seen in the background.
American Creek, nearby view image. Click for full size.
October 18, 2021
4. American Creek, nearby view
Credits. This page was last revised on October 26, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 25, 2021. This page has been viewed 471 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 25, 2021. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 25, 2024