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

South Dakota Central

South Dakota Central Marker <i>(Side one)</i> image. Click for full size.
November 26, 2021
1. South Dakota Central Marker (Side one)
Inscription.  Following the establishment of the 1897 Taopi Creamery at the future townsite of Colton, discussions began about the need for a farm-to-market railroad. Paul F. Sherman of Sioux Falls and John E. Colton, village founder, spearheaded a movement to build a new railroad from Sioux Falls to Colton and on to Madison. In April 1902 the Sioux Falls to Madison Railway was incorporated. Because it was unable to acquire adequate funding, four months later a second corporation, the Sioux Falls and Manitoba Railway, was created. Its purpose also was to build a railroad between Sioux Falls and Madison by way of Colton. Surveys were completed from Sioux Falls to the Lake County line; however, the new company neither graded rights-of-way nor laid ties and steel rails.

Two years later in April 1904, a third company started. Stockholders each purchased $16,000 shares of stock, and with capital of $160,000, the South Dakota Land Company began laying track in May 1904. Investors intended to build the new South Dakota Central Railway (SDC) and hoped to sell the line to a major railroad company for a handsome profit.

The first line of railway
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track ran from Sioux Falls to the newly formed villages of Crooks and Lyons. Skunk Creek was bridged, and the right-of-way continued up a steep grade to Colton, a total distance of about 20 miles. Company offices were located in Sioux Falls, and the Illinois Central Railroad depot was used for all Sioux Falls passenger train departures and arrivals.

In late summer 1904 the SDC owners were startled to learn that the giant Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway (Milwaukee Road) was surveying a line from Madison to Sioux Falls. Inevitable future competition from the Milwaukee Road dashed the hopes of the SDC investors for a quick, profitable sale of the young railroad. Instead management was spurred to seek an alternate route. The railway track was extended to Chester, Wentworth, Rutland, and Nunda and reached Watertown in 1907.

Undercapitalized and heavily in debt, the SDC struggled financially until it entered receivership in 1916. It was eventually acquired by the Great Northern. In 1970 the original SDC short line became part of the Burlington Northern & Santa Fe.

The competing Milwaukee line linked Renner, Colton, and Madison in 1907. It, too, eventually suffered the same fate as the SDC. Bankruptcy Court receivers began abandoning track in 1935, and in 1942 the Milwaukee Road from Madison to Sioux Falls ceased to exist.
South Dakota Central Marker <i>(Side two)</i> image. Click for full size.
November 26, 2021
2. South Dakota Central Marker (Side two)
2005 by the Minnehaha County Historical Society.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Railroads & Streetcars. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1902.
Location. 43° 47.227′ N, 96° 55.75′ W. Marker is in Colton, South Dakota, in Minnehaha County. Marker is at the intersection of East 4th Street and South Charles Avenue, on the right when traveling west on East 4th Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 200 E 4th St, Colton SD 57018, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Colton Public Schools (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); John Edmund Colton / Founding of Colton (approx. 0.2 miles away); Taopi (approx. 3.1 miles away); Huntimer (approx. 3.2 miles away); Willow Creek Lutheran Church (approx. 5.9 miles away); Hartman, 1899-1916 (approx. 7.1 miles away); To God Be The Glory! (approx. 9 miles away); Old Nidaros Church Replica (approx. 9.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Colton.
South Dakota Central Marker image. Click for full size.
November 26, 2021
3. South Dakota Central Marker
South Dakota Central Marker image. Click for full size.
November 26, 2021
4. South Dakota Central Marker
Credits. This page was last revised on November 29, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 27, 2021. This page has been viewed 134 times since then and 54 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 27, 2021. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.

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Dec. 2, 2023