No one knows when the first people came to live on the land that now comprises Minnehaha County, but native Woodland and Oneota peoples were here over 1000 years ago. The Big Sioux River which flows south through the county, appears on maps in Paris in 1702. The Sioux Indians arrived soon thereafter and have lived in the area for over 250 years.
The area has had a colorful history. Indian country claimed by the French was ceded to Spain in 1762 and back to France in 1800. When Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana Territory in 1892, Minnehaha County was part of that purchase. As part of the United States, the area was successively under eight territorial flags: Louisiana, Indiana, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota and finally Dakota Territory, organized in 1861. Minnehaha County was created by the Territorial Legislature in 1862.
The county, currently 24 miles north and south by 34 miles east & west had much of its surface formed by the Late Wisconsin Glacier, about 10,000 years ago. The falls of the Big Sioux River, its most notable feature, were formed from the Precambrian
The first European known with certainty to have visited the falls was Philander Prescott in 1832. He was likely preceded and followed by a succession of explorers, trappers and traders until the oxcarts & covered wagons of the first permanent settlers arrived in 1856. The arrival of the first railroad in 1878 opened Minnehaha County to rapid growth. A turbulent era followed, marked by severe natural disasters, including floods, droughts, blizzards, and grasshopper plagues. South Dakota became a state in 1889. Gradually sod homes evolved into prosperous farmsteads by the end of World War I in 1918.
Like the rest of the nation, Minnehaha County was
transformed by World War II. An important Army Air Force
Technical School was established at Sioux Falls. Two
interstate highways crossed the county, a large regional
airport developed, and new technology transformed agriculture.
Sioux Falls is frequently cited as one of the nation’s
most attractive places to live, with Minnehaha County
sharing the honors.
Erected 1998 by The South Dakota Historical Society The Minnehaha Century Fund and South Dakota Department of Transportation.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Agriculture
Location. 43° 36.612′ N, 96° 27.68′ W. Marker is near Valley Springs, South Dakota, in Minnehaha County. Marker is on Interstate 90, on the right when traveling west. Marker is at the Valley Springs Information Center near the Minnesota / South Dakota state line. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Valley Springs SD 57068, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 7 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. 1908 Palisades Bridge (approx. 6.2 miles away); Ben Clare (approx. 7.3 miles away); Tri-State Marker (approx. 7.6 miles away); Garretson (approx. 7.8 miles away); Festival of Progress (approx. 8 miles away); The City of East Sioux Falls (approx. 9.4 miles away); Arrowhead Park (approx. 9.6 miles away).
Credits. This page was last revised on September 2, 2016. It was originally submitted on September 1, 2016, by Rev. Ronald Irick of West Liberty, Ohio. This page has been viewed 323 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 1, 2016, by Rev. Ronald Irick of West Liberty, Ohio. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.