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



Columbia Marker image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, May 15, 2016
1. Columbia Marker

Located at the mouth of Elm River, Columbia has a notable history. Here was the wintering place of Waneta "Cuthead Band"of Yanctonaise Sioux. Here was the site of the scout's camp from which in 1866, Sam J. Brown started his famous "ride in the blizzard" to Ft. Wadsworth. In 1877 Clarence D. Johnson came and built the first house in Brown County 2 1/2 miles SE.

Julia LaFrombois' half-breed script, the first instrument filed of record in Brown County, was the basis for Byron M. Smith and Bottineau to locate a townsite here early in 1879, long before Thomas M. Marshall surveyed the township in August and called the store thereon the Richmond Store. John R. James, Columbia's first postmaster on February 12, 1880 and Don McKenzie ran the "store" for Smith; who envisioned a dam and power site below the Elm, which some Iowa men took over without his leave and in August 1879, when Marshall surveyed, had a 10-foot dam to show for their industry. Governor Ordway appointed Johnson, James and McKenzie the first County Commissioners for Brown County, who promptly organized the county September 14, 1880, and named Columbia county seat. Columbia soon was a thriving town with a steamboat line to LaMoure and the "Nettie Baldwin", hauled overland to Columbia, made regular river trips starting in June 1883.

Columbia Marker image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, May 15, 2016
2. Columbia Marker
deeply craved the county seat and by legislative gerrymandering; frequent elections, several court actions, finally, after 7 years won a legal election and got the coveted prize in July 1887.
Erected 1960 by R.R. Dennert, Fred W. Hatterscheidt and the State Historical Society.
Location. 45° 36.303′ N, 98° 18.651′ W. Marker is in Columbia, South Dakota, in Brown County. Marker can be reached from 396th Avenue. Touch for map. The marker is located in the city park .25 miles south of Columbia. Marker is in this post office area: Columbia SD 57433, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Columbia Marsh (approx. 3.7 miles away); The View from the Top (approx. 8.2 miles away); Sand Lake's Observation Tower (approx. 8.2 miles away); Songbirds (approx. 8.4 miles away); Waterfowl (approx. 8.4 miles away); Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge (approx. 8.4 miles away); Bath, South Dakota (approx. 9.7 miles away); Pioneers with Unknown Grave sites in Westport Cemetery (approx. 9.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Columbia.
Categories. Settlements & Settlers
Credits. This page was last revised on January 23, 2017. This page originally submitted on January 21, 2017, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 496 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 21, 2017, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement We are suspending advertising until they remove an ad for a certain book from circulation. A word in the book’s title has given rise to number of complaints. The word is inappropriate in school classroom settings.