South Dakota Historic Sites

South Dakota Historic Sites

Visit these places to walk in your South Dakota ancestors' footsteps.

Crazy Horse Memorial
12151 Ave. of the Chiefs
Crazy Horse, SD 57730
(605) 673-4681
<www.crazyhorse.org>

Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski created this memorial, the world’s largest mountain sculpture-in-progress. It includes the Indian Museum of North America, the Native American Educational and Cultural Center, and the sculptor’s log-home studio.
 

Dacotah Prairie Museum
21 S. Main St.
Aberdeen, SD 57402
(605) 626-7117
<www.dacotahprairiemuseum.com>
Experience what life was like for the American Indians and early pioneers, and learn how the railroads affected the early settlers.

 
Historic Deadwood

Deadwood, SD 57732
(800) 999-1876
<www.deadwood.org>
Visit the original “Boot Hill,” see the saloon where “Wild Bill” Hickok was shot and discover the inspiration for the HBO TV series. You can pan for gold in the Broken Book Mine and test your luck in gaming rooms dating to the 1876 gold rush.

 
Ingalls Homestead

20812 Homestead Road
De Smet, SD 57231
(800) 776-3594
<www.ingallshomestead.com>
Charles Ingalls claimed this quarter section in 1880, and Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote many of her Little House stories about life here. Visitors can experience a covered-wagon ride, see a typical dugout home and step inside a prairie school.

 
The Journey Museum

222 New York St.
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 394-6923
<www.journeymuseum.org>
This museum houses both the Sioux Indian Museum and Minnilusa Pioneer Museum, where guests can see Sioux artifacts and learn about the history of the western Great Plains.

 
Mount Rushmore National Memorial

13000 Highway 244, Building 31, Suite 1
Keystone, SD 57751
(605) 574-2523
<nps.gov/moru>
Gutzon Borglum’s granite faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt attract more than 2 million visitors annually. Take a guided tour along the Presidential Trail to the memorial’s base, where a park ranger will explain why these four presidents were selected for the carving.

 
National Music Museum

The University of South Dakota
414 E. Clark St.
Vermillion, SD 57069
(605) 677-5306
<www.usd.edu/smm>
This “Landmark of American Music” showcases more than 13,500 American, European and non-Western instruments from many cultures, dating mainly from the 16th century to the present day. 

 
Old Courthouse Museum

Sixth Street and Main Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD 57104
(605) 367-4210
<www.siouxlandmuseums.com/museums/exhibits/old_courthouse_museum.asp>
This restored 1800s quartzite building boasts three floors of regional history exhibits. Tour the building’s courtroom and law library, and view its hall murals.

 
Pettigrew Home and Museum

Eighth Street and North Duluth Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD 57104
(605) 367-7097
<www.siouxlandmuseums.com/museums/exhibits/pettigrew_museum.asp>

The 1889 Queen Anne-style home of South Dakota’s first senator, Richard Pettigrew, now re-creates the Sioux Falls of the late 1800s to 1920s.
 
Visitor Information
• South Dakota Office of Tourism
Capitol Lake Plaza
711 East Wells Ave.
c/o 500 E. Capitol Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501
(800) 732-5682
<www.travelsd.com>
 
 

Timeline
ca. 500-1000 Native mound builders live along the Big Sioux River
1743 At the site of Fort Pierre, Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de La Vérendrye claims Missouri Valley for France
1804 Lewis and Clark reach South Dakota
1849 Present-day South Dakota becomes part of the new Minnesota Territory
1861 Dakota Territory is created
1863 First Homestead Act claim in South Dakota is filed
1874 Gen. George Custer finds gold in the Black Hills
1876 Wild Bill Hickok is shot while playing poker in Deadwood saloon
1877-1879 President Ulysses S. Grant temporarily closes land for settlement
1880 Laura Ingalls Wilder’s family files homestead claim in De Smet
1904 Pierre becomes the state’s capital
1941 Mount Rushmore is completed
1948 Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski begins Crazy Horse Memorial
1972 Sen. George McGovern wins presidential nomination
1981 South Dakota native Tom Brokaw begins anchoring “NBC Nightly News”

From the January 2009 Family Tree Magazine

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