locater map
Hubert Humphrey
"Behind every successful man is a proud wife and a surprised mother-in-law."
Vice President
Hubert Humphrey
"It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped."
Vice President
George Washington
"I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an Honest Man."
Hubert Humphrey
"The impersonal hand of government can never replace the helping hand of a neighbor."
Vice President
Hubert Humphrey
"Each child is an adventure into a better life - an opportunity to change the old pattern and make it new."
Vice President
Hubert Humphrey
"What we need are critical lovers of America - patriots who express their faith in their country by working to improve it."
Vice President
Abigale Adams
"A true American Patriot must be a religious man... He who neglects his duty to his Maker, may well be expected to be deficient and insincere in his duty towards the public."

1776 - President John Adams' wife

First Lady
James Monroe
"The liberty, prosperity, and the happiness of our country will always be the object of my most fervent prayers to the Supreme Author of All Good." 

March 5, 1821

South Dakota

Entered the Union: November 2, 1889 (40) Capital: Pierre
Origin of Name: from Sioux Indian, meaning “allies” or "friends"
State Nicknames: Mt. Rushmore State • Coyote State
State Motto: Under God the people rule State Tree: Black Hills Spruce
State Bird: Ringneck Pheasant State Flower: Pasque Flower
State Jewelry: Black Hills Gold State Animal: Coyote
State Gem Stone: Fairburn Agate State Insect: Honey Bee
State Song: “Hail! South Dakota" State Sport: Rodeo
Famous For: Mt. Rushmore • Black Hills Gold
National Forests: 4 • State Parks: 12 • Recreational Areas: 45
Famous South Dakotans: Sparky Anderson (baseball), Tom Brokaw (TV newscaster), Crazy Horse (Oglala chief), Hubert Humphrey (vice president), Cheryl Ladd (actress), Red Cloud (Oglala Sioux chief), Sitting Bull (Hunkpappa Sioux chief), Norm Van Brocklin (football)
Animals and Birds: Click on photos of the animals and birds (and tipis) on this page to find out more about them and to hear the sounds they make.
State Fair: Huron
prairie dogs
wild horses
Indian tipis
mountain goat
South Dakota National Forests
South Dakota State Parks
South Dakota Historic Sites
South Dakota Attractions
Mt. Rushmore
Fishing in South Dakota
Hunting in South Dakota
South Dakota Homeschooling
Listen to RingNeck Pheasant's Song
South Dakota Photo Gallery 2
South Dakota Butterfly Gallery
South Dakota Wildlife & Birds
South Dakota Resorts
South Dakota RV Parks
South Dakota Hotels & Reviews
Arikara people lived in South Dakota during the 1500s. Throughout the early 1700s, Sioux and Cheyenne moved into the area. By the 1800s, only the Sioux remained; they had forced all other tribes from South Dakota.
Exploration of the Dakotas began in 1743 by French explorers Louis-Joseph and François Verendrye who were in search of a route to the Pacific. The U.S. acquired the region as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Fort Pierre, the first permanent settlement, was established in 1817. Settlement of South Dakota did not begin in earnest until the arrival of the railroad in 1873 and the discovery of gold in the Black Hills in 1874.
The Black Hills are the highest mountains east of the Rockies. Mt. Rushmore, in this group, is famous for the carvings of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt by Gutzon Borglum. A memorial to Crazy Horse is also being carved in granite near Custer.
Drilling began on the four faces of Mount Rushmore National Memorial in 1927 by Sculptor Gutzon Borglum. Towering 6,200 feet, the faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln are scaled to men who would stand 465 feet tall. Creation of the Shrine to Democracy took 14 years and cost $1 million, though it's now deemed priceless.
The Sioux/Dacotah Indian greeting, "How Kola!" means "Hello, Friend."
The famous Black Hills Passion Play is held annually in a natural amphitheater near Spearfish.
Lead is home to The Homestake Mine, the largest gold mine in the United States. It opened in 1876, making it the oldest continually operating gold mine in the world. It produces about 15% of the nation’s gold and still has huge reserves.
The Badlands of South Dakota, a region of barren ravines and cliffs, were created by volcanic action as well as by wind and water erosion.
The Badlands are known as “the playground” of the dinosaur. The Badlands National Park has fossils including a dog-sized camel, three-toed horse, and saber-toothed cat.
The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs contains the largest concentration of Columbian and woolly mammoth bones discovered in their primary context (where they died) in the world!
Lemmon has the world's largest petrified wood park.
Several Hadrosaur, Edmontosaurus annectens were excavated on a ranch north of Faith and one of the largest, most complete, and best preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex was excavated nearby.
Built in 1832 by John Jacob Astor's American Fur Company, Fort Pierre Chouteau was the largest and best equipped trading post in the northern Great Plains.
Clark is the Potato Capital of South Dakota. It is also the home of a Mashed Potato Wrestling contest.
The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary is the home of 300 wild mustangs, where they run free on several thousand scenic acres.
Jewel Cave (in the Black Hills) is the fourth largest cave in the world, with 57.4 miles of surveyed and mapped passages.
Belle Fourche is the geographical center of the United States of America, designated in 1959 and noted by an official marker and sheepherder's monument called a "Stone Johnnie".
Wild Bill Hickok was killed in Deadwood, South Dakota in 1876.
South Dakota is a leader in honey production.
Mitchell, South Dakota is the home of the world's only Corn Palace, built with 3,500 bushels of ear corn.
The Pioneer Auto Museum in Murdo details more than 250 rare automobiles including the Tucker and Edsel.
The Flaming Fountain on South Dakota State Capitol Lake is fed by an artesian well with natural gas content so high that it can be lit. The fountain glows perpetually as a memorial to all veterans.
The largest buffalo herd in the U.S. lives at the Standing Butte Ranch near Pierre.
In 1900, a huge Prairie Dog settlement, 100 miles by 250 miles, was found containing an estimated 400 million Prairie Dogs!
The Silent Guide Monument in Philip was built in the late 1800s by a sheepherder to mark a waterhole that never went dry. Made of flat stones, the guide originally stood fourteen feet high, and could be seen as far as thirty five miles away.
South Dakota Ethnic Roots: German 40.7%, Norwegian 15.3%, Irish 10.4%, Native American 8.3%, English 7.1%.
South Dakota has one of the largest Native American populations, with nine official tribes (approx. 60,000 people).
Religion in South Dakota:
91% Christian (65% Protestant, 25% Catholic, 1% Other), 8% No Religion, 1% Other Religions
According to legend, the origin of Black Hills Gold was inspired by goldsmith Heri LeBeau of Paris, France. During the 1849 Gold Rush days, he decided to go to California and make his fortune. When he reached the rugged Black Hills of South Dakota, he became hopelessly lost in the wilderness. He wandered for days without food or water. By some miracle he had a vision of running water with grape leaves floating in a stream from a nearby vineyard. The vision was real and his life was saved.

Henri stayed in the Black Hills where he continued his craft. Influenced by his mystical experience, the jewelry he created took the shape of grape clusters and leaves, fashioned in rose, green and yellow gold.
Thanksgiving Day
Thanksgiving - Thanking God for His blessings
Thanksgiving Day November 28, 2024
In 1621, 52 Pilgrims and approx. 50 Native Americans celebrated a 3-day feast thanking God for His blessings enabling their survival in the New World. Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November.
December 1, 2024
Advent begins 4 weeks before Christmas and remembers the longing and waiting of God's people for the coming of the Messiah.
Bill of Rights Day

Bill of Rights Day

December 15, 1791
Bill of Rights Day

Celebrating the 10 amendments to the Constitution which protect individual rights by placing specific limits on government power. These freedoms do not exist in many countries of the world.
Christmas Day
Christmas Day
December 25th Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World. This joyous festival is enjoyed by Christians and nonChristians alike all over the world.