The Lewis and Clark expedition, which explored much of the western United States in the early 19th century, passed through what is now South Dakota.
Aurora County, South Dakota, has a rich history that dates back to the late 19th century. The county was officially established on February 22, 1881, carved out of territory previously belonging to neighboring counties. It was named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora. The county seat, Plankinton, was named after railroad developer John Plankinton and was chosen due to its central location within the county.

In its early days, Aurora County relied heavily on agriculture for its economy. Settlers were attracted by fertile soils and an abundance of water sources, leading to the establishment of numerous farms and ranches. The arrival of the railroad in Plankinton in the late 1880s further boosted the county's growth and facilitated the transportation of goods.

The early 20th century brought several developments to Aurora County. The construction of highways improved accessibility and connected the county to neighboring areas. The county also saw the establishment of educational institutions, such as Plankinton High School and several rural schools, which played a crucial role in providing education to the local community.

Over the years, Aurora County has continued to evolve and adapt to changing times. From its agricultural roots, the county has diversified its economy to include manufacturing, healthcare, and retail sectors. It remains a close-knit community with a strong sense of pride in its history and a commitment to its residents' well-being. Today, Aurora County offers a blend of rural charm and modern amenities, making it an attractive place to live, work, and raise a family.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Aurora County, South Dakota.

  • 1803: The area that would become Aurora County is included in the Louisiana Purchase
  • 1873: Aurora County is established and named after the natural phenomenon 'Aurora Borealis'
  • 1880: The first post office is established in Aurora County
  • 1882: The Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad is constructed through the county
  • 1883: The county seat is established in Plankinton
  • 1885: The county's first newspaper, "The Aurora County Republican", is published
  • 1890: The population of Aurora County reaches 4,857
  • 1930: The Dust Bowl devastates agriculture in Aurora County
  • 1942: The U.S. Army establishes an airbase in the county during World War II
  • 1956: Aurora County's first hospital, Aurora Plains Hospital, is established in Plankinton
  • 1983: Aurora County celebrates its centennial anniversary with various events and activities
  • 1995: Aurora Mall, the county's first shopping mall, opens in Aurora
  • 2007: The county's population reaches its peak at 3,134 residents
  • 2015: Aurora County celebrates its 142nd anniversary