National Register Listing in
Bennett County, South Dakota

South Dakota is the only state in the U.S. that has never had an earthquake.
Bennett County, South Dakota, is situated in the southern part of the state and shares its borders with the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The county was named after John E. Bennett, a prominent legislator and lawyer in the late 19th century.

The area that is now Bennett County was first inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Lakota Sioux. In the mid-19th century, the United States government forced many Native Americans to relocate to reservations, and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation was established within Bennett County in 1889.

Bennett County itself was officially established in 1909, after being carved out of the neighboring Shannon County. The county seat is Martin, a small town located on the eastern edge of the Pine Ridge Reservation. Martin became the county seat due to its central location within the newly formed county.

Throughout its history, Bennett County has predominantly been an agricultural area, with ranching and farming being the main economic activities. The vast prairie lands in the county provide ample grazing for cattle and other livestock, while crops such as corn, wheat, and soybeans are cultivated.

Today, the county continues to preserve its rich Native American heritage, with many residents having strong ties to the Lakota Sioux tribe. Bennett County also offers opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hunting, fishing, and hiking in nearby areas like the Badlands National Park.

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

  • 1909: Bennett County is founded and named after John E. Bennett.
  • Early 1900s: The area is primarily inhabited by Lakota Sioux Native Americans.
  • 1911: Martin becomes the county seat.
  • 1930s: The Great Depression hits Bennett County hard, causing economic hardship.
  • 1940s: Bennett County experiences a rise in population due to the construction of an airbase.
  • 1951: The airbase is closed, resulting in a decline in population.
  • 1973: The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is established within Bennett County.
  • 1990s: Bennett County focuses on agricultural development and diversification.
  • Present: Bennett County continues to thrive as a rural community in South Dakota.