The town of Sturgis, South Dakota hosts the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, one of the largest motorcycle events in the world, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
Hand County, South Dakota is a county situated in the eastern part of the state. Its history can be traced back to the mid-19th century when settlers began to establish homesteads in the area. The county was officially organized in 1874 and was named after George A. Hand, a territorial secretary at the time.

In its early years, the economy of Hand County revolved primarily around agriculture. The fertile soil and favorable climate made it ideal for farming, and settlers quickly began cultivating crops such as wheat, corn, and oats. However, the county faced many challenges, including frequent droughts and grasshopper plagues, which led to economic hardships for the early farmers.

By the late 19th century, the railroad reached Hand County, providing a significant boost to its development. The arrival of the railroad facilitated the transportation of agricultural products to larger markets, greatly improving the economic prospects for farmers. As a result, the population grew steadily, and towns and communities began to flourish.

In the early 20th century, Hand County experienced a period of growth and expansion. The development of modern infrastructure, including roads and schools, further enhanced the quality of life for its residents. The county also saw advancements in technology, with the introduction of electric power and automobiles, making daily life more convenient and efficient.

Today, Hand County continues to rely on agriculture as one of its main industries, with farming and ranching playing a vital role in its economy. The county is also known for its natural beauty, with the James River Valley and numerous lakes providing opportunities for outdoor recreation. Despite its small population, Hand County remains a place with a rich history and a tight-knit community that values its agricultural heritage.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Hand County, South Dakota.

  • 1873 - Hand County is organized as a county in the Dakota Territory.
  • 1880 - The first post office is established in Hand County.
  • 1882 - The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad reaches Hand County.
  • 1883 - The town of Miller is officially platted, becoming the county seat.
  • 1885 - The agricultural industry flourishes in Hand County with the introduction of dryland farming.
  • 1890 - Hand County's population reaches its peak at around 8,000 residents.
  • 1900 - The town of Ree Heights is incorporated in Hand County.
  • 1920 - The population of Hand County decreases due to the impacts of World War I and the Dust Bowl.
  • 1951 - The Hand County Historical Society is established to preserve the county's history.
  • 1975 - The Hand County Centennial celebration takes place, marking 100 years since the county's establishment.
  • 2000 - Hand County experiences a slight population growth, reversing a long-standing trend of decline.
  • 2010 - Hand County celebrates its 140th anniversary since its formation.