Historical Markers in
Hanson County, South Dakota

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The Black Hills of South Dakota are considered sacred by many Native American tribes, and were the subject of a long-standing land dispute between the U.S. government and the Sioux Nation.
Hanson County, South Dakota, has a rich and fascinating history that dates back to its establishment in 1873. The county was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Dakota and Yanktonai Sioux, who used the land for hunting and gathering.

The first permanent settlement in what is now Hanson County was established in 1877 when German immigrant families began to settle in the area. They were attracted by the fertile land and the promise of a prosperous agricultural community. These early settlers, along with later arrivals from Scandinavia and other European countries, worked hard to cultivate the land and build thriving communities.

In the early 20th century, Hanson County experienced a boom in population and economic growth. The advent of the railroad in the region brought increased trade and access to markets, enabling local farmers to expand their operations. Towns like Alexandria and Emery flourished, with the construction of schools, churches, and businesses.

The Great Depression of the 1930s had a significant impact on Hanson County, as it did on many rural areas across the country. However, the county managed to recover through the implementation of New Deal programs, such as the Civilian Conservation Corps, which provided jobs and support to the community. Today, Hanson County continues to be primarily agricultural, with a focus on crops like corn, soybeans, and wheat. It is also home to a number of small, tight-knit communities that have preserved their heritage and maintain a strong sense of community spirit.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Hanson County, South Dakota.

  • 1871 - Hanson County is established by the Dakota Territory Legislature.
  • 1880 - The town of Alexandria is founded.
  • 1881 - The first courthouse is constructed in Alexandria.
  • 1890 - The population of Hanson County reaches its peak at 6,428.
  • 1900 - The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway is built through the county.
  • 1904 - The town of Fulton is established.
  • 1909 - The town of Emery is incorporated.
  • 1920 - The town of Farmer is founded.
  • 1930 - The Hanson County Courthouse is constructed in Alexandria.
  • 1955 - The town of Canova is incorporated.
  • 1983 - The Hanson County Historical Society is established.
  • 2006 - Hanson County celebrates its 135th anniversary.