The famous Wild West outlaw, Calamity Jane, lived and worked in South Dakota for a time. She even claimed to have saved the life of legendary gunslinger Wild Bill Hickok in the town of Deadwood.
Potter County, SD is located in the northern part of the state. It was officially established in 1883 and named after the 19th-century Dakota Territory judge and politician, Robert Potter. Prior to European settlement, the area was inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Lakota Sioux.

The first European settlers arrived in Potter County in the late 1870s. They were attracted to the area by the fertile soil and the presence of the Belle Fourche River, which provided a water source for irrigation and agriculture. The pioneers primarily engaged in farming and ranching, as well as small-scale gold mining.

During the early years of its settlement, Potter County faced numerous challenges, including harsh weather conditions, prairie fires, and economic instability. However, the hardworking spirit of the early settlers helped the county grow and thrive. The arrival of the Milwaukee Railroad in 1907 further enhanced transportation and economic opportunities in the region.

In the 20th century, Potter County continued to develop and modernize. The construction of highways and the development of infrastructure facilitated trade and connectivity with neighboring counties and states. Today, Potter County is known for its agricultural industry, which includes crops like corn, soybeans, and wheat, as well as livestock production. The county is also appreciated for its natural beauty, with opportunities for fishing, hunting, and outdoor recreation available to residents and visitors alike.

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

  • 1873 - Potter County is established as part of the Dakota Territory.
  • 1880s - The first farms and ranches are established in the area.
  • 1883 - The town of Gettysburg is founded as the county seat.
  • 1891 - The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad reaches Gettysburg, boosting economic growth.
  • 1897 - Potter County Courthouse is constructed in Gettysburg.
  • 1909 - The town of Hoven is incorporated.
  • 1910s - Agriculture becomes the dominant industry in the county.
  • 1950s - Rural electrification brings modern amenities to Potter County.
  • 1977 - The Oahe Dam is completed, creating Lake Oahe and providing recreational opportunities for the county.
  • 2000 - The population of Potter County reaches its peak at over 2,700 residents.
  • Present - Potter County remains a rural community with a focus on agriculture and outdoor activities.