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.
Sanborn County, South Dakota, has a rich history that stretches back to the late 1800s. The county was officially established in 1883, named after Governor J.W. Sanborn. Early settlers were attracted to the area due to the fertile soil and the promise of agricultural opportunities. Homesteaders started arriving and building their farms, contributing to the county's rapid growth.

In the early years, Sanborn County faced many challenges as settlers adapted to the harsh prairie climate. Lack of water and extreme weather conditions made farming difficult. However, advancements in irrigation technology and the construction of dams and reservoirs helped to alleviate these challenges over time. As a result, agriculture became the predominant industry in the county, with farmers cultivating crops such as corn, wheat, and soybeans.

The county's population steadily increased, driven by a combination of natural growth and immigration. Numerous communities were established, including Woonsocket, the county seat, as well as Artesian and Forestburg. These towns became hubs of activity, offering various services and amenities to local residents. Today, the county continues to prioritize the development of its rural communities by investing in infrastructure and attracting new businesses.

Sanborn County is proud of its strong sense of community and its commitment to preserving its rural heritage. The county hosts an annual fair, showcasing agricultural products and offering a range of family-friendly activities. This tradition highlights the importance of agriculture as a cornerstone of the county's economy and underscores its role in shaping the identity of Sanborn County over the years.

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

  • 1873 - Sanborn County, SD is established
  • 1880 - First post office is established in Woonsocket
  • 1882 - Sanborn County Courthouse is built in Woonsocket
  • 1883 - Milwaukee Railroad reaches Sanborn County
  • 1885 - Woonsocket is incorporated as a town
  • 1895 - Forestburg is incorporated as a town
  • 1905 - Artesian is incorporated as a town
  • 1915 - Letcher is incorporated as a town
  • 1920 - Artesian State Bank is established in Artesian
  • 1930 - Population of Sanborn County reaches its peak at around 7,000 residents
  • 1940 - Construction of Mitchell-Worthmore Airport is completed
  • 1955 - Woonsocket High School is built
  • 1960 - Forestburg Consolidated School is built
  • 1970 - Artesian Volunteer Fire Department is established
  • 1995 - Agropur Cheese Factory begins production in Woonsocket
  • 2005 - Sanborn County celebrates its 132nd anniversary