Random South Dakota Facts
Random South Dakota Facts

23 Beautiful South Dakota Facts

Karin Lehnardt
By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published November 27, 2023
  • Only 13,646 people live in Pierre, South Dakota. It is the second smallest state capital, after Montpelier, Vermont.[4]
  • In the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the French sold the land that included South Dakota to the United States.[4]
  • North and South Dakota both became states simultaneously on November 2, 1889. President Benjamin Harrison shuffled the statehood papers before signing them so that no one would know which state entered into the Union first.[11]
  • Mitchell, South Dakota, is home to the only corn palace in the world. Annually, over 500,000 tourists visit from around the world to see its corn murals.[7]
  • Sturgis, South Dakota, is home to the largest motorcycle gathering in the world.[12]
  • Interesting South Dakota Fact and History
    A 10-day event, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally draws in over 700,000 people and generates over $800 million in annual revenue

  • South Dakota's Jewel Cave is the third largest cave in the world.[6]
  • Clark, South Dakota, is home to the annual mashed potato wrestling contest. The event also features a best-decorated potato contest.[10]
  • The world's largest mountain carving is the Crazy Horse Memorial. The massive statue is 641 feet long and 563 high and hosts over 1 million tourists annually.[4]
  • Petrified Wood Park in Lemmon, South Dakota, is the world's largest petrified wood park.[2]
  • The entire city of Deadwood, South Dakota, is a national historical landmark district. Known for its gold rush history, Deadwood was also home to Wild West figures like Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane.[3]
  • The name "Black Hills" is from the Lakota words Paha Sapa, meaning "hills that are black." Ponderosa pine forests make the hills appear black from a distance.[1]
  • South Dakota Black Hills Fact
    For the Sioux, the Black Hills are sacred. The hills are considered to be the womb of Mother Earth and the location of vision quests, burials, and ceremonies

  • The word "Dakota" is the Sioux word for "allies" or "friends."[4]
  • The prairie rattlesnake is the only venomous snake native to South Dakota.[9]
  • "Sue," the famous T-rex, was found near Faith, South Dakota. It is the largest and most complete T-rex fossil ever found.[4]
  • The world's largest pheasant statue is located in Huron, South Dakota. From its beak to its tail, it spans over 40 feet and weighs over 22 tons.[13]
  • Take me back to the Black Hills
    The Black Hills of Dakota
    To the beautiful Indian country 
    That I love

    - Calamity Jane

  • With its many rivers and lakes, such as the Missouri, Cheyenne, James, Grande, and Moreau rivers, South Dakota has more shoreline than Florida.[4]
  • South Dakota's Black Elk Peak (Harney Peak) is the highest summit east of the Rockies, at 7, 242 feet above sea level.[4]
  • Famous people from South Dakota include January Jones, Cheryl Ladd, Tom Brokaw, Crazy Horse, and L. Frank Baum.[5]
  • South Dakota's Wind Cave is densest cave system in the world.[4]
  • Mount Rushmore South Dakota Facts
    Mount Rushmore is named after a New York lawyer, Charles E. Rushmore, who traveled there to inspect mining claims
  • The four heads on South Dakota's Mount Rushmore represent the first 150 years of America's founding: Washington represents the country's founding; Jefferson represents the country's expansion; Roosevelt represents global power, and Lincoln represents preservation.[8]
  • The name "Badlands" comes from the Lakota, who called the area "mako sica," or "land that is bad." This is probably due to lack of water, extreme temperatures, and difficult terrain. Badlands National Park was once occupied by the Oglala Sioux, when it was reservation spanning the southwestern part of South Dakota.[4]
  • The population of South Dakota is less than one million people, but it's the 19th largest state by area in the United States.[11]
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder's daughter, Rose, was born in South Dakota.[5]

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