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These 9 Photos From South Dakota’s Dust Bowl Will Break Your Heart

They called it the Dust Bowl and the Dirty Thirties, and it was a hard, hard time to be alive in South Dakota.

As the economy started to fail in the late 1920s, South Dakota farmers tried to compensate for low crop prices by planting more. The overworked land quickly became stressed and the soil lacked the nutrients needed to grow plants. Then drought hit the state, bringing with it harsh winds and dust storms. From the early 1930s to the early ’40s, South Dakotans struggled with one of the worst crises we had ever faced. While our state certainly wasn’t the only place affected by the terrible drought and dust storms, it’s a part of our history that those who lived through it will never forget.

Do you have family stories about South Dakota’s Dust Bowl? We’d love to hear them in the comments!

Our state’s history is fascinating! Here are some of the oldest photos ever taken in South Dakota.

Catherine Armstrong
Catherine is a lifelong resident of Utah. She's a writer, researcher and observer of the human condition.