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.

We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now: https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/nominate/

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.