Times can be tough today, but our problems are nothing compared to what people faced about a century ago. 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 the 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. Take a look at the following photos of the 1930s Dust Bowl in South Dakota to see a glimpse of just how trying these years were.

Check out this footage from USA Today of a modern-day South Dakota dust storm if you’re having trouble envisioning what this would look like in person:

Do you have any family stories about the South Dakota dust storms? We’d love to hear them in the comments!

Our state’s history is undeniably fascinating. For proof of this, here are some of the oldest photos ever taken in South Dakota.

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south dakota dust storm

What are the most interesting historical sites in South Dakota?

The following are some of the most interesting historical sites in South Dakota:

  • Bear Butte in Meade County was designated as a state park in 1961. This destination holds spiritual significance for the Plains Indian tribes. In fact, there have been artifacts found here that date back 10,000 years. When you visit, you can look forward to learning about the history of the area as well as hiking, fishing, camping, and horseback riding.
  • The Deadwood Historic District in Lawrence County will make you feel like you've traveled back in time the moment you set foot in this historic region. Back in the day, saloons and gambling houses were common.
  • Blood Run Site
  • Wounded Knee National Historic Landmark
  • Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Crazy Horse Memorial
  • USS South Dakota Battleship Memorial
  • Jewel Cave National Monument.


How many of these famous historic sites in South Dakota have you experienced?

Where can I go in South Dakota that only the locals know about?

Some of the places you can go in South Dakota that only locals know about include:

  • Good Earth State Park
  • McCrory Gardens
  • Hidden Hill Lodge
  • Sage Creek Wilderness Area
  • Minuteman Missle Historical Site
  • PaleoAdventures
  • Terrace Park
  • Little Elk Cottage
  • Palisades State Park.


Learn more about these hidden gems in South Dakota that you're sure to love!


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