South Dakota November 01, 2016
The Oldest Town In South Dakota That Everyone Should Visit At Least Once
When thinking about historical towns in South Dakota, places like Deadwood and Custer might come to mind. While these old mining towns are full of history, they haven’t been around the longest. The oldest town in the state actually lies quite a ways away. It is right in the center of South Dakota, and is actually just across the Missouri River from the capital, which shares a very similar name. This town is Fort Pierre, originally a fur trading post, today a charming small town on the river with plenty to see.
Fort Pierre has been around since as early as 1832, but has history before that.
This charming town of 2,078 residents was once only a fort known as Fort Pierre Chouteau, named so after the French fur trader who established it. But much earlier than that in 1743, earlier French explorers had staked out this land and claimed it for France by leaving a metal plate in the ground, which is now on display in the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Museum in Pierre.
The plate has the earliest known recorded date of European settlers in present day South Dakota. Most of them traveled by ways of the Missouri River, which runs in between Fort Pierre and Pierre, and the town is also the site of the confluence between that river and the Bad River.
Today, the town has many shops and historical buildings to visit.
This includes multiple museums, such as the Verendrye Museum, Casey Tibbs Rodeo Museum, and the Buffalo Interpretive Center - all showcasing different parts of South Dakota's rich history.
These museums are great ways to learn more about and experience the history of the state. Each has great collections of historical artifacts and information on different eras.
Outside of historical sites, Fort Pierre is also full of local businesses that make great places to stop by on a day trip. The Silver Spur is a historic saloon transformed into a restaurant you can get a delicious meal at, or you can stop by some of the specialty shops in the downtown area.
Just outside of the town is the Fort Pierre National Grassland, a beautiful patch of South Dakota's prairies.
Fort Pierre really has it all - history, charm, and beautiful scenery. It is a must visit, especially if you are touring the capital.
You can learn more about Fort Pierre and its history at the
City of Fort Pierre website.