South Dakota February 09, 2019
7 Horrifying South Dakota Stories You Didn’t Learn About In History Class
If you grew up in the Mount Rushmore State, you may think you know all there is to know about the history of South Dakota… but do you really? Sure, you know all there is to know about Lewis & Clark, Gutzon Borglum, and the real Crazy Horse, but you may be surprised to hear these 7 dark stories about the state’s past:
1. Our seemingly wholesome and family-friendly state was once considered the divorce capital of the country.
While the rest of early 20th century America only granted a divorce on the grounds of adultery, Sioux Falls allowed it for 6 different issues and granted them to anyone who had resided in the city for more than 3 months. (Both Sioux Falls and crumbling marriages were both so popular during this time that between 1889 and 1909, a whopping 6,000 divorces were granted!)
2. The Schoolhouse Blizzard of 1888.
One of the biggest of natural-caused tragedies in state history is the schoolhouse blizzard of 1888 when snowy and frigid conditions came out of nowhere and caught thousands of Midwesterners off guard. Sadly, due to the blowing winds and temperatures of -20, 275 men, women, and children died.
3. Wounded Knee Massacre.
Obviously, this one was in your history books, but it is still worth noting as it is one of the most gruesome times in recorded state history. To recap, in 1890, the 7th Cavalry killed more than 300 Lakota men, women, and children while relocated them from their land to the Pine Ridge reservation.
4. Sica Hollow.
According to Native American legend, Sica Hollow has always been plagued by the paranormal, due to both the water turning red with blood and a mysterious creature roaming the area. In the later 20th century, these macabre legends began to resurface, as a handful of people in the area went missing without a trace.
5. Great Dakota Bust.
The Great Depression was not the start of hard financial times for SoDak; in fact, the state had it just as bad between 1889 and 1897, when a drought left the economy dry and the number of new settlers began to dwindle.
6. The railroad industry continues to dwindle.
Aside from mining, the railroad was once a huge part of the South Dakota economy, so when The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific; and Chicago & NorthWestern Railroads pulled out of the state in the early 1980s, it left behind unemployment and a bruised agricultural scene that relied heavily on the railroad.
7. Spirit Mount Historic Prairie.
You have heard of Spirit Mound and have maybe even visited, but have you heard the story of its dark past? Nicknamed the "The Hill of the Little Devils" by 18th century Native Americans, the hill was thought to have been inhabited by little people who had small, magical arrows that killed hundreds.
For even more SoDak history, check out
This Is The Oldest Place You Can Possibly Go In South Dakota And Its History Will Fascinate You.