South Dakota’s Major Cities Looked So Different In The 1800s. Watertown Especially.

The times are always changing, and not everything is the same as it used to be. In the late 1800s and the very early 1900s, South Dakota was just transitioning from being part of the big Dakota Territory into its own state. Throughout the gold and land rush, the stagecoach trails to the railroad, and the exploration that happened over the course of a century, the cities were constantly evolving into what they are today. Needless to say, everything looked a bit different back then!

Here are some rare photographs from as early as the 1830s all the way to the first decade of the 1900s of some of South Dakota’s major cities and landmarks in their earliest days:

Do you recognize any of the buildings in these photos? They’re so different, it’s hard to tell, but there’s definitely a few spots that are still around in the cities today.

South Dakota has changed a lot over time, and it’s always fascinating to look back. Photos are some of the only ways we can really “look” back in time. Here are more amazing vintage photographs of the state.