South Dakota September 27, 2019
How 9 South Dakota Towns Were Given Their Quirky Names
You have heard the names and have maybe even visited the South Dakota towns but do you know the meanings and origins behind some of SoDak’s most popular communities? Like the towns themselves, each name is incredibly unique and historical, including:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
You know the city of Wall for housing the world-famous Wall Drug, but how did the small community get such a barrier-sounding name? It is because of the nearby Badlands National Park rock formations, some of which resemble a - you guessed it - wall!
With so many lakes and rivers around town, one would think that is the inspiration behind the name "Watertown," right? Wrong! Watertown, South Dakota was actually named after Watertown, New York, which was the hometown of founders John and Oscar Kemp.
3. Belle Fourche
How did the geographic center of the United States get such a - well, French-sounding name? Translated to "beautiful fork," Belle Fourche was named by French explorers exploring the nearby Belle Fourche and Redwater Rivers and the Hay Creek.
4. Box Elder
Any guesses as to how the name Box Elder came about? If you guessed it is because of the surrounding Boxelder Creek, you would be correct!
Arguably one of the most iconic of Old West towns, Deadwood is home to 1,250 residents and some of the most vibrant history in the Mount Rushmore State! How did it get its name? It is because the original settlers found several dead trees in the area.
Inhabited by early Native American tribes for hundreds of years, the name Vermillion is derived from its original Lakota name of wa sa wak pa'la, or red stream.
Like Watertown, the name Aberdeen was actually inspired by one of the founder's hometowns of Aberdeen, Scotland. (It does have a nice ring to it, doesn't it?)
Do you remember how Vermillion got its name? As it turns out, Yankton has a similar story, as it was the first capital of the Dakota Territory and was named for the Yankton tribe of Western Dakota people!
9. Rapid City
What better way to end our list than with one of the most popular and well-known cities in SoDak? Founded in 1876, Rapid City was named for Rapid Creek, which the town itself was settled on.
How many of these did you know? Let us know in the comments! For even more unique SoDak fun, click on
Here Are 7 Crazy Street Names In South Dakota That Will Leave You Baffled. Address: South Dakota, USA