In South Dakota, as in most of the mid-western and western United States, railroads played a vital role in growth and settlement. Railroad companies even recruited homesteaders in Europe and mapped out towns for the new arrivals.
The history of railroads in the state goes back to the early 1860s when Dakota Territory lawmakers chartered the first railroad company. Rick Mills is director of the South Dakota State Railroad Museum in Hill City. He’s also a part of the South Dakota Humanities Council’s Speakers' Bureau with programs commemorating the state’s 125th anniversary.
Mills joined Dakota Midday with and discussed the development of railroading and its impact in Dakota Territory from 1861 to statehood in 1889.