Landscapes of South Dakota

As South Dakota celebrates its 125th anniversary, SDPB is telling the stories of people, places, and things that give our state its identity. South Dakota is known across the country as the place to go to hunt pheasants. More than 132,000 people took part in the pheasant hunt last year, harvesting nearly a million birds. Seventy five thousand of those hunters were from out of state. And that was during a down year.

Before miners and tourists came to western South Dakota, paleontologists were in the area digging up fossil remains of vanished creatures. In 1843 part of an ancient mammal's fossilized jawbone was found in the Badlands and the published paper on the find first started attracting the interest of paleontologists to the area.

After the Custer Expedition found gold in the Black Hills in the summer of 1874, miners and prospectors hoping to strike it rich rushed to the area, digging shafts and tunnels in search of the precious metal. Merchants and others quickly followed and established communities. While some of the mining towns still exist and thrive, many others were eventually abandoned and left to crumble.

The Black Hills have long been a tourist destination. In the late 1800s, such places as Evans Plunge in Hot Springs and the various caves and other natural formations brought people to the area searching for adventure, fun and relaxation.

Among those who read newspaper articles about the Custer Expedition’s discovery of gold in the Black Hills were Moses and Fred Manuel. They arrived in the area in late 1875 and after a winter of prospecting, found gold in an outcropping of rock, three miles “over the hill” from Deadwood.

No place in South Dakota is filled with more colorful and unique historical characters than Deadwood. "Wild Bill" Hickok, Calamity Jane, Seth Bullock and Poker Alice are a few of the town's legends whose names are familiar to people around the world. From 19th-century dime novels through the recent HBO series Deadwood, their stories have been mythologized and their importance to the mining town often exaggerated. Hickok, for example, was only in Deadwood a few weeks before he was shot during a heated poker game in the #10 Saloon.

Exhibit Highlights South Dakota Homesteaders

Sep 26, 2014

South Dakota is celebrating its 125th anniversary, and SDPB is taking a look at the people, places, and things that give our state its character. Pioneers were a vital part of the formation of South Dakota. From 1860 to 1920, thousands of homesteaders poured into Dakota Territory, looking for a better life. More than 15 million acres in South Dakota, or 32 percent of the state’s total land, were claimed under the Homestead Act. A traveling exhibit currently on display at the Huron Public Library tells the story of those pioneers.

Keith Hemmelman

On August 19 nearly 200 people across the state took photographs from their lives and submitted them in SDPB's Day in South Dakota Landscapes Photo Contest. The contest was designed to help mark South Dakota’s 125th anniversary of statehood. Photographs were entered in four different categories: South Dakota, home, work, and connections. Kent Osborne, director of education and online services at South Dakota Public Broadcasting, joined Dakota Midday and announced the contest winners.

Jenny Braig Paintings Celebrate East And West River

Aug 26, 2014

South Dakota is celebrating 125 years of statehood. SDPB honors that milestone with stories that explore the state’s identity and heritage through unique ideas, people, and places.

In this edition of our series “Landscapes of South Dakota"  SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray Speaks with Spearfish Artist Jenny Braig about her oil paintings that depict both the East and West sides of the state.

Musicians Find Stage In Downtown SF

Aug 22, 2014
Kaitlynn Wornson / SDPB

The terms “street musician” or "busker” usually call to mind someone with an open guitar case playing for some spare change on a street corner. That's how blues legend BB King and even pop icon Justin Bieber got their start in front of a crowd. In Downtown Sioux Falls you might come across a few trying to do the same thing. As SDPB’s Kaitlynn Wornson reports, Street Musicians are helping change the image of Downtown Sioux Falls, and business owners aren’t complaining.

Farmers Markets Enrich Communities

Aug 20, 2014

As South Dakota celebrates its 125th anniversary, SDPB is celebrating the people, places, and events that give our state its unique character. Agriculture has been a large part of South Dakota’s identity since before statehood, and today many farmers and gardeners are carrying on that legacy through farmer’s markets. As part of a continuing series, we have a look at why farmers markets are one of the important Landscapes of South Dakota.

Landscapes Photo Contest to Capture Day in State

Aug 14, 2014

As South Dakota marks 125 years of statehood, SDPB wants to help explore the state's unique identity. On Tuesday, August 19th people are invited to photograph what being South Dakotan means to them with images of home, work, favorite places and more.

Walking Trails Make Someone's Perfect Day

Aug 14, 2014

South Dakota is celebrating 125 years of statehood. Throughout the celebrations SDPB is sharing stories about the people, places, and events that make our state unique.  As part of our series called Landscapes of South Dakota, we're asking people to tell us about their perfect day.  For many South Dakotans that means doing something outside. SDPB's Kaitlynn Wornson asks two young adults at a Sioux Falls coffee shop about their perfect day which includes the walking and biking trails in South Dakota.

George McGovern, Favorite Son of South Dakota

Jul 26, 2014

South Dakota is celebrating 125 years of Statehood.  Throughout the celebration, we're sharing stories on the people, places and events that make our state the Land of Infinite Variety.   One of South Dakota’s most recognizable people didn’t let a very bad day on the world stage stop him from doing good in the world.

In an extended cut of the original story, SDPB's Charle Michael Ray shares more on the efforts of researchers near Wind Cave to save prairie dogs from the plague. Plus, SDPB's Kent Osborne reminds listeners of the upcoming Landscapes of South Dakota photo contest and presents a special challenge for this weekend.

Stories of Redfield

Jul 24, 2014
City of Redfield

As part of SDPB's Landscapes of South Dakota series, Thursday's Dakota Midday broadcast live from the historic Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Depot in Redfield, South Dakota.

South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks

Chinese ring-necked pheasants were first successfully introduced in South Dakota in 1908 in Spink County. That was also where the state’s first pheasant hunting season took place.

Today pheasant hunting is big business in the state. According to the South Dakota Department of Tourism, pheasant hunting generates an estimated 223 million dollars annually. But pheasant numbers have been falling since 2007. Concern about the declining pheasant population and its statewide impact led Governor Dennis Daugaard to form a pheasant habitat task force.

State Parks Offer Sanctuary

Jul 24, 2014
Kealey Bultena / SDPB

SDPB's ongoing series called Landscapes of South Dakota highlights elements that set this state apart from anywhere else. Many of the stories on the radio, television and online feature people from the past and present who influence South Dakota. But as part of our celebration of 125 years of statehood, we're asking people to tell us about their perfect day.

SDPB's Kealey Bultena brings you this story centered on South Dakota's natural beauty as found in its state parks. 

Legacy of Corn Palace Continues

Jul 23, 2014
Mitchell Corn Palace

When Mitchell’s first Corn Palace was built in 1892, it was only one of at least 34 grain palaces in the Midwest from the 1880s to the 1930s. The current Mitchell Corn Palace was built in 1921 and it’s the only one of the “prairie palaces” that’s survived. The familiar Moorish-style minarets and turrets were added to the building’s roof in 1937 to recreate the look of the earlier corn palaces.

SDSU Extension

When farmers first arrived in Dakota Territory, they assumed the growing season was too short for corn and it was planted as a sod crop. But an agronomist writing in a 1909 report said that men who once scoffed are now buying South Dakota farms on which they expect to grow corn. That year, farmers in the state planted over two million acres of corn with a harvest of 65 million bushels.

Corn: Food, Fuel, And The Future

Jul 23, 2014

Although the first image that comes to mind when thinking of corn is a freshly buttered ear, most corn doesn’t make it to the dinner table. Whole-kernel sweet corn is only about one-percent of the crop. The rest of it is field corn. Some is processed for food ingredients, but it’s primarily used as livestock feed and ethanol.As demand for renewable fuel has grown in recent years, South Dakota has emerged as the fifth largest ethanol producing state with over a dozen biofuel plants.

Yankton and the Missouri River

Jul 22, 2014
NPS photo by Linda Gordon Rokosz

Throughout its 157 year history, life in Yankton has centered around the Missouri River. Steamboat traffic on the river helped the town grow after its founding in 1857. But both Yankton and the river have changed over the years, most dramatically with the construction of dams on the Missouri, including the Gavin’s Point Dam west of town. The dams brought an end to navigation, but controlled flooding, generated electricity and created new recreational opportunities, with visitors camping, boating, swimming and fishing at Lewis and Clark Lake.

Yankton became the capital of Dakota Territory in 1861, when the town was only two years old. The designation brought new settlers and businesses and the river town quickly expanded. The original capitol building was two stories, with territory offices on the bottom floor and territorial legislators on the second. In 1883, Yankton lost the territorial capital to Bismarck. And six years later when South Dakota became a state, Yankton tried to become the state’s capital, but lost to Pierre.

Since 1922, Yankton's WNAX radio has broadcast throughout the upper Great Plains with a signal that can reach as far south as Kansas City and as far north as Fargo. During the station’s early days, WNAX was an important connection to the outside world for isolated farm and ranch families throughout the region.

South Dakota: Number One Buffalo Producer

Jul 10, 2014

South Dakota is celebrating 125 years of statehood. SDPB honors that milestone with stories that explore the state’s identity and heritage through unique ideas, people, and places.

South Dakota is the number one producer of bison meat in the United States.     Buffalo ranching in South Dakota is still much smaller than the cattle industry, and not without it’s up and downs, but overall buffalo sales have seen solid growth over the last 20 years.

South Dakota Public Broadcasting is celebrating the state’s 125th anniversary with a look at the things that make South Dakota unique.  The Landscapes series visits people, places and experiences South Dakotans understand and treasure.  In this land of infinite variety, the Missouri River brings us together in one sense, creates a rivalry in another, and divides us in yet another.  

Falls Park Draws Crowds, Embodies History

Jun 26, 2014
Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota is celebrating 125 years of statehood. South Dakota Public Broadcasting honors that milestone with stories that explore the state’s identity and heritage through unique ideas, people, and places.

In the heart of South Dakota’s largest city, Falls Park tucks itself between industrial buildings and downtown development. Sioux Falls’ namesake attracts visitors from all over the world, and its history runs deep. SDPB’s Kealey Bultena brings you to this iconic attraction in this feature of Landscapes of South Dakota.

Reptile Gardens Makes Guiness Book

Jun 12, 2014
Photo by Jim Kent

As South Dakota marks 125 years of statehood, SDPB is featuring stories that rediscover our identity and heritage through the people, places, and ideas that make this state unique. Although most people across the country might consider us as “Small Town, U.S.A.”, many of our “places” are world-class. Today we visit a Black Hills institution that just made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest in its class.

The Perfect Day In South Dakota

Jun 5, 2014
SD Game Fish And Parks

As South Dakota marks 125 years of statehood, SDPB is featuring stories that rediscover our identity and heritage through the people, places, and ideas that make this place unique.

The Landscapes of South Dakota project will look to the past, but also ask about hopes for the future.  As part of this we’re asking residents to tell us what makes the perfect day in South Dakota?

Landscapes Of South Dakota

Jun 3, 2014
City of Huron

Over the next year, South Dakota Public Broadcasting is rediscovering our identity and heritage through the faces, places, ideas and traditions that make our state unique.  These snapshots of South Dakota are a way of marking the state's 125th anniversary.  Larry Rohrer, Director of Content for SDPB, joined Joe Tlustos, SDPB Director of Radio, to visit about the project called "Landscaped of South Dakota" and also tease another historical project.