Amy's Reviews > Explorer's Guide South Dakota

Explorer's Guide South Dakota by Marion L. Head
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's review
May 18, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: nonfiction, travel, history-50states
Read in August, 2009

I love these explorer's guides! They're great!

A few travel tips for South Dakota:

The population of South Dakota is 781,000. More interestingly, the population density is 9.9 people per square mile. The national average is 79.6

There are rest areas and information centers located along the two (2) interstate highways in South Dakota. If you are not on the interstate do not wait to find a gas station or restroom because they are few & far between. When adventuring farther out in the hills or prairie, take along a roll of toilet paper.

Call 511 to get updated road reports, especially in winter.

The weather can be extreme in South Dakota ... severe thunderstorms & tornadoes in the summer; blizzards in the winter.

There are two (2) time zones in South Dakota that divide the state right down the middle.

The Black HIlls are the oldest mountains in the U.S., estimated to have been uplifted 60 million years ago, about the same time as the end of the age of the dinosaurs.

Some Interesting Facts about Mount Rushmore:

The name "Mount Rushmore" actually refers to the mountain the carving is on. The name of the monument is "Shrine of Democracy".

Mount Rushmore was names far a New York attorney, Charles E. Rushmore.

The mountain is 5,500 feet above sea level.

The 4 presidents on Mount Rushmore were chosen because they "commemorate the founding, growth, preservation, and development to the U.S.

Not a single person died while working on the mountain

To learn more about Mount Rushmore and the Shrine of Democracy, check out this book.

Gold mining was huge in South Dakota beginning in the late 1800's. A brief history and information on some of the mines are detailed in this book.

When people think of Sturgis, they generally think of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally & Races. It is their premier event and it entirely changes the quiet town of 7,000 into a city of, on average, 500,000. Regular businesses close down and vacate their storefronts to make room for some 800 temporary vendors and the entire hills are filled with the roar of motorcycle engines. -- pp. 83-

The geographic center of the total landmass of the U.S. is about 20 miles north of Belle Fourche, off US 85.

South Dakota is home to 9 Indian Reservations, including the nation's second largest, Pine Ridge. Pine Ridge is 2.7 million acres and has about 40,000 people living on the reservation. It also has an unemployment rate of 85%, with 97% living below the poverty level.

Pierre is close to the geographic center of the state and is its capital city. The population of Pierre is 14,000.

Powwows are a traditional North American gathering in which the people join together to visit, dance, sing and renew friendships. Powwows can last a couple of hours to several days, depending on the occasion.

Mitchell is best known for having the World's Only Corn Palace. What exactly is a Corn Palace? Check out this book to find out!

Carnegie Libraries: Andrew Carnegie was an Irish immigrant who made his fortune in steel. Carnegie saw many needs in early 20th century America and he set up his Carnegie Corporation of New York to try & meet some of those needs.

One of Carnegie's passions was for libraries. He believes that libraries "outrank any other one thing that a community can do to help its people".

The Carnegie Corporation required each town submitting a grant application to commit to provide funds to support the library. Each town chose its own design but each library included an entry staircase that symbolized a person's elevation of learning and outside, a lamppost that symbolized enlightenment.

Many of these Carnegie Libraries remain across the country. including South Dakota.

Sioux Falls has dozens of sculptures on display for the public to enjoy on its Sculpture Walk (

Yankton has the distinction of being designated the first capitol of the Dakota Territory in 1861. When the capitol was "hijacked" to Bismarck the pressure was on to split the Dakotas north and south.

Laura Ingalls Wilder and South Dakota. There is a relationship here. Check it out!


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