Huron, SD, USA

Huron, South Dakota History – From the 1800s to Today

Huron, located in east central South Dakota, is a result of railroad and land booms in the 1880s. The early history of the town is closely linked with the Chicago and Northwestern Railway. At the direction of Marvin Hughitt, General Manager of the Railroad, the west bank of the James River was selected as the division headquarters of the railroad. The company gained title to 880 acres of land at that location.

Huron was named for the Huron Indians. Exactly who gave it the name was never established — apparently it was either Marvin Hughitt or someone in the Chicago office of the C&NW railroad company. The original plat covered 11 blocks from 1st Street to 3rd Street and from Iowa Avenue SE to Ohio Avenue SW.

Huron’s first settler was John Cain, a practical printer from Troy, New York. He learned in Chicago, from the railroad people, that they would have their chief town and operating headquarters at their James River crossing.

From 1880 until the capital was permanently located at Pierre in 1904, Huron was in the thick of the fight for the honor of being the capital city. Campbell and Winter Parks are the only remaining properties that were once designated capital grounds.

Famous Figures From Huron

Huron is also the home to a handful of celebrities. Cheryl Ladd is one of the "Charlie's Angels.” Gladys Pyle was the first female member of the House of Representatives and the first Republican woman in the US Senate. Hubert H. Humphrey was the Democratic nominee for President in 1968 and served as Vice President under Lyndon B. Johnson.

Huron, South Dakota History Over Time


The town site was located.


Town site surveyed and plated.


First town government formed - a board of four trustees, a town clerk, a justice of the peace, one Marshall and a surveyor.


Alderman system of government adopted.


Incorporated as the City of Huron. The city still operates under the original charter and seal.


Changed from Alderman to City Commission form of government.


City Manager form of government adopted.


Returned to Commission form of government.

Historic Preservation in Action

Huron has a number of historic properties listed on the US Department of Interior, National Park Service, and National Register of Historic Places.

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