Dell Rapids history dates back to 1871. And sports a historic district of 39 buildings on Main Street alone. The most striking factor of the district is the use of rose colored quartzite on almost all buildings. Most of the buildings were built before 1903 and several have been restored to their turn of the century elegance.
Three of the most outstanding buildings are:
The Opera House. Built in 1888 was restored to its original use, has a Romanesque Revival its round-headed windows and a highly decorative stepped cornice.
The First National Bank Building. Built in 1889 sits on the corner of Orleans and Fourth Street. It features a three-tiered tower, an arched entry, wrought iron balcony with double doors on the second level, and miniature crenellated towers on the third level.
The Smith Block. Built in 1888 sits at 400-404 Fourth Street. Todat its serves as the Dells Museum and other offices. The Victorian Romanesque design has checkerboard stonework. Vertical and diagonal masonry adorns the cornice line with a polygonal tower at the corner.
The quarry is a "must see" when you come to Dell Rapids. Located in the southeastern part of town [follow 7th St East] you can't miss it.
Rose Quartzite is the rock crushed and shipped to most of the Midwest states. On a scale of 1- 10 [diamond], this rock is 7.5. Some of the hardest in the world. And because of it's beautiful rose color, is shipped all over the world. Another unique feature of this mine, it has it's own railway.
QUARRY DAYS, a yearly event in Dell Rapids, sees many visitors taking the half our train ride through the quarry.
The profitability of the company is enhanced by crushing the quartzite, loading on railway cars, and transporting to many mid-western states. Because of the hardness of this crushed rock, it is added to cement for roads in order to meet hardness qualifications.