About

Who We Are

The Minnehaha County Historical Society was founded in 1927

by concerned citizens who saw a growing need to protect and preserve the county's historic sites, structures and landmarks. They also recognized the need to preserve the memories and memorabilia of the County's pioneers for future generations.

Our History

THE SOCIETY began working to save and mark historic sites upon incorporating in 1928, with many successes. Often aided by other local public and private organizations.

    • Marked and interpreted over 200 Historic & Geological Sites

    • Helped preserve vulnerable sites such as the Indian Mounds at Sherman Park & those near Brandon, SD

    • Marked Old Yankton Trail wagon ruts across the Campus of Sioux Falls College - USF

    • Led the fight to preserve the home & artifacts of US Senator R.F. Pettigrew now part of the Siouxland Heritage Museums as the Pettigrew Home & Museum

    • Initiated the movements to save the Minnehaha County Courthouse now our Home and the anchor for the Siouxland Heritage Museums as the Old Courthouse Museum.

    • Initiated the movement to save the Sioux Falls Coliseum, now the Multi-Cultural Center.

    • Organized the 50th,75th and 100th City Anniversary Celebrations and helped plan the 125th and 150th Anniversaries of the 1856 founding of the City of Sioux Falls.

    • In 1949 constructed a Memorial to the Pioneers at the site where Dubuque Land Co. founders first saw the falls of the Sioux River.

    • With the Sioux Valley Genealogical Society, lobbied for the SD law requiring counties to appoint citizen boards to supervise the care and preservation of abandoned cemeteries.

    • Recorded the lives of early pioneers by publishing a book of biographical, business and institutional history of the county;

    • Sponsored books by private authors in the Society ( Where the Sioux River Bends, Rural Schools of Minnehaha County 1871-1971 )

    • Sponsored Projects at the City and County Museums

    • Sponsored the R.F. Pettigrew Monument by Darwin Wolf at 5th & Phillips - May 1913

    • Hosted the Screening of the "W.L. Dow, Architect" Documentary March, 2013

    • Sponsored the Book "Twelve Thousand Years of Human History: As Recorded on Historical Markers in Minnehaha County, SD" by the man responsible for the completion of over 200 of them, Bruce Blake. Publication April, 2014.

    • 501 c3 and Monetary Support for "Sioux Falls The Divorce Capital" Documentary by Brad & Jennifer Dumke

    • 501 c3 and Monetary Support for a Marker for the Sixth Street Historic Alley Paving Project - Mary Glenski

    • Revitalized the Historian and Junior Historian Projects led by Ken Alvine & Ryan Tellberg


Our Current Work

Find and facilitate programs on the Third Thursday of each month Sept-May at the Old Courthouse Museum. Programs are free and open to the public. Programs are diverse and presented by amateurs and professional alike with the common theme of History as it relates to Minnehaha County. And ultimately, all history relates to everyone to some degree. All of our root journeys began somewhere else and continue to be influenced by world happenings far and wide as well as next door.


The Historical Marker Program - every year new historical markers are created and installed, and existing historical markers are maintained around the county.


Restoring the Pioneer Monument - installed in 1949 and owned by MCHS, this monument is in desperate need of maintenance and restoration.


Sioux Falls State Theatre - help preserve the history and educate the community about this magnificent downtown historic gem.


Our Future

Our Purpose has always been to study and record the history and development of Minnehaha County: educating its members and the public on the rich heritage of the people and the land of Minnehaha County.

Realizing that the preservation of history is accomplished best by networking, The MCHS promotes the Mission of the Siouxland Heritage Museums and other historical groups:

  • Boards of Historic Preservation,

  • Sioux Falls & Minnehaha County,

  • The Center for Western Studies,

  • The Daughters of the American Revolution,

  • The Minnehaha Century Fund ,

  • The Minnehaha County Abandoned Cemetery Board,

  • The Sioux Valley Genealogical Society,

and affiliated with

  • The South Dakota Archaeological Society,

  • South Dakota State Historical Society

  • Preserve South Dakota