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Wessington Springs: Flowing With History


PIERRE, S.D. – Take a trip to Wessington Springs this summer, a small town rooted in the history of South Dakota.

"Wessington Springs offers historic sites and trails, as well as small town hospitality," said Laura Kieser, coordinator for the Wessington Springs Area Development Corporation. "It’s the perfect place to spend a day, a weekend, or the rest of your life."

There are eight sites in Wessington Springs listed on the National Register of Historic Places: The 1905 Opera House, Shakespeare Garden and Anne Hathaway Cottage, Governor Vessey Home, Jerauld County Courthouse, WPA Field House, Sears & Roebuck House, Carnegie Library and the United Methodist Church.

The Anne Hathaway Cottage is a replica of Shakespeare’s original cottage in England and boasts the only thatched roof in South Dakota. In addition to the other historic sites, visitors can tour the home of Governor Vessey, the first governor to hold office in the current capitol building in Pierre.

The area was also known as a neutral zone between the fur traders and the Native Americans. This allowed for peace on the Nobles Trail, which included part of the Pony Express. Visitors can walk the restored Old Grade Trail, an early entry point to the town that features a hand-built stone arch bridge.

"Each of these locations has a stake in the history of not only Wessington Springs, but the state of South Dakota," said Kieser. "Visitors should call ahead to schedule a tour so that they can experience the full historical connection between all of the sites."

For more information about the historical sites in Wessington Springs visit or call the Wessington Springs Area Development Corporation at (605) 539-1929.

The In Your Own Backyard series is a project of the South Dakota Office of Tourism designed to highlight unique areas and attractions all across South Dakota. Click on the special "In Your Own Backyard" link at to access the complete list of articles.

The In Your Own Backyard series is part of Goal 1 of the 2010 Initiative to double visitor spending in South Dakota. The Office of Tourism serves under the direction of Richard Benda, Secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development.