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The Lone Tree


PIERRE, S.D. – It all started in 1881with a small cottonwood seedling planted in a hole left by a survey crew. The tiny seedling grew into a stately tree known as The Lone Tree.
The tree became a Moody County landmark and was a beacon for nearby teacher Emma Clancy and her twelve children during a blizzard in the late 1800’s.
Its existence as a landmark later provoked a controversy when a paved highway came under the shelter of its broad branches. Concrete from the highway created a drought for the roots, causing the tree to die.
The Lone Tree stood for more than two generations near the town of Egan, S.D. A historical marker dedicated to the memory of the famous landmark can be found four miles west of Egan at the intersection of state Highway 34 and old U.S. Highway 77.
The Marks of History series is a project of the South Dakota Office of Tourism, designed to highlight historical markers across South Dakota. In the 1950s, the historical markers became a cooperative program between the Historical Society and the Highway Department. Over the years, about 700 markers have been created. A majority of them are funded privately by individuals or groups throughout the state. The Historical Society, which is part of the South Dakota Department of Tourism and State Development, oversees the program. Click on the special “Marks of History” link at to access the complete list of articles.
The Marks of History series is part of Goal 1 of the 2010 Initiative to double visitor spending in South Dakota from 2003-2010 and Goal 4 to enhance history and arts as tools for economic development and cultural tourism in South Dakota. The Office of Tourism serves under the direction of Richard Benda, Secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development.

Media Notes:
Information for this release was obtained from “Brevet’s South Dakota Historical Markers”.
The South Dakota Office of Tourism is not responsible for the text included on these markers. Some of the language used at the time of production may not be appropriate by today’s standards. Please view the markers at your own discretion.