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The Mother City of Dakota Czechs


PIERRE, S.D. - Frank Bem sparked the start of Tabor, S.D., in 1869 by advertising land to Czechoslovakian settlers who were in search of a place to call home. Bem was of Czech heritage and was determined to make a haven for Czech immigrants on the Dakota prairie. 

By 1872, a large contingent of Czech immigrants decided to procure a 160-acre homestead owned by Johanna Kocer to start the township of Tabor.  The population of the community was predominantly Catholic. They erected a church in 1872, and chalk rock from the Missouri River bluffs was hauled to Tabor for the construction. 

However, Tabor was in danger of dying out by the late 1800s, but the Milwaukee Railroad came through in 1900, sparking a revival in the community. It survives today with just over 400 residents.  A historical marker can be viewed just south of Tabor along SD Hwy 50.

Tabor is host to the annual Czech Days celebration held every June. For more details on Czech Days, visit

The Marks of History series is a project of the South Dakota Office of Tourism designed to highlight historical markers all across South Dakota. 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 and Goal 4 to enhance history and arts as a tool 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.