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Yankton College


PIERRE, S.D. – Beginning in 1882, Yankton College became the first accredited college in the Dakota Territory. Classes were originally held in the Congregational Church, but were later moved to a small three-room building until the Middle Building was erected in 1883. 
Yankton College had its first graduate in 1887. At that time, College President Joseph Ward made a speech predicting a thousand years of growth for Yankton College. The school closed its doors in 1984, and the buildings are now used as a federal prison. 
During its 103-year existence, Yankton College was a well-respected liberal arts school and had an accomplished athletic program. A marker depicting the history of the college may be viewed in Yankton, S.D., at 10th Street and Douglas Ave. 
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 from 2003-2010 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.