Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) today recognized Big Stone City on the 125th anniversary of its founding this month. Johnson entered a statement in the Congressional Record highlighting the milestone.
“Small communities like Big Stone City are the foundation of our state,” Johnson said. “I am honored to highlight this milestone for the community with a statement in the Congressional Record.”
Full text of the Congressional Record Statement from Johnson below:
Mr. President, today I rise in order to pay tribute to the 125th anniversary of Big Stone City. This picturesque town has made it one hundred and twenty five years, and I am proud to represent them.
Big Stone City is bordered by Big Stone Lake in South Dakota and the state of Minnesota. Originally the site of an Indian village called Inkpa, the first settlers arrived in 1871. In 1875, this new town, then called Inkpa City, was chosen for a post office. Another small town, Geneva, was also formed during that time, located to the northeast of Inkpa City. In 1885, the two towns were consolidated and Big Stone City was incorporated.
Religion was an integral part of the founding of Big Stone City. The first sermon was preached in 1879, before the town had even been incorporated. The German Evangelical Church was built in 1880, with at least three additional churches following in the next three years. The first Mass in the territory was celebrated in Big Stone City. The first school was opened in 1880, with a charge of $1.00 per student for each month. In 1900, the school was upgraded from a small prairie school to a much larger brick building. In 1913, plans were made to run the Milwaukee Railroad through Big Stone City. With industries of brick manufacturing, limestone, food canning, and a creamery, Big Stone City has a unique and varied past.
Residents of Big Stone City joined together July 9-11, 2010 to honor their historic milestone with a weekend full of festivities. The town celebrated with dances, a chili cook-off, an all-school reunion, a parade and more. I am proud to recognize Big Stone City on this achievement, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this great South Dakota community.