Pierre was founded in 1880 amid the turbulence of the Great Dakota Boom, as gold prospectors and homesteaders flooded into the Dakota Territory. That same year, the railroad first crossed the Missouri River here, and the town grew along the river’s east bank as both goods and people traversed the state.
When South Dakota achieved statehood in 1889, Pierre, situated at nearly the geographic center of the state became its capital. This ensured the town’s survival even as drought and depression struck the region and turned the boom to dust.
Pierre today is a small Midwestern city of about 14,000. The seat of Hughes County as well as the state capital, it is a friendly community whose tree-lined streets, historic downtown and lush green parks give way to rolling hills and steep bluffs as the county spreads east into the state’s expansive plains.