Huron History

Huron, located in east central South Dakota, is a result of railroad and land booms in the 1880s. The early history of the town is closely linked with the Chicago and Northwestern Railway. At the direction of Marvin Hughitt, General Manager of the Railroad, the west bank of the James River was selected as the division headquarters of the railroad. The company gained title to 880 acres (3.6 km2) of land at that location. Huron was named for the Huron Indians. Exactly who gave it the name was never established, apparently either Marvin Hughitt or someone in the Chicago office of the C&NW railroad company.

The original plat covered 11 blocks from 1st Street to 3rd Street and from Iowa Avenue SE to Ohio Avenue SW. Huron’s first settler was John Cain, a practical printer from Troy, New York. He learned in Chicago, from the railroad people, that they would have their chief town and operating headquarters at their James River crossing.

From 1880 until the capital was permanently located at Pierre in 1904, Huron was in the thick of the fight for the honor of being the capital city. Campbell and Winter Parks are the only remaining properties that were once designated capital grounds. Located between the two parks, Victorian houses originally built around 1906 occupy the city block on the land originally slated for the capitol building.

The site of the South Dakota State Fair is in Huron. Huron is the home to a handful of celebrities. Cheryl Ladd is one of the original “Charlie’s Angels”. Gladys Pyle was the first female member of the House of Representatives and the first Republican woman in the US Senate. Hubert H. Humphrey was the Democratic nominee for President in 1968 and served as Vice President under Lyndon B. Johnson.

  • Chronology:
    • 1879 – The town site was located.
    • 1880 – Town site surveyed and platted.
    • 1881 – First town government formed – a board of four trustees, a town clerk, a justice of the peace,one marshall and a surveyor.
    • 1882 – Alderman system of government adopted.
    • 1883 – Incorporated as the City of Huron. The city still operates under the original charter and seal.
    • 1910 – Changed from Alderman to City Commission form of government.
    • 1935 – City Manager form of government adopted.