Plankinton – The Town

The city of Plankinton, population @ 700, is a lovely little community in South Dakota. The Milwaukee Road selected the location as a railroad stop in 1881 and named it for one of their directors, John Plankinton, of Milwaukee.

It’s easy to find – just 25 miles west of Mitchell. You might have heard of the Corn Palace? They stole the idea from Plankinton in 1892. The good citizen’s of Plankinton created the first grain palace in South Dakota and held festivals in 1891 and 1892, but then conceded to the competition.

Today it is a thriving city, albeit small, with good jobs, successful businesses, a great school, and wonderful people. My family has lived there since 1914, and my father still lives in the home my great-grandparents purchased that year.

Since January 2013, I have been writing a monthly history column in the local weekly newspaper, the South Dakota Mail, entitled “It Happened Right Here.”

A Jewel of a Location: My Hometown: Plankinton, South Dakota .

7 Responses to Plankinton – The Town

  1. Rea Ann Trotter says:

    Thank you for your amazing work! The Trotter family homesteaded in Belford Township in 1883 (coming from Blendon where they homesteaded in 1881); so your work resonating deeply with me.

    • Thank you. How long did they stay? Have you visited the area? You might find the book “The Comets of Aurora” by Richard Alex Jensen interesting. He writes about the Blizzard of 1888 in Aurora County and is related to families who suffered deeply as a result of that event. It is a self-published book.

  2. Patricia Allen Wolk says:

    My dad Elmer Allen (1901-1981) and his parents Irven Douglas Allen & Amy Plantz Allen lived in Plankinton. 19– to 1930 I have several photos of the school and classroom he attended. He ran away from home in 1915/16? He caught the barn on fire.

  3. Skipper Steely says:

    Ruth: I am studying a guy [Frank M. Robinson] whom I think was in Plankinton in the 1880s. I know he was in Richland for awhile. Could you give me hints on how to trace him? Thanks. Skipper Steely Paris, Texas 903-272-7994

    • rpjpractice says:

      There was a George and Nancy Robinson who came from Dane County, Wisconsin in 1883. His sons were James Henry,( married to Emily, daughter Myrtle, about age six at the time who later married a Dickson) and Eugene. George homesteaded in Dudley Township, which is closer to the current town of Stickney than it is to Plankinton, but Plankinton would have been the mailing address until 1907. I don’t see any record of a Frank. I looked for homesteaders at and in the 1900 census. Do you have more information? Maybe in ancestry you can find a link between Frank and George.

  4. Sheryl wilson says:

    There was a drive inn on the west side of Plankinton. If my memory is right it was owned by Burle Folan. Can you correct me if I am wrong or give me more information. Thank you. Sheryl Johnson Wilson

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