With the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally roaring to its conclusion and the summer travel season nearing its end, the Black Hills will be quieter in the coming months. But there's no denying the hills are one of the most special parts of all of South Dakota. And how they became known as the "Black Hills" is a story every South Dakotan should know.

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How the Black Hills Came to Be

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva

The Black Hills were first formed in the age of the dinosaurs. Around 65-70 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period. It is estimated that when the hills were first formed, they reached an elevation of well over 15,000 feet. Today, the highest point of the Black Hills is Black Elk Peak (Harney Peak) with an elevation of 7,242 feet.

As for the human history of the Black Hills, it's not as long as you might think. The first signs of civilization in the area go back to around 1743 when French explorers claimed the region for the country of France. Later the Sioux Indian tribes moved into the hills from Wisconsin and built a lasting culture there.

The railroad brought even more people to the Black Hills nearly one hundred years later, and that's also when the first maps of the area were drawn. But what about their name? It turns out it comes from the Lakotah.

The name "Black Hills" is a translation of the Lakota phrase "Lakota Pahá Sápa". The reason they named them that? It was because of how the hills looked from a distance.

The next time you go to the Black Hills, pay attention to what they look like from miles and miles away. They do have a tinge of darkness to them. It's not an optical illusion, it's mainly because they're covered in trees. From a distance, the trees give the appearance that the hills are black, which they are not.

The 10 Most Redneck Towns in South Dakota

Are you a 'Redneck?' I guess to some people, all of us in South Dakota are rednecks.

If we use the Jeff Foxworthy Scale of Redneckeness, I have, in fact, been too drunk to fish. So by definition, I am a redneck. And so are many people I know.

Not that being from the country is a bad thing, and it can be fun to poke fun at ourselves.

With that in mind, we found that the folks at RoadSnacks put together a list that claims 'These Are The 10 Most Redneck Cities In South Dakota.'
What is a Redneck?

The dictionary says that a redneck is someone "...who lives in a small town or in the country, especially in the southern U.S., who typically has a working-class job, and who is seen by others as being uneducated and having opinions and attitudes that are offensive."

Well, a few things. First, South Dakota isn't THAT kind of 'south.' We're to the south of North Dakota, but to the north of 'The South.'

Plus that definition sounds awful mean and serious. I thought we were having fun here.

RoadSnacks leaned into the funny, Jeff Foxworthy-based version of a redneck. Then they rounded up select data on places in SD to determine their rankings. RoadSnacks Redneck Criteria:

  • Small towns
  • Least amount of high school graduates
  • Number of bars per city
  • Number of mobile home parks per capita
  • Number of tobacco stores per city
  • Number of places to get fishing gear
  • Number of guns and ammo stores per city
  • Walmarts, Bass Pro Shops, and dollar stores nearby

Story Sources: Moon Website

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