Was Crooks South Dakota Named After Bad Guys?
I've had the good fortune of living all over this state over the past four decades plus, from the south central (Winner) to the northeast (Aberdeen) to the east central (Brookings/Volga) to the Black Hills (Rapid City) and now here in beautiful Sioux Falls.
But essentially, I am still a small-town boy, just like I was as a kid living a mile outside a town of a couple hundred or so people. One of the things I love is history, whether American history or local/regional history. And South Dakota is filled with it!
Each area, each county, and each town has a unique history. And often, a unique name! So the other day I was talking to a friend here at the radio ranch about South Dakota town names and one that came up was Crooks. One of the best communities in Minnehaha County, I've been to Crooks many times. And when talking to my buddy, we decided that Crooks was probably named Crooks because it was the home of so many Wild West bad guys! It most likely was the hide-out for everyone from Billy the Kid to Jesse James, there were probably crazy shootouts on main street, bullets flying, dust swirling, I mean the really crazy stuff. The town probably became legendary for being filled with the most wanted outlaws in town, and that, of course, is why it was aptly named 'Crooks'.
Well....that's not exactly how 'Crooks' became 'Crooks'. According to Wikipedia, the town was initially called New Hope, and then in 1904, they changed the name to Crooks, honoring a local politician by the name of...
Oh. So as far as being a haven for those Wild West Outlaws? Nah.
You can learn more about Crooks here on their city website. Or better yet, make that short drive to Crooks and say Howdy to some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet. And don't worry, there are no crooks.