Over the years, Elk Point has produced many prominent businessmen, political leaders and community-spirited citizens. For example, local residents were instrumental in founding the University of South Dakota in the late 1880s, and recently built one of the finest and technically advanced K-12 schools in the state. During the past 2 years, Union County was named as one of the best places to live in rural America. As Elk Point dawns 150 years, the city’s governmental, business and civic leaders are dedicated to maintaining current momentum and continuing to improve the quality of life in the community.
For centuries, the area between the Sioux and Missouri Rivers was a runway for elk and was well“known to Native Americans as an elk hunting ground. Lewis and Clark noted much elk in the area in 1804 when they camped on the site which became Elk Point. On August 22, 1804, the first election west of the Mississippi took place in what is now Heritage Park in Elk Point. The Lewis and Clark Expedition members elected Patrick Gass as the replacement for Sgt. Floyd, who had died a day earlier downstream. The event is re-enacted annually as part of Elk Point’s Heritage Days.
Pursuant to a Federal treaty with the Yankton Sioux, the Dakota frontier was opened to settlers in 1859. A former New York photographer, Eli Wixon, had earlier scouted the area along the military road from Sioux City to Ft. Randall. On July 22, 1859, he filed a claim for a part of the elevated land on which Elk Point now sits. He paid a $14 fee and $1.25 per acre. By 1862, he had erected a log hotel which also served as a post office and stage coach station on the military road. In 1865, Mr. Wixon donated land for a county court house and school. Elk Point is still the county seat of what is now known as Union County.
Recreation / Community Events
Within the community, Elk Point finds summers filled with athletes involved through baseball and softball associations, as well as clubs ranging from Lions to Gardens. Veterans are active with the American Legion “ and the Union County Historical Museum preserves the area’s history, located at 124 E. Main Street. The Elk Point Country Club, Larry’s Archery Barn and Missouri River Outdoors also provide entertainment for sports enthusiasts.
At Edger’s Soda Fountain in Elk Point, along the 1-29 business loop, summers spot a frosty treat. In June, lingering daylight keeps their doors swinging open until 9 p.m. Monday “ Saturday; Sunday’s serving from 1-5 p.m. These busy summer hours continue through August with Labor Day weekend still showing demand for ice cream confectioneries. Edger’s classic neon sign, unique gift shop and adjoining drug store provide a friendly atmosphere, welcoming families and tour groups.
- Phone: 605-356-2141
- Website: elkpoint.org
Source: City of Elk Point