Scotland is located on Highway 25, four miles North of Hwy 46. It’s 30 miles from Yankton, South Dakota and 50 miles from Mitchell. Scotland’s population is 891 and growing. With an experienced teaching staff, averaging about 20 years, Scotland Elementary and High School both have been named on the list of South Dakota’s Distinguished schools. Scotland tests considerably above average in Science, Math, Social Studies, and Reading. With small class sizes (11 students for every staff member) teachers are able to focus more on student needs and assist students.
In the spring of 1870, General Charles T. Campbell established a stagecoach stop for the Firesteel Trail. This stop included his residence, an inn, a general store and a large horse barn, and it became the original town of Scotland, South Dakota. Campbell, along with about 100 families of Scottish and English ancestry, located this stop on a flat area beside Dawson Creek, about a half-mile southeast of the Chalk Rock Museum. In 1879, Campbell encouraged his friend Alexander Mitchell to build a railroad line through Scotland from Marion Junction which was northeast of Scotland. When the railroad arrived in 1880, the town moved “upland” to meet it onto land owned by John Stafford who deeded the land to the railroad and platted 80 acres for the new town. By 1884, Scotland’s population was up to 1200 with railroad service connecting it to the east and south.
By 1891 the population had risen to 1500 but was beginning to feel the effects of new homesteading in Charles Mix County and points west. Scotland remained a strong business town through both World Wars and the Great Depression, Saturday and Sunday nights being excessively active nights–the theater held 400 and would have two showings to sold-out houses, while the stores and cafes’ stayed open until midnight to accommodate the crowds.
In the mid-1990’s, Scotland’s Highland Festival began to celebrate the heritage annually in September. Because of the lack of Scottish heritage families in the community, the festival was discontinued in 2005.
From sporting events to bingo, Scotland always has something going on. Scotland’s sporting events offers just about every sport there is, such as Football, Boys and Girls Basketball, Volleyball, Wrestling, Track, Golf, and Cross Country. If sports aren’t for you, Scotland takes great pride in the accomplishments of their Arts program, competitive in Drama, Band, Swing Choir, FFA and FCCLA. Outside of school there are plenty of activities as well, including a beautiful 9-hole golf course, Lake Henry, camping and fishing along the James River, a large spacious park, swimming pool with slide, diving board and kids pool. There is also bowling, darts, pool and activity at the community library.
In June, the Scotland Rodeo Association will host their second annual Northern Bull Riding Tour. The last Friday and Saturday in July boasts Catfish Day. This is a catfish tournament held in Scotland with fishing on the James River and followed by a fish fry. Rodeo Days are held the second full weekend in August which includes a 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament, children’s tractor pedal pull and two nights of rodeo.
- Scotland Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 388, Scotland, SD 57059