Nestled in the southeastern corner of South Dakota, the area now known as Vermillion was first explored by fur traders in the 1700s and was utilized as a campsite by Lewis and Clark during their expeditions in the summer of 1804. Officially incorporated as a city in 1873, Vermillion is the tenth largest city in the state and is the county seat of Clay County. Although it’s now perched on top of a bluff along the Missouri River, Vermilion lost 75% of its original square footage to the wrath of the 1881 flood. As of the 2000 census, the city was home to nearly 10,000 residents.
Vermillion is renowned for offering big-city attractions with small-town charm. The city’s culture and activities center primarily on the University of South Dakota, once attended by famous news anchor Tom Brokaw. The university is acclaimed for its accredited academic programs, including the only law and medical schools in the state. Fine arts are also a prime area of focus, with an on-campus museum exhibiting prints by renowned artist Oscar Howe. Vermilion also offers six public schools that serve students from kindergarten age through high-school. In addition to academics, farming serves as a substantial source of income to the city. The most lucrative cultivated crops are corn, soybeans, and alfalfa.
Vermillion’s expansive Dakota Dome, which accommodates more than 10,000 spectators, is South Dakota’s only sports dome. Music enthusiasts can visit the National Music Museum, founded in 1973 on the campus of the University of South Dakota. A destination of thousands each year, the museum’s collective exhibits showcase more than 13,500 international instruments from a variety of cultures and time periods.
Abundant outdoor recreational opportunities abound in Vermillion. Prentis Park boasts two public swimming pools, basketball courts, a baseball field, and playground equipment. There are a variety of nature trails and walking paths that meander along the Missouri River. Downtown Vermillion offers a variety of unique shops and eclectic dining establishments, such as the Elk Creek Steakhouse.