1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/South Dakota
SOUTH DAKOTA (see 25.506). The pop. of the state in 1920 was 636,547, as compared with 583,888 in 1910, an increase of 52,659, or a little more than 9%. The average density in 1920 was 8.3 per sq. mile. The rural pop. was 84% of the whole in 1920, against 86.8% in 1910, an increase of 27,460, or 5.4%. The urban pop. (cities with 2,500 inhabitants and over) was 101,872 in 1920 against 76,673 in 1910, an increase of 25,199, or nearly 33%. The pop. of Sioux Falls increased 79.7% to 25,176 in 1920. Its rapid growth is due largely to the opening of extensive packing plants, stock yards and factories. Aberdeen in 1920 had 14,537 inhabitants; Watertown, 9,400; Mitchell, 8,478; Huron, 8,302; Rapid City, 5,777; Yankton, 5,024; Lead, 5,013; and Pierre, the state capital, 3,209. The foreign-born white pop. in 1920 was 82,372, of which 16,807 were Norwegians, 8,569 Swedes, 5,983 Danes, 15,670 Germans, 11,191 Russians, 4,453 Canadians, 2,943 British.
Communications.—A panoramic picture of the surface of the state in 1921 would present many changes from one in 1910, but both pictures would have the appearance of a chess-board, of which the country roads, running a mile apart from E. to W. and from S. to N., would mark the squares. In the hills, near river beds, in the bad lands, and in uncultivated and thinly populated portions, the roads are not uniformly maintained. The law provides that they be 66 ft. in width. Each square mile of land is called a section and contains, including one-half of the roads on the four sides, 640 ac. of land. The roads are still for the most part dirt roads. During the decade 1910-20 they were considerably improved by grading and elevating the centre. All of the 64 counties either have been actually engaged in the building of hard-surfaced roads or have started preparations for doing so. Advantage is taken of the Federal appropriations for highway purpose of which South Dakota's share was $4,458,545. State and county have made heavy assessments. Over $6,000,000 has been spent in building hard-surfaced roads. The state Legislature appropriated $2,000,000 for the construction, in 1921, at Rapid City, of a cement plant with a daily capacity of 2,000 barrels. A system of state trunk highways is supposed to connect all county seats and all towns having a pop. of 750 and more. A law provides that every county must employ a county engineer whose occupation is the planning of better highways. The automobile, the truck and the tractor have become more common than horsed vehicles, and have awakened the farmers to the advantage of good roads; 117,320 automobiles, enough to carry comfortably all the inhabitants of the state at one time were licensed in 1920. In connexion with the improvement of the roads, mention should be made of the bridge which was being built in 1921, at a cost of $1,500,000 across the Missouri river at Yankton, and which supplies the last connecting link of the Meridian Highway which crosses the state and extends from Winnipeg, Canada, to the Gulf of Mexico. Only about 300 m. of railway were built during the 10 years, 1910-20.
Agriculture.—There were 74,637 farmers in 1920, of whom 47,815 were owners, 26,041 renters and 781 managers. Many owners of the rented farms either lived on their farms or in the neighbouring towns, having rented to their prospective heirs. Though there were 74,637 farmers to 76,868 sq. m. of land, it is not the case that the great majority of the farmers occupied on an average a sq. m. of land each. All of the land area was not under cultivation; and among those who occupy the 34,636,491 ac. of agricultural lands outside of the corporate limits, the great majority of the farmers have each much less than the average, which is 454 acres. A minority, mostly west of the Missouri river, operate the large farms.
The farmers prospered during the 10 years, 1910-20. Their prosperity was evident in many other respects than the improvement of the highways and the large number of automobiles, trucks and tractors. Farm life underwent a rapid change. Electricity, telephones, rural mail delivery and consolidated school-houses added to the comforts and education of the people. Farm machinery was improved and bodily labour decreased. Many of the counties employ county agents, who are supposed to be highly trained agricultural experts. Because of the introduction of scientific methods, farm crops have become more varied and rotation of crops has become possible. The corn acreage in 1920 surpassed the wheat acreage, and the production of other grains and grasses increased. The introduction of alfalfa was especially noteworthy. Alfalfa was harvested three and four times a year. As a result, and also because of the targe use of the silo, much more stock has been raised and more dairy products and eggs sent to market. The breeds of cattle, horses, hogs and poultry have been improved and many farmers raise only pure-blooded stock. A much greater number of farmers, as well as of city people, were in 1921 raising their own vegetables and fruits. Orchards and groves have increased in number and area. Because of many clusters of trees the unbroken prairie-like appearance of the farms has been modified. Farm values have more than doubled and the use of improved farm equipment has become much more
extensive. There were not only many more farmers in 1921 than in 1910, but the investment per acre was much greater. The homes, barns, stables and granaries more recently erected are usually well built, are much larger than those of the past and have modern conveniences. Practically all of the towns with a population of 2,500 have their own electric light plants. The Homestake Mining Co. has a power plant costing about 82,000,000. The 1919 Legislature provided for an hydro-electric commission and appropriated $50,000 for the purpose of surveying the Missouri river to find water power. The engineers found three sites—Mobridge, Mulehead, and Medicine Butte—to be advantageous, in the order named. The commission presented a report to the 1921 Legislature and recommended that the Mobridge site be developed. It estimated that the dam and plant would cost $9,400,000 and the transmission system $7,833,000. Under the economic conditions existing in 1921 the Legislature hesitated to act favourably and the question was to be submitted to the people in the election of Nov. 1922. The following table shows the increase of farm products:—
|Hay and forage||1919||5,071,747||4,996,846 tons||71,988,845|
In 1919 receipts for the sale of dairy products were $12,222,562; of chickens, $1,477,500. The total value of domestic animals on farms was $232,364,625.
Minerals.—The value of the minerals produced in the state in 1919 was $5,500,000. Prof. Freeman Ward, state geologist, has computed the mineral products in yearly averages for the five-year periods, 1905-9 and 1915-9, as follows:—
Manufactures.—The following table indicates the growth of manufactures:—
|Number of establishments||1,414||1,020|
|Proprietors and firm members||1,410||942|
|Wage earners (average)||6,382||3,602|
|Cost of materials||42,985,870||11,476,350|
|Value of products||62,170,782||17,870,135|
|Value added by manufacture||19,184,912||6,393,785|
The principal industries in 1919 were flour-mill and grist-mill products, bread and other bakery products, printing and publishing, automobile repairing, cars and general shop construction and repairs by steam railway companies, lumber and timber products.
Doane Robinson, secretary of the state History Department, estimates the value of the total production of all commodities as $581,119,000 in 1918; $481,624,000 in 1919; and $316,305,000 in 1920. He gives the produce sold outside of the state as $270,536,000 in 1918; $376,720,000 in 1919; and $324,667,000 in 1920.
Finances.—The bank deposits were $206,496,073 in 1918; $235,617,276 in 1919; and $251,804,649 in 1920. They were protected by a depositors' guarantee fund amounting to $1,247,397 in 1920. The total assessed valuation of all taxable property was $1,598,544,562 in 1918, $2,095,154,178 in 1919, and $2,257,853,656 in 1920. The
assessed valuation was usually not above half the real value, but even so amounted to $3,547 per capita in 1920. The tax levied was $17,781,439 in 1918, $21,470,598 in 1919, and $27,550,312 in 1920. The expenditure for the state Government, education, charitable and penal institutions was $1,255,593 in 1910, $9,711,964 in 1920. The state's debt in 1910 was $1,073,575 which was reduced until in 1919 the funds in excess of the debt amounted to $35,785. In addition there were in 1920 outstanding bonds, covering rural credit, highway and land settlements, amounting to $33,800,000.
Since 1917 South Dakota has had a noteworthy state rural credit system. Up to 1921, 13,575 applications had been made for loans amounting to 861,243,000. The rural credit board conservatively allowed only 7,915 loans, amounting to $31,083,450. This is more than four times the business done in the state by the Federal Farm Loan Board. The state can borrow money several per cent below the rate paid by individuals, and gives the farmers this advantage. The rural credit system having proved a success, the voters at the election of 1920 empowered the Government to make similar provisions for people in the towns. A law was consequently passed by the Legislature to create a municipal credit board and to make state loans to individuals for the purchase of homes. The state insures crops against hail at a low rate per acre. The Government administrative departments have been enlarged and a number of new commissions or departments have been created, including the following: insurance, railways, free circulating library, marketing, highway, rural credit, industrial, immigration, pure food and drug, state engineer, budget, tax, agriculture, charities and corrections, bank, depositors' guarantee fund, securities, health, pharmacy, live stock (sanitary), game and fish, coal mines, land settlement.
History.—South Dakota remained strongly Republican throughout the decade 1910-20. Of the political questions before the people the primary election law received the greatest attention. Successive Legislatures failing to deal with the matter by statute, an appeal to the initiative was successfully made at the election of Nov. 1912. Several months later, the Legislature of 1913 passed an Act of its own, and submitted it to the people at the 1914 election. It failed and the 1912 law remained in force. Thereupon the 1915 Legislature repealed the 1912 law and enacted one of its own, only to have the 1912 law in a somewhat revised form carried in the 1918 election. There has been much progressive legislation. The Non-Partisan League is a strong and active organization, but since a number of its policies have been adopted and carried out in legislation by the older parties it has not gained control of the Government. The code was revised and published in 1919. The number of men supplied by the state in the World War was 35,000, 10,000 being volunteers. There was purchased, in the state, of the Liberty and Victory bond issues $109,627,200. A bonus was voted for those who served in the World War and the sum of $6,000,000 appropriated for this purpose. Ex-service men engaged in farming are also given a state loan for “purchase of land, improvements and live stock to be placed on the land.” The loan may be as high as 70 and even 90% of the value, and is payable on the instalment plan over a period of 30 years.
The governors since 1910, all Republicans, were Robert S. Vessey, 1909-13; Frank M. Byrne, 1913-7; Peter Norbeck, 1917-21; William M. McMaster, 1921-. (C. C.*)