The South Dakota State Railroad Museum brings to life the financial and political intrigue, the machinery, the people, the mythology, and the pure joy of perhaps the most romantic mode of transportation ever built.
South Dakota’s unique landscape spawned one of the most unusual and complex railroad histories in our nation; a history that has helped define us as a people and as a state. The rails have carried our hopes, our dreams, our riches, our bounty, our cultural treasures, and our families from past to present.
By the time the Dakota Territory was carved into North and South in 1889, the railroad and the High Plains were intertwined. Agriculture on the plains relied on the railroads, as did mining and timbering in the Black Hills. South Dakota was realized, in large part, thanks to the men, women, investment, and machines of the railroad.
Like all of America, South Dakota is far from through with trains.
In Hill City, which boasts our premier recreational passenger train, the 1880 TRAIN, we celebrate our colorful and varied history on rails with this historic enterprise. Hill City has also become a thriving center of tourism and art, and is located within 15 miles of both the popular tourism destinations of Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Crazy Horse Memorial.
Along with the South Dakota State Railroad Museum, other associated South Dakota and regional museums, authentic railroad depots, and related historic sites will continue to provide South Dakota’s unique story of regional railroading.
Museums like this connect us to everything we know— and to what we have yet to learn— reminding us of times, places and things, and of innovations that have shaped our past and present, and will shape our future.
Please join us for a singular journey on the “high iron.”
222 Railroad Avenue, Building A
Hill City, SD 57745