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South Dakota Counties
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South Dakota Counties

There are sixty-six counties in the state of South Dakota. Todd County and Oglala Lakota County are the only counties in South Dakota which do not have their own county seats

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Lake County, South Dakota

Lake County Education, Geography, and History

Lake County, South Dakota Courthouse

Lake County is a county located in the state of South Dakota. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 11,200. Its county seat is Madison. The county was formed in 1873.

Etymology - Origin of Lake County Name

Lake is named for the region's many lakes.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

Lake County History

Lake County was created by a legislative act of January 1873 and named because of many beautiful lakes that lie within the boundaries of the county. The county Commissioners were appointed by the Governor in September 1873 and Madison (Old Madison), located on the bank of Lake Madison, was made the county seat.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 575 square miles (1,489 km2), of which, 563 square miles (1,459 km2) of it is land and 12 square miles (31 km2) of it (2.06%) is water.

This county is situated between the Big Sioux and Vermillion valleys, one county removed from the Minnesota line, and bounded on the north by Brookings and Kingsbury counties, on the south by McCook and Minnehaha, on the east by Moody, and on the west by Miner County. The seventh guide meridian of the surveys passes through the center of the county. The county is theoretically an exact square, containing sixteen congressional town, with an area of 576 square miles or 368,640 acres. The topography is described by one writer as being "nothing if not picturesque." The county was named from the fact that it includes a large number of small lakes within its boundaries. The largest of these is Lake Madison in the southeast part of the county, covering an area of about 2,000 acres, and abounding in fine scenery. It is about four miles in length and affords great sport for hunters and fishermen, its waters being stocked with excellent fish, and in the proper seasons swarming with wild fowl. The other principal bodies of water are Brant Lake in Town 105, Range 51, covering a section or more, with much the same characteristics as Lake Madison, and Lake Herman in Town 106, Range 53, about the same size as Brant Lake. Groves of timber are found around the margins of these lakes, and the shores are either beautiful sandy beaches or abruptly rising banks. The principal streams are Battle Creek, which drains the northeastern portions of the county and discharges into the Big Sioux River in Brookings County; Skunk Creek, another branch of the Big Sioux which drains the southeastern portion, and the east fork of the Vermillion River, which drains the western portions and unites with the west fork at Parker in Turner County. The county generally is a rolling or gently undulating prairie, broken by the river and creek valleys, and the basins of the numerous lakes. The soil is a dark-colored sandy loam with the usual substratum of clay, and very productive, every kind of small grain and vegetables doing well. Stock raising is a specialty along the Vermillion River, where there are some large ranches.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Brookings County, South Dakota - northeast
  • Moody County, South Dakota - east
  • Minnehaha County, South Dakota - southeast
  • McCook County, South Dakota - southwest
  • Miner County, South Dakota - west
  • Kingsbury County, South Dakota - northwest


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