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

Buffalo County, South Dakota

Buffalo County Education, Geography, and History

Buffalo County, South Dakota Courthouse

Buffalo County is a county located in the state of South Dakota. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 1,912. Its county seat is Gann Valley which, at 14 people, is the least populous county seat in the United States. The county was created in 1864 and organized in 1871 as part of the Dakota Territory.

Etymology - Origin of Buffalo County Name

Buffalo is probably named for the buffalo (properly American Bison) that once roamed the Great Plains.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Buffalo County History

Buffalo County was created in 1864 and organized in 1871. It was among the first counties to receive a name and place on the map of the old Territory of Dakota, and was, at one time, the largest county within the limits of the present State of South Dakota. In 1868 it included the present counties of Buffalo, Brule, Jerauld, Aurora, Sanborn, Davison, Hanson, Miner, McCook and part of Lake. Governor Pierce appointed county Commissioners in October of 1884 and Duncan was designated as the temporary county seat. Several county seat propositions were considered at a meeting in January 1885, and Gann Valley was declared the county seat. As was the case in many counties, a fight to move the county seat ensued. The site for the new county seat was known as Buffalo Center. After the protests and legal battles were over, Gann Valley was again named the county seat in April of 1888.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 487 square miles (1,262 km2), of which, 471 square miles (1,219 km2) of it is land and 17 square miles (44 km2) of it is water. The total area is 3.45% water

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Hand County, South Dakota - northeast
  • Jerauld County, South Dakota - east
  • Brule County, South Dakota - south
  • Lyman County, South Dakota - west
  • Hyde County, South Dakota - northwest


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