Get off the interstate.  Head west.  Someday, take a different route to Pierre, South Dakota and you might head through what is truly one of the most beautiful little towns in the state of South Dakota, Woonsocket.

It's really pretty simple.  From Madison, just head west. Or from Chamberlain, hit the north end of town and head east.  It's a road trip that is 'real-rural, South Dakota.

Whenever I'm not in a hurry, (which is how I travel, when I travel alone) I like to get off the interstate.  Madison, to Chamberlain is a great ride on highway 34.  One of the bright spots is Woonsocket.

The Woonsocket website says, it's the town with the beautiful lake. They're right.

Their website is nicely constructed, and the description of the town is spot on.

The City of Woonsocket began in 1883 at the junction of the Chicago, Milwaukee, and Saint Paul Railroads.  The superintendent of the railroad was C.H. Prior, and he named the new town Woonsocket, after his home town of Woonsocket, Rhode Island.  Lake Prior, located in the center of town, is named after Mr. Prior.  The town of


Woonsocket grew rapidly.  The first day lots were offered for sale, 50 lots were sold.  Woonsocket grew so fast that it was called “Boomstrucket.”

The population grew from 500 to 800 people in two months.  The first business establishment to be located in Woonsocket was a saloon.  Three days after the sale of the first lot, the first church services were held in a carpenter’s shed, which had recently been moved in.

Since Woonsocket was in the geographical area of artesian wells, there was an ample supply of good water.  For a piece of history on an artesian well that made Woonsocket world famous, click on this link:  Woonsocket Artesian Well.  Another advantage of Woonsocket was fertile land and good railroad facilities.

Woonsocket is the county seat of Sanborn County and is home to the Sanborn County Courthouse.

Looking ahead, it has, and shall always remain “Woonsocket, South Dakota — The Town with the Beautiful Lake.”

They also have awesome schools!

Woonsocket School is a fully accredited K-12 school district.  Its graduation rate is 100% and its dropout rate is less than 1%.  It has a distance learning network which offers its students many additional opportunities, and a computer in every classroom.  We have a Community Library shared by the school and city.

Oh, by the way, that's St. Wilfrid's Catholic Church in the picture.  Whereas there are some beautiful churches in the state, not many come with such an awesome setting.

Jessica Johnson added on our Facebook Page. 

Woonsocket puts on one of the best fireworks displays. They shoot the fireworks right over the lake . They still do the old fashioned 4th of July days. They have greased pig contests, bed races, mud runs, and milk carton boat races. I love spending time in Woonsocket. Its a peaceful town.

Woonsocket is also in the heart of melon country in South Dakota.  They have the stands to prove it!  I wonder how the melons are coming along?

Thousands of melons are grown annually.  Many stands sell these melons.  Watermelon, muskmelon, squash, and pumpkin are raised in the area.  Some of the area producers include:

•  Larry Baysinger Melons ** 605-796-4525

•  Larson’s Melon Market - Charles Larson **


•  Larson Melons - Kelly & Paul Larson **

605-796-4169 or 605-495-4188

•  Randy Larson ** 605-796-4088

•  Rich & Jim Linke ** 605-796-4994

•  Pat & Lynell Mentele ** 605-796-4292

•  Craig & Jill Olson ** 605-796-4050

•  Swenson Produce ** 605-796-4272

So, do you have something to add to the story?  If so, let us know on our  Facebook page.

Hey Woonies!  You have an awesome town.  (Terry Redlin are you reading this?)  Woonsocket, today's Small town of the Day!