South Dakota’s Best Under A Grand: Alpena, Population 286
It hasn't always been easy over these past 135 years or so. There's been ups...and there's been downs. But if you want to stop into one of South Dakota's finest communities with a population'Under A Grand', you'll want to say hi to the folks in Alpena.
Not quite 300 folks strong, Alpena is on of those places that, once you pull in, you'll want to stay a spell. The people are friendly and the conversation is warm. That's a good combination!
Where is it, you ask? Why, in Jerauld County. If it's easier, it's southwest of Huron..or northwest of Mitchell. And it's been there a good long while.
Alpena was 'born' in 1883, and if you're wondering how it got its unique name, well there's nothing real radical about it. Alpena was named after the hometown of the railroad superintendent. If you check around, you'll find that a lot...a lot!... of South Dakota towns were named after someone or something connected to the railroad. In fact, a lot of towns lived (here come the railroad tracks!) and died (there go the railroad tracks) with the railroad companies.
Anyway, the early 1900's were boom years for Alpena. By 1920 something close to 600 folks called Alpena home! But like any community (or anyone's life for that matter), there are the ups and the downs.
1930-1950 were tough years, what with drought, dust storms, grasshoppers and of course the depression and the war. But this town, this community, these people not only persevered...they prospered!
While so many of the small communities we love shrink and shrink and shrink, Alpena has been stable for decades. Why?
Well again, the people. Couple that with a bunch more of those great small towns close by in the area, and you have everything you want and need. Yep, residents continue to not only to support the businesses and facilities, but improve them!
Hey, the proof is in the pudding. Stop in, have a cup of coffee, look around, visit a bit. And I might as well tell ya...you'll enjoy yourself so much, you'll stay longer than you though you would.
That's just the way it is in Alpena. Truly, one of South Dakota's best under a grand!