Best place to raise your kids in SD? Gettysburg has ranked Gettysburg as the best place to raise your kids in South Dakota.

Nearby city: Pierre
Population: 1,001
Median family income: $50,624
Avg. school math score: 85.31 (State avg.: 78.94)
Avg. school reading score: 91.05 (State avg.: 78.59)

A small town in South Dakota farm country, Gettysburg offers much for kids and adults alike. The summer holds great swimming and other recreation at the West Whitlock Recreation Area, the schools are some of the best in the state, and the community is tight-knit.

Some of that must also have to do with the top quality legislators they send to Pierre. Assistant Senate Majority leader Corey Brown (who also chairs the appropriations committee) and Assistant majority leader in the House Justin Cronin.

33 Replies to “Best place to raise your kids in SD? Gettysburg”

  1. Anonymous

    Corey Brown is someone I would vote for Congress. He is a leading conservative on most issues and he is very intelligent.

    1. Stace Nelson

      Sen. Brown is a VERY sharp man and a pleasure to deal with in the legislature. He would be my top pick for running for Rep. Noem’s seat if she decides to run for the US Senate. Nelson family would send a little $$ for his campaign AND would break out their campaign sign skills for him.

      1. anon

        I’m with you Stace. But I don’t think he wants to run. It would more likely be Shantel and Lederman we get to choose from.

    1. caheidelberger

      If so, that’s still a lot of people. And small towns can’t afford to say, “We don’t need your kind” (whatever that kind is) to whole groups of different political stripes. Small towns need all hands on deck. When you make it clear that certain people aren’t welcome, you only raise obstacles to the ideas, capital, and sweat you need to survive and grow.

  2. Troy Jones

    Cory, this is a compliment for the entire state. Why can’t you just congratulate them? Their loss of population is not disproportionate to the region. Not to mention their drop in po;ulation in the 70’s was primarily related to the closing of an air force base. This is a great community filled with great people.

    P.S. I was raised in G’burg until I was 12 and then spent 5 summers working on my uncles farm through high school. I agree with Businessweek.

    1. Anonymous

      For such a small town I’m often surprised how many influential people come from there. Thune’s Chief of Staff Ryan Nelson is from there.

    2. caheidelberger

      I congratulate Gettysburg for squeezing some good out of a dire demographic situation. Saying the entire region is in decline isn’t exactly cause for putting on our party hats.

      My main critique is not of Gettysburg but of “Bill Clay”‘s superficial treatment of the real issues facing economic development in South Dakota.

  3. Anonymous

    I’m not saying anything negative about Gettysburg. But I doubt anyone from Businessweek has ever been to Gettysburg, SD let alone lived there. Seems the magazine’s analysis is strictly based on statistics.

    Seriously, how many other cities & towns in SD have better job prospects for parents, better “swimming and other recreation” options, better healthcare facilities, more education options – including more classes available to school students, etc.?

    Looks like the flyover crowd is extrapolating from numbers. I sure hope Gettysburg can handle the huge wave of immigrants this article is going to generate (-;

    1. feasant

      Anon 12:23 I can tell you have never been to Gettysburg, best diving team in the state. I watched many times as kids would dive off the 212 bridge. They never had enough people there to get me to jump, they would have had to throw me off.

      There isn’t much doubt that the area has three of the top legislators in the State.

  4. Anonymous

    I know both Mr. Brown and Mr. Cronin, and both are very fine men and very good legislators. But to give either one of them credit for the great test scores in the Gettysburg school or the high median income in the area is political arrogance at its worst. Credit should go to the teachers, the administration, the school board members, the businessmen, and the people who have worked in the dark for years to make Gettysburg a decent community in a very tough rural setting. Neither of them has had anything to do with the school and neither of them has been back in the community long enough to make any meaningful changes to the economy. They have been back long enough to be in the legislature for 3 years and that is it.

    This is the very thing that makes so many people hate politics and politicians. Blame someone else for things that go wrong and take credit for the good things even if you had nothing to do with it. Once again, I am not bashing on Cronin or Brown, I am just saying they had absolutely nothing to do with the criteria that would put Gettysburg high on this list, and the credit should go to the people who have been around for years making it a great communinity long before either of them came back to run for political office

  5. Lee Schoenbeck

    Gettysburg is a great community — my friends and I make an annual hunting trip there that is one of the year’s highlights. Friendly people and good businesses —— and we’ve even been to the high school – another bright spot for the community. congrats

  6. CaveMan

    Anon 6:27,

    You obviously don’t know a thing about either the Brown or Cronin families.

    They both built their life worth of merit in the Gettysburg community, invested heavily in their home town, and prospered because grandpa, grandma, mom and dad worked their patutes off and ended up being successful because of it.

    But go off on somehow a blog stating a fact coming from an outside source makes these two guys glory hounds???????

    You have been drinking the coolaid and smoking the pipe sir! 🙂

  7. Anon by Any Other Name...

    …so is it a “fact” that Gettysburg is the best place to raise your kids, or an opinion?

    Never been there, no clue where it is at.

  8. Troy Jones

    I don’t remember what the air base was was called (closed before I was a teen) but it was somehow part of the early defense warning system tracking missiles or bombers. The only remaining visible signs looks like squat corn silo or what I imagine a doppler weather radar detection deal (based on the KELO picture). Like everything, I’m sure it would be much smaller now (analog vs. digital).

    So, air base is a misnomer as planes didn’t land there. As I remember, the facility had its primary mission (early detection of an attack) which represented about 1/3rd of the people stationed there. It also was a training facility where the “graduates” went to other similar facilities along the northern border of the US (remember the USSR was our threat and it came from the north). My mom was a teacher there where she taught them the computations they had to do to assess whether what was detected was a threat or not, time of arrival, etc.

    feasant, I’m one who jumped off that bridge every weekend. Never dove though. Didn’t have the courage. Regarding getting thrown off, I saw my younger brother heaved off as his buddies were getting tired of him not jumping so the older brothers of his buddies just grabbed his arms and legs and threw him off. My heart wanted to help. To my brother’s chagrin, my mind said it was necessary so I watched him go, and jumped right after him if he needed help.

    Regarding the statement by anonymous below, the comment mentioning Brown, Cronin, Nelson was to point out they are a PRODUCT of a great school, not the cause of it. This is a great town, with great history, and in my mind deserving of national recognition.

    “But to give either one of them credit for the great test scores in the Gettysburg school or the high median income in the area is political arrogance at its worst. Credit should go to the teachers, the administration, the school board members, the businessmen, and the people who have worked in the dark for years to make Gettysburg a decent community in a very tough rural setting.”

    1. Troy Jones

      Found this on Wiki:

      I can’t believe I was only 7 when it closed. I thought I was older. As the article notes, it is still used. However, it is staffed by civilians (just a few) whose only responsibility is to make sure it is working. Everything is pretty much automatic now.

      Another interesting item. On the base, it had basically simple barracks for the few hundred people there at all times. However, for those permanently assigned or who had families, there was in town (base was about 4 miles norht of town) a section of “cracker box” houses. Rather than call it base or military housing, they painted all the houses bright pastel colors and it was called “Easter Egg Village.”

      Final interesting item. Because of its capabilities,
      Ellsworth planes often flew over Gettysburg back then and we had repeated sonic booms. I don’t know if they flew over so the people on the ground got to test what they knew or if they flew over to measure something electronically for Ellsworth but it was fun laying on the ground and watching the planes fly over, drop down quickly, climb back to altitude until they couldn’t be seen except for the vapor stream they left behind, and go back. We used to pretend they were “attacking” Gettysburg and either man the anti-aircraft guns or run for cover.

  9. oldguy

    Troy — I remember on the weekend how the air force people would come to Pierre and hang out at the Corral Drive Inn. Seems like back then the big deal was hot cars. The folks from Gettysburg would met the guys from Pierre/Ft. Pierre with the hot cars and north of town we would go for a drag race. We would have people on both ends to watch for the “law” then back to the Corral for a burger, fries, and a coke.

    1. grudznick

      Ah, the Corral drive inn. My granddaughter worked there one summer and I swear I walked up that hill on Euclid twice a day for three months. Did you know that the foundation for the Conservatives with Common Sense group was set there, at the Corral, in a pale green International Harvester R-series Travelall?

    1. Troy Jones

      Yep. It is Sopers. They also used to sell Honda cycles, eggs and baby chicks.

      Quite the business model.

      Now that you mention the cars the guys had, I remember when they came to town they would back them up on main street and just stand by their cars and talk to the locals.

  10. man from Pierre

    It was considered a radar station. my dad was there from 62 until 68 he was a civillian when it closed he had the choice to go to Oahe Damn or to Ellsworth. We moved to RC in the Spring of 68. I was 8 years old when we left. Enjoyed living there and I go there often now to hunt on old friend’s places. It is a very nice place, congrats to all who have made it that way.

    1. Troy Jones

      We were either in the same grade or you were a year older than me. Probably know/knew each other.

      Bottom line: An awful lot of regular SDWC posters all seem to have a G’burg connection. No wonder it was so recognized. 😉

      1. Anunya

        It appears the radiation from the radar towers caused over sensativity to minutia in many, with heavy urges for blogging about it some people. Several were also noted as developing a keen sense of BSery. 🙂


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