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This spring, U.S. Census Bureau additional 2020 census data that include smaller cities and towns. The total 2020 population of the three counties is 21,782, up 474 from the 2010 census, an increase of 2.2 percent.
"We've been curious about what the results will show for the 23 small towns in our area," said Tim L. Waltner, communication/education coordinator at Heritage Hall Museum & Archives in Freeman. "While the state population grew by 72,487, most of that came in the Lincoln, Minnehaha and Pennington counties, home to Sioux Falls and Rapid City. We've taken a closer look at the towns that are part of the 'greater Freeman area' and compared the population from 2020 to 2010."
The details reveal that while half of the towns in the larger Freeman area reflect that growth, the other half lost population. Freeman, for example, grew by 23 – from 1,306 to 1,329. Menno grew by six – from 608 to 614. The accompanying chart shows population changes in the towns in the area.
"One of the takeaways is that the larger towns in the area grew and the smaller towns shrunk," he said. "Five of the six largest towns grew; the combined increase of 355 is a 6.5% gain. Conversely, five of the six smallest towns lost population; the combined loss of 62 is a 12.2% decline."
Based on 2020 census data, the towns of Bridgewater, Centerville, Chancellor, Dimock, Emery, Freeman, Irene, Marion, Menno, Parker, Parkston and Viborg all showed at least slight growth since 2010. The rest lost population; four recorded loss percentages in double digits. The accompanying chart details each of the towns in the tri-county area.
Two neighboring towns just outside the tri-county area are also included in the chart: Emery in Hanson County and Scotland in Bon Homme County.
The top largest five towns of the 22 in the region remain unchanged – Parkston, Freeman, Salem, Parker and Centerville. However, Freeman and Salem swapped positions in 2020; Freeman replaced Salem as number two behind Parkston.
The local town with the largest percentage increase was Parker, which grew by 172 from 1,022 to 1,194, an increase of 16.8 percent. That's also the largest numerical town growth in the tri-county region. The town with the smallest percentage decrease was Davis, which shrunk from 85 to 54, a drop of 36.5 percent. Tripp lost the most population numerically, 72.
"But perhaps the more revealing dynamic is that the growth in the towns in eastern Turner County on the western edge of the growing Sioux Falls metropolitan area," he said. "The towns of Centerville, Chancellor, Parker and Viborg increased by a combined 278 since the 2010 Census."
Six of Turner County's towns gained population with a net increase of 274, led by Parker (172) and Marion (65) – the biggest gains by towns in the tri-county area. Also growing were Centerville, Chancellor, Irene and Viborg. It's worth noting, Waltner said, that the town of Irene – population 422 – is located in three counties – Clay, Turner and Yankton. According to the 2020 census, the portion that includes Turner County has 227 residents, a loss of 4 from the 2010 census.
The Hutchinson County town population showed a net gain of 18. Dimock, Freeman, Menno and Parkston combined for 100 new residents. On the flip side, together, Olivet and Tripp lost 82.
While the majority of the towns in Hutchinson and Turner counties grew in the past ten years, only four of McCook County's five towns saw an increase in population; while Bridgewater gained 19 residents, Canistota, Montrose, Salem and Spencer lost a collective 69 compared to the 2010 census. Combined McCook County towns declined by 50 in the past decade.
Town residents are the majority population in all three counties. In Hutchinson County, the 4,286 residents comprise 57 percent of the population. In McCook County, the 3,071 town residents comprise 54 percent of the population. In Turner County, the 4,928 town residents comprise 56 percent of the population.
Township population trends
The U.S. Census Bureau 2020 report also shows the changes in township population since the 2010 census. The majority of the townships in the local tri-county area gained population. It's worth noting that the census separates the rural population from the towns. For example, while Freeman is located in Grandview Township, the township total does not include Freeman's population.
In Hutchinson County, 12 of the 23 townships gained population since the 2010 census. In McCook County, 10 of the 16 townships grew and in Turner County, 10 of the 18 townships saw an increase in population.
As is the case with town growth patterns, proximity to population growth in Minnehaha and Lincoln counties appears to be a factor. Townships in southeastern McCook and northeastern Turner County gained population. Conversely, all four of the townships on the western edge of Turner County lost population.
The most dramatic gain in the tri-county area – percentage-wise – was Pearl Township in McCook County, up 64.1%, although the gain of 25 residents raises the total to just 64. Conversely, Ramsey Township, also in McCook County, recorded the largest decline – 54.2%. The drop of 124 – from 229 to 105 – has sparked speculation that the Orland Hutterite Colony may not have been counted.
In terms of raw numbers, Sweet Township in southern Hutchinson County is the most populous in the three counties, with 365 residents, even with a loss of 22 in the 2020 census. The smallest is Oak Hollow in the southwest portion of Hutchinson County, with 40 residents.
The big picture
Initial results from the United States 2020 Census Bureau were announced in April 2021. They show that the United States has a population of 331,449,281. An increase of 7.4% from the 2010 census, it's the second-smallest increase since 1790, when the first census was conducted.
South Dakota was among the 13 states that showed an increase in the rate of growth from 2010 to 2020 – 8.9% compared to 7.9% from 2000 to 2010. The state grew from 820,077 residents in 2010 to 886,667 in 2020.
Lincoln County grew 45.4% to 65,161; Minnehaha grew 16.2% to 197,214, is up 16.2%; Pennington #2), at 109,222, is up 8.2%
Hutchinson, McCook and Turner counties were among others in the state that gained population, although at a significantly lower rate than the "big three."
Hutchinson County, at 7,427, is up 81 or 1.1% from 7,343. McCook County, at 5,682, is also up 1.1% from 5,618, an increase of 64. Turner County shows the largest of the local three; 8,673, up 259 or 3.9% from 2010.
"The numbers in Turner County reflect its proximity to rapidly growing Minnehaha and Lincoln counties, with population gains in both the towns and rural area, particularly the eastern portion of the county," Waltner said.
"Here's another perspective," he said. "In the past century, all three local counties lost more than 40 percent of their population, when comparing the 1920 census to the 2020 census."
Hutchinson County dropped from 13,475 to 7,427 – a loss of 45%.
McCook County declined from 9,990 to 5,682 – a loss of 43%.
Turner County went from 14,871 to 8,673 – a loss of 42%
"All three local counties recorded their largest populations in the 1930 census," he said. "Hutchinson – 13,904, McCook County – 10,319, Turner County – 14,891. The 1940 census marks the start of a steady decline that continued through the century in all three counties."
Turner and McCook counties both reversed the trend in the 2000 census with small gains. The drop continued in Hutchinson County until the 2020 census, when all three reported population growth.
"The steady decline in population is reflected in the economic and social changes in this rural area," Waltner said. "We see that in how our businesses, schools and churches have adapted, often closing or consolidating."
Heritage Hall Museum & Archives, an independent not-for-profit organization, has an extensive collection of artifacts and documents that chronicle the history of this region, primarily the immigration story of Germans-from-Russia who arrived in the 1870s.
The museum is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 1 to 4 p.m. weekends through September. Winter hours (October-April) are noon to 4 weekdays and other times by appointment by calling 605-925-7545.
FREEMAN: Heritage Hall Museum & Archives is inviting all area teachers to visit as their guests this summer.
“We’re offering free admission to teachers in the larger community this summer to give them an inside look at what we have to offer,” said Marnette D. (Ortman) Hofer, executive director & archivist at the Freeman museum.
“We want to be a partner in education for our area youth,” she said. “A visit here can help ‘unlock history’ for students in the 2022-23 school year. We’ll be glad to provide a personalized tour to any teacher who wants to learn more this summer.”
The museum has 25,000 square feet of galleries containing a wide array of interesting artifacts and exhibits. The exhibits tell the immigration story of Germans-from-Russia settlers, and others, who arrived in southeastern Dakota Territory in the 1870s, persevered and helped build the Freeman community.
“With more than 20,000 artifacts, our exhibits are an excellent resource for studies on South Dakota and Native American history,” Hofer noted. Galleries include a Native American Winter Count, Steven R. Riggs collection and Standing Bear exhibit.
Other exhibits include a 1927 bi-plane, a horse-drawn hearse, general store, town jail, summer kitchen, print shop, service station, vintage cars and motorcycles and agricultural equipment.
“Our updated natural world exhibit, featuring flora and fauna and geology and a mosasaur fossil, is slated to open by the start of the school year,” she said.
“We also have four historical buildings that bring history to life, including a one-room country school that can offer a unique ‘historical’ classroom experience for up to 25 students. We also have two churches and a recently restored 1887 pioneer home.
“Although the museum is designed as a self-touring experience, we can arrange for guided tours,” Hofer said. “We also have staff that is available to work with you on developing a specifically tailored experience for your class. We have created activities for our younger guests year-round that can be adapted for specific groups.”
The museum offers group rates and will work to accommodate your schedule,” Hofer said. “Although our public October-April hours are noon-4, we will gladly open our doors to accommodate school schedules.”
“The history of this part of South Dakota is rich and diverse. We believe that students and educators alike will be fascinated by what they can discover at our museum. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Call 605-925-7545 or email email@example.com. You can also learn more online at https://heritagehallmuseum.com.
“We look forward to welcoming teachers for a complimentary tour,” Hofer said. The museum is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and by appointment.
FREEMAN: Last week Heritage Hall Museum & Archives (HHM&A) received notice that the organization has been granted official status as a 501(c)(3) public charity.
Marnette D. (Ortman) Hofer, executive director of HHM&A, said "this means we are now exempt from federal income tax, and donors can deduct contributions made to us under IRC Section 170.
"It also means there are grant and funding opportunities open to us now that we did not have access to before," Hofer said.
She noted the status is retroactive to July 20, 2021, so all contributions made after that date are tax-deductible.
This is the final step in the museum's efforts to become an independent organization, Hofer said.
"Prior to our divestment from the Freeman Junior College/Freeman Academy Corporation, which was finalized this past summer, gifts to the museum were tax-deductible through Freeman Academy as our umbrella organization. While we appreciate and deeply value our shared history with FJC/FA, we are excited about our new beginning and the possibilities before us."
The divestment process began with discussions in 2017 with both the museum and Freeman Academy leadership agreeing to explore the future relationship of the two organizations.
The museum board and staff supported a move to independence. Discussions between the two boards led to a vote by the Freeman Junior College/Freeman Academy Corporation in the fall of 2019 that gave strong approval for divestment. That initiated a lengthy transition process including drawing up articles of incorporation for the museum as an independent organization. It included the transfer of ownership of all the artifacts, materials in the archives and historic buildings to the new organization. It also includes a lease agreement in which Freeman Academy retains ownership of the property and the building that is home to the museum. Although the museum has been officially registered as a not-for-profit organization in South Dakota for some time, the official federal designation completes the process.
"We have been humbled by the overwhelming support people have shown us and we look forward to continuing our mission to preserve and celebrate the history of the greater Freeman area," Hofer said. "We value all contributions to our efforts, whether they are monetary gifts or gifts of your time as volunteers or through the research and stories you share."
The museum, archives and mercantile are open from noon to 4 p.m., weekdays through April. Summer hours begin in May; the museum is open daily from May through September.
The museum is closed holidays during the winter months. That includes being closed Dec. 24-27 and Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. Regular winter hours resume Jan. 3.
More information is available at https://heritagehallmuseum.com or by calling 605-925-7545.
FREEMAN: Dr. Nathan Bates, a University of South Dakota professor, told a group of about two-dozen people at the Bethel Church Saturday evening, Oct. 30, that he’s thrilled with what he’s discovered at Heritage Hall Museum & Archives (HHM&A).
Bates, who spent time poring through the archives this summer, told the crowd he’s planning to incorporate the resources here into his German language curriculum at USD in Vermillion. The program was sponsored by HHM&A, which operates as an independent not-for-profit organization. Bates received a grant from the South Dakota Humanities Council for this project.
The archives are providing Bates with stories, personal histories and journals, documents, books and audio recordings that will help expand students’ perspectives on the impact use of German has had in shaping community life and development.
Bates singled out three examples that have caught his attention thus far.
• Daniel Unruh’s Arithmetic Book, dated 1833 and which he used in Russia, which includes bright graphic designs and notes about family history.
• A pamphlet written in 1926 by J. John Friesen, a professor at Freeman College, advocating for the use of German in the Freeman community because, in part, it represents “the higher moral ground of German culture.
• Correspondence between F.C. Ortman of Freeman and John R. Thierstein of Bluffton, Ohio in which they discuss their views about German in the World War I era.
Each, in its own way, offers insights into the attitudes and practices that were an important part of community life in the decades following the arrival of the Germans from Russia in the 1870s, Bates said.
Bates says he plans to return to continue and expand his research and have his students use the archives as a resource for their studies. That, he said, will allow them to make connections between South Dakota and the global community.
“It’s not just language,” he said. “It’s a passport to the larger world.”
The wealth of what is available in the archives and their proximity to Vermillion makes Freeman an ideal partner for his program and he’s eager to see what that will provide.
“I’m enthusiastically diving into the deep end of the pool,” he said.
In mid-August the U.S. Census Bureau released additional 2020 Census results that include county population totals. The report shows that the population in Hutchinson, McCook and Turner counties all increased slightly. The total population of the three counties now stands at 21,782, up 2.2 from 2010s 21,308
Initial results from the United States 2020 Census Bureau were announced the last week of April. They show the United States has a population of 331,449,281. An increase of 7.4% from the 2010 Census, it's the second-smallest increase since 1790, when the first census was conducted.
"We were interested in the South Dakota trends, particularly local counties," says Tim L. Waltner, communication/education coordinator at Heritage Hall Museum & Archives in Freeman.
"While the state population grew by 72,487, statewide 33 – exactly half of the state's 66 counties – lost population," he said. "Most of that came in Lincoln, Minnehaha and Pennington counties – Sioux Falls and Rapid City, the three counties with the largest populations in the state.
Lincoln (#3), at 65,161, is up 45.4%; Minnehaha (#1), at 197,214, is up 16.2%; Pennington #2), at 109,222, is up 8.2%
Hutchinson, McCook and Turner counties were among those that gained population, although at a significantly lower rate than the "big three."
Hutchinson County, at 7,427, is up 1.1% from 7,343. McCook County, at 5,682, is also up 1.1% from 5,618. Turner County shows the largest of the local three; 8,673, up 3.9% from 8,347. That reflects its proximity to rapidly growing Minnehaha and Lincoln counties.
"We also took a closer look at the population trends since immigrants arrived here in the 1870s." he said. "In a nutshell, population in Hutchinson, McCook and Turner counties grew steadily until the 1930s. The total of the three-county area in the 1930 Census was 39,111. The 2020 Census reveals it has steadily declined to 21,782, a loss of 44% of the population over the last 90 years."
"It's a fascinating trend, reflected in the accompanying graphics," he said.
That reflects a combination of fewer farms, smaller families and outmigration – primarily young people, Waltner said.
The 2020 Census reveals changes in the size and distribution of the population across the United States. The population of U.S. metro areas grew by 9% from 2010 to 2020, resulting in 86% of the population living in U.S. metro areas in 2020, compared to 85% in 2010.
"Many counties within metro areas saw growth, especially those in the south and west. However, as we've been seeing in our annual population estimates, our nation is growing slower than it used to," said Marc Perry, a senior demographer at the Census Bureau. "This decline is evident at the local level where around 52% of the counties in the United States saw their 2020 Census populations decrease from their 2010 Census populations."
It showed that the adult (age 18 and older) population group grew 10.1% to 258.3 million people over the decade.
"More than three-quarters, 77.9%, of the U.S. population were age 18 and over," said Andrew Roberts, chief of the Sex and Age Statistics Branch in the Census Bureau's Population Division. "The adult population grew faster than the nation as a whole. By comparison, the population under age 18 was 73.1 million in 2020, a decline of 1.4% from the 2010 Census."
Additional details, including small-town populations, will be available in 2020 Census data releases scheduled for later this year.
2020 census shows steady three-decade increase in South Dakota population
Initial results from the United States 2020 Census Bureau were announced the last week of April, showing a total of331,449,281 residents of the United States. That represents an increase of 7.4% from the 2010 count of 308,745,538; it’s the second-smallest decade-long growth rate since the first census was taken in 1790.
The 2020 census shows that 37 of the 50 states grew more slowly in the 2010s than in the previous decade. Three states lost population – Illinois, Mississippi and West Virginia; that the largest number of states that saw a decline since the 1980s.
However, South Dakota was among the 13 states that showed an increase in rate of growth from 2010 to 2020 – 8.9% compared to 7.9% from 2000 to 2010.
“We were curious about how that compares to previous decades,” says Tim L. Waltner, communication/education coordinator at Heritage Hall Museum & Archives in Freeman. “So we did a little digging into the history; that’s what we do. Here’s what we discovered.”
A review of census numbers going back to 1860 shows South Dakota has seen a steady rate of population growth in the past three decades; from 696,004 residents in 1900 to886,667 in 2020.
“But, as the accompanying chart shows,” Waltner says, “the most dramatic increase in population in our history came in the last three decades of the 19th century.” Census figures show that the territory/state grew from 4,837 residents in 1860 to 401,570 residents by 1900. That growth continue until the 1930s when it reached 692,849.
“The Dust Bowl and the economic impact of the Great Depression resulted in many South Dakotans leaving the state,” he said. “The state’s population declined by more than 50,000 – a loss of about 7% between 1930 and 1940. It remained relatively stable for most of the remainder of the century before the steady increase since 1990.”
“But if we want to look at the real big picture of South Dakota’s population,” Waltner said, “that means going back a lot farther.”
The land we know as South Dakota has been home to humans going back several thousand years, he noted. The first inhabitants, Paleoindian hunter-gatherers arrived as glaciers that covered the northern half of the North American continent began to gradually melt. That exposed new land for occupation around 17,500-14,500 years ago. Those Paleoindian hunter-gatherers disappeared from the area around 5000 BC. Later residents included the Mound Builders, Arikara, Hidatsa, Mandan and Sioux (Dakota and Lakota). European contact began in the 1740s, when French explorers and fur traders began exploring the region. In 1762 the region became part of Spanish Louisiana.
In 1803, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory and President Thomas Jefferson organized the "Lewis and Clark Expedition" to explore the newly acquired western portion of the country that included what today is South Dakota. An American fur trading post was established at present-day Fort Pierre in 1817; that began American settlement of the region. In 1858 the Yankton Sioux signed the 1858 Treaty, which ceded most of present-day eastern South Dakota to the United States.
Land speculators founded two of eastern South Dakota's largest present-day cities: Sioux Falls in 1856 and Yankton in and 1859.
Dakota Territory was established in 1861 by the United States government (today North Dakota, South Dakota, and parts of Montana and Wyoming). The 1862 Homestead Act drew thousands of European immigrants as well as people from the eastern United States.
“That’s where our community’s story begins,” Waltner said. “The influx of Germans-from Russia-immigrants who settled in Hutchinson, McCook and Turner counties established the larger Freeman community we know today. The arrival of the railroad in 1879 spawned our local towns.”
The 2020 census results are being released in several stages. This first release of total populations for states was scheduled for December 2020. But the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters delayed the release until now. Much more detail about population trends is expected to be shared later this year, including changes in cities and counties.
“We’re eager to learn what that will tell us about our part of South Dakota,” Waltner said. “We look forward to sharing that with folks as well.”
“Our archives are filled with history about the story of our roots, immigration and settling on the prairie nearly 150 years ago. We’re open daily weekdays and weekend afternoons. We’re also open by appointment; call 605-925-7545,” Waltner noted.
A quick look at a few 2020 census numbers
Utah is the fastest-growing state at 18.4 percent compared to 2010.
Idaho is the fastest-growing second at 17.3 percent.
Our neighbor North Dakota grew by 15.8% in the last decade.
West Virginia lost the most population, down 3.2 percent from 2010.
California is the most-populated state at 39,538,223
Texas is the second-most-populated state at 29,145,505
Florida and New York swapped rankings from previous census; Florida is now third and New York fourth in population.
South Dakota remains 46th in population ranking in the United States.
Wyoming is the least-populated state at 576,851.
Vermont is the second-least-populated state at 643,077.
Local author S. Roy Kaufman and HHM&A director Marnette (Ortman) Hofer talk about his latest book.
FREEMAN: For more than a century, Heritage Hall Museum and Archives (HHM&A) has been collecting and sharing the rich history of the greater Freeman community.
But recently, the non-profit organization has been collecting and sharing the rich “present” of the greater Freeman community.
“About a year ago we decided to give local artisans the opportunity to display and sell their wares in our museum,” explains Marnette (Ortman) Hofer, Executive Director and Archivist at HHM&A, which traces its roots back to Freeman College in 1911.
The HHM&A Mercantile was established last year in the lobby of the museum and has expanded in the months that followed. Today, it includes a wide array of items created by people who live here or have ties to the community. For example, you’ll find stained glass from Heidi Schrag, note cards from Polly Waltner and scarves from Kevin Gross. There are knitted items, birdhouses and art prints. There are books by authors who grew up in this community including Rodney Hofer, Jim Kaufman, S. Roy Kaufman and John D. Unruh Jr. You can learn more at heritagehallmuseum.com/museum-mercantile.
“We’re thrilled to support the creativity of these authors and artists,” Hofer says. “Our mission is to preserve and celebrate the lives of the people of this community and this is a natural extension of that mission.”
All items are sold by consignment and proceeds from the sale help support that mission, she explained.
The mercantile also includes T-shirts and notecards from the museum as well as items celebrating the South Dakota Chislic Festival. You can find a sample of items at http://heritagehallmuseum.com/museum-mercantile .
HHM&A is open from noon to 4 p.m., Mondays through Fridays except on holidays; winter hours continue through April. Hours are expanded May through September.
The mercantile and the archives are open to the public at no charge; anyone wanting research assistance is encouraged to call 605-925-7545 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. There is an admission fee to tour the museum
HHM&A is taking precautions because of COVID-19. Groups are limited to 10 or less, guests will be staggered and are asked to wear masks.
Additional information about the museum’s history and displays is available online at heritagehallmuseum.com and on the Heritage Hall Museum and Archives Facebook page.
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Heritage Hall Museum in Freeman, South Dakota tells the story of the German-from-Russia immigrants and others who settled in southeastern Dakota Territory in the 1870s. Our South Dakota museum has over 20,000 historical items on display!