Menno, SD

History

Menno owes its beginnings to the railroad industry. A railroad line was necessary to transport livestock and grain to market. In 1879 the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad began laying tracks through the area. The commerce the railroad brought to the area resulted in the towns of Menno and Freeman being laid out. Its first local census showed 22 people living in Menno, most because of the rail line.

When the railroad officials were hanging up the town names on the depots of Menno and Freeman, they put “Menno” on the depot that was suppose to be the town of Freeman and “Freeman” on the depot that was suppose to be the town of Menno. Menno was to be named Freeman because of the oppression left behind in Russia. Due to this mix up, the City of Menno is named for the predominant Mennonite sect of Freeman.

Most of the early settlers in the Menno area were Germans from Russia. Immigrants from the Kassel and Crimea area of the Black Sea made the Menno area their home. They scratched out a living from the land and lived in sod houses. They went through the emigration process to escape oppression and having their young men forced to serve in the Russian armed forces. When you visit Menno today, you will find that a majority of its citizens are descendants of these early German’s from Russia who are proud of their heritage and continue to celebrate it.

Things to Do

July 4

Annual Celebration Road Races at 7 a.m., parade at 11 a.m., Pork barbecue following the parade, afternoon entertainment at the American Legion, baseball game in the evening at 7 p.m. with fantastic fireworks display following the baseball game.

4th Saturday in August

Menno Car Show, sponsored by the Menno Area Development Corporation

  • Cars, trucks & motorcycles, 7-9 classes judged & trophies given – Music – Museum & Fire Department serving food.

3rd Weekend after Labor Day

Menno Pioneer Heritage Associations sponsors the Power Show. “The purpose for which the MPHA was formed is to create a living museum dedicated to the preservation of the cultural and ethic heritage found in southeastern South Dakota. We are proud to share the history of our forefathers and their way of life. We believe in the preservation of our rich heritage to enable the experience of learning through living history.” Has something for everyone! Toy Show, Steam Building, Flea Market & Craft Fair, Petting Zoo, Miniature Golf, Children’s Pedal Pull, Barrel Train, Ferris Wheel, Mini-Rod Pull, Antique tractor pull, Women’s Building (Different display every year.), Sawmill & Edger, Steam Threshing & Plowing, Corn Cutting-Shelling-Chopping & Binding, Antique Car & Tractor Parade, Flour mill, Jail, the new Farm Remnant Emporium, Gas Engine Building, Sod House, Old School House, Church, Train Depot and much more! Features a different line of tractors, gas engines, cars & trucks every year. For more information contact Gerold Mettler, 605-387-2323. Visit www.pioneeracres.com

Oktoberfest

Traditionally held the 1st Saturday in October. German or Russian entertainment and a meal or buffet.

Pheasant & Deer Hunting

Menno is known to be a popular hunting location for local area hunters. If you would like to learn more information about hunting in the Menno area please contact us using the information below.

Attractions

Menno Heritage Museum & Annex

Gottlieb Schmitt House – 120 years old, on the National Register of Historic Places When entering the Schmitt House Museum, you have the sense of stepping back in time to a family dwelling of the late 1800’s. All items are on loan or were donated by residents, former residents or pioneer families. The Annex – Used to be the shoe shop. The museum is home to exhibits and memorabilia from Menno’s founding to the community’s early development. Patrons can view artifacts dating back from 1874 and ranging from a Schnitzelbank to a covered wagon wheel to a German helmet and a spinning wheel. Admission is free of charge. The museum is funded by the historical society memberships and other donations.

Pioneer Acres – Home of the Menno Power Show

Assortment of historic buildings – see above “Things To Do – 3rd weekend after Labor Day” 

Menno Livestock Auction

An octagon shaped building (eight-sides) built for the Menno Stock Show in the early 1900’s, now used weekly for livestock auctions.

Menno Lake

Menno lost their lake when the earthen dam gave way due to heavy rains in the 1980’s. The Lake Menno Development Corporation was formed and was instrumental in obtaining grants and raising funds to build a new dam and restore the lake. Lake Menno covers 40 surface acres and contains bass, crappie, perch, sunfish, catfish and bullheads. It offers 9 campsites with electrical hookups, 3 picnic shelters with electricity, a drinkable water supply, a restroom and boat ramp. There is accessibility for the handicapped so they may enjoy fishing too!

Contact Information

For more information, visit the official Menno web site or write for a brochure and community guide at the address below.

  • Address: City of Menno, PO Box 432, Menno, SD 57045-0432
  • Phone: 605-387-2427
  • Website: mennosd.org

Source: City of Menno

Categories: Cities, Eastern SD

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