New book details history of Black Hills tourism

A news release from the South Dakota State Historical Society:

PIERRE, S.D.—Tourists in the Black Hills are a common sight, but 100 years ago they were few and far between. A new book just released by the South Dakota State Historical Society describes how the region became a magnet for visitors.

A Marvelous Hundred Square Miles: Black Hills Tourism, 1880-1941,” by Suzanne Barta Julin, is a fast-paced, thoughtful and informative book that explains how government and private groups worked to make the Black Hills an important destination. The efforts included pamphlets published to entice travelers to go to the Hills, from which the title of Julin’s book originated.

Julin discusses the influences that helped create a prosperous industry before World War II. The Black Hills contain a national park, two national monuments, one of the largest state parks in the country, and the iconic Mount Rushmore. As Julin points out, all those things are the result of systematic endeavors to make the area attractive as a tourist destination.

“A Marvelous Hundred Square Miles” includes more than 70 black-and-white photographs and two maps. Also featured are famous people who helped develop Black Hills tourism, including Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Peter Norbeck, Nicholas Black Elk, Gutzon Borglum, Calamity Jane, Grover Cleveland, and many others.

Julin, an award-winning author, was born and raised in South Dakota. She received her Ph.D. from Washington State University in Pullman. She currently works as a public historian for local, state and national organizations, specializing in 20th-century South Dakota and western history.

Available for $25.95 plus shipping and tax, “A Marvelous Hundred Square Miles” can be purchased from most bookstores or ordered directly from the South Dakota State Historical Society Press. Visit or call (605) 773-6009.

About Author

Seth Tupper

Seth Tupper was born and raised in South Dakota and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from South Dakota State University in 2001. After college, he worked at a newspaper in Minnesota and then returned to South Dakota in 2003 to join the staff of The Daily Republic in Mitchell, where he is currently the publisher. Seth has won numerous awards for his writing, including the 2007 Outstanding Young Journalist award in the daily newspapers category of the South Dakota Newspaper Association's Better Newspapers Contest. Seth's day-job and freelance work have granted him opportunities to meet hundreds of South Dakotans and travel across much of the state. He also spends a lot of his free time exploring South Dakota's state and national parks, hiking trails and kayak-friendly rivers.


  1. Martyn
    Martyn 21 June, 2011, 18:20

    Seth, would you like a review copy of this book? Looks like you have a good blog going here and if you would agree to write a review, I’d be happy to send you a copy of the book.

    Let me know.


    Reply this comment
  2. Seth Tupper
    Seth Tupper 21 June, 2011, 18:20


    Among the many things I love about being a journalist, one is getting free books. I’d love a copy, and I’ll happily write a review. I’ll send you an e-mail with my address.

    Reply this comment

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