|125th Quasquicentennial Celebration > Gann Valley gearing up for a Celebration
|As published in The Miller Press May 26, 2010
Ruth A. Moller
Quasquicentennial. It's a fancy word meaning a 125th anniversary...and Gann Valley is
planning a bang-up Quasquicentennial Celebration on Saturday, July 31.
Things are still in the planning stages, but certain activities are already on the agenda for an
eventful, fun-filled day and evening in the county seat of Buffalo County.
According to Buffalo County auditor, Elaine Wulff, the day's activities will get underway with the
arrival of a wagon train from Shelby. For those who don't know - it's not on the map - Shelby
was once a community southwest of Gann Valley (Wulff says it had a post office, and there was a clear wagon path from Shelby to
Gann Valley). A Shelby School was located in Dewey Township.
A parade at 10 a.m. will be followed by numerous games and other activities, including a kids' pedal pull.
A supper will begin at 5 p.m., followed by a dance.
Wulff says there will also be a raffle for a quilt, which has a star pattern on one side and the town's 125th logo on the other.
More information will be provided as the anniversary date gets closer.
Buffalo County has a long, vibrant history. The first inhabitants were Arickara Indians. A few men of French descent came through the
area in the late 1700s, and Lewis and Clark came through the area in 1804 and returned that way in 1806.
Buffalo County, created by act of the legislature in 1863, was once the largest county in what is now South Dakota...comprising an
area of 5,000 square miles, and it was one of the first counties to be given a name.
The first white settlement was established in 1862 at Fort Thompson.
An early pioneer who came to Buffalo County in 1883 recalled, "There was no village of Gann Valley at that time, only a house, 12x16,
covering the four corners just north of where the town is now, occupied by four families 'holding down' four 'claims,' each family eating
and sleeping in their own corner of the house."
Duncan Post Office was selected as a temporary meeting place until a permanent county seat could be located. On January 14,
1885, the proposals of A.L. Spencer donating 30 acres of land in Section 33-107-68, and Herst C. Gann donating a courthouse
building were accepted. On January 19, 1885, the county commissioners, appointed by Governor Pierce, met at the new location and
it was officially declared the county seat, and named "Gann Valley."
The first general county election was held in November 1886, and the county seat was changed to Buffalo Center, where it remained
until April 1888, when it was again relocated to Gann Valley.
With its rolling hills, Buffalo County has long been cow country, complete with ranches, rodeos, and Western spirit.
And Gann Valley became an up and coming town. Over the years it boasted banks, hotels, a creamery, a newspaper, school, church,
service stations, a feed store, millinery, barber, general stores and cafes and the post office. A doctor served the populace in the early
One thing that didn't happen, but not because pioneers didn't work for it, was to get train service to the town. Goods coming into Gann
Valley (and going out) were shipped by horse-drawn freighters. The first freight hauled by truck was in 1914, when a man named
Charley Trainer purchased a Model T.
Today's claim to fame includes the fact that Gann Valley is the center for population in South Dakota. It has recently built a new fire
hall, which demonstrates the residents' goal of looking to the future.
Over the years, the town of Gann Valley has lost most of its business district, but the pioneer spirit of the residents-past and
present-continues. The planning committee is hoping for a great turnout to celebrate 125 years of Gann Valley and Buffalo County