Custer, South Dakota

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Custer
City
Custer, South Dakota
The main street in 2003
The main street in 2003
Location in Custer County and the state of South Dakota
Location in Custer County and the state of South Dakota
Coordinates: 43°46′6″N 103°35′51″W / 43.76833°N 103.59750°W / 43.76833; -103.59750
CUSTER SOUTH DAKOTA Latitude and Longitude:

43°46′6″N 103°35′51″W / 43.76833°N 103.59750°W / 43.76833; -103.59750
Country United States
State South Dakota
County Custer
Founded 1875 [1]
Area [2]
 • Total 2.54 sq mi (6.58 km2)
 • Land 2.53 sq mi (6.55 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)
Elevation 5,315 ft (1,620 m)
Population ( 2010) [3]
 • Total 1,987
 • Estimate (2015) [4] 1,952
 • Density 817.0/sq mi (315.4/km2)
Time zone MST ( UTC-7)
 • Summer ( DST) MDT ( UTC-6)
Zip Code 57730
Area code(s) 605
FIPS code 46-15140 [5]
GNIS feature ID 1265633 [6]
Website City of Custer

Custer is a city in Custer County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 1,987 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Custer County. [7]

History

Oxen-drawn freight team entering Custer in 1876

Custer is generally considered[ by whom?] to be the oldest town established by European Americans in the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming. Gold was found there during the 1874 Black Hills Expedition, conducted by the 7th Cavalry led by Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer, a discovery which initiated the Black Hills Gold Rush.[ citation needed]

For thousands of years, the Black Hills had been part of the territory of varying tribes of indigenous peoples. They were within historical territory of the Oglala Sioux at the time of United States encounter, and within the Great Sioux Reservation established by the US Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868). Having established dominance in the area by the eighteenth century, the Oglala Sioux had long considered the Black Hills as sacred land.[ citation needed]

After increasing encroachment by Americans and violent confrontations, the U.S. government forced the Sioux to cede much of the Black Hills in 1877, and opened the land for individual purchase and settlement. In 1875 trespassing gold-boomers named their settlement Stonewall (after the Confederate general, Stonewall Jackson), but it was renamed for Custer. [8] Almost abandoned in 1876 after word of the much larger gold strikes in Deadwood Gulch spread, Custer later became an established city.[ citation needed]

Custer has had a smaller population and been less wealthy than the Northern Hills cities of Deadwood and Lead. In addition to gold, Custer and other cities based their economies on the extraction of industrial minerals, which are still important to the regional economy. Custer claims to have the widest Main Street in the United States. The city made the street wide enough in the nineteenth century for a team of oxen pulling a wagon to turn completely around.[ citation needed]

Custer annually observes a "Gold Discovery Days" celebration and festivities over the last full weekend of July. This heritage tourism event celebrates the discovery of gold by the Custer expedition in nearby French Creek and the subsequent founding of the town.[ citation needed]

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.54 square miles (6.58 km2), of which, 2.53 square miles (6.55 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water. [2]

Custer has been assigned the ZIP code 57730 and the FIPS place code 15140. Its primary telephone prefix is 673 in area code 605.

Climate

Custer has a humid continental climate ( Köppen Dfb) with summers featuring very warm afternoons and cool mornings, and cold, extremely variable winters.

Winter weather is dominated by the conflict between cold Arctic air moving south from Canada, and very warm chinook winds which can produce exceptionally high winter temperatures for the latitude and altitude. For instance, January 19 of 1963 saw the coldest temperature ever of −43 °F or −41.7 °C, yet in just over two weeks on February 5, Custer reached 65 °F or 18.3 °C.

The coldest month has been January 1957, which averaged 9.7 °F (−12.4 °C) and included twenty-two mornings reaching 0 °F or −17.8 °C – in contrast only one morning fell below zero Fahrenheit in the winter of 2015–16. On average the first temperature of 0 °F (−17.8 °C) will occur around November 25, and the last around March 8, whilst the corresponding window for freezing temperatures is from September 6 to June 2, allowing a frost-free season of only ninety-five days. Snowfall averages 55.9 inches or 1.42 metres, and has ranged from 93.3 inches (2.37 m) between July 1998 and June 1999, down to 15.9 inches (0.40 m) during the very mild and dry winter of 1933–34. The frequent chinooks limit snow cover: even in January the mean is only 2.0 inches or 0.051 metres and only eight months have not had at least one day with no snow on the ground. The most snow on the ground in Custer has been 27 inches (0.69 m) on April 15, 1927.

Custer’s altitude makes summers much milder than in the Great Plains proper: only seven afternoons rise above 90 °F or 32.2 °C and 100 °F or 37.8 °C has been reached only once in 1954. The transitional spring season is similarly variable to the winter: as much as 50.0 inches (1.27 m) of snow fell in April 1920 – the snowiest month on record – but 70 °F or 21.1 °C has been reached as early as March 15 of 2003 and 80 °F or 26.7 °C as early as April 21, 1989. Most precipitation falls from spring and early summer thunderstorms: of the 19.65 inches or 499.1 millimeters of precipitation expected each year, 11.20 inches (284.5 mm) can be expected from April to July. May 1978 with 8.81 inches (223.8 mm) has been the wettest month, while the wettest calendar year has been 1998 with 27.11 inches (688.6 mm) and the driest 1916 with 9.27 inches (235.5 mm).

Climate data for Custer, South Dakota (elevation 5,480 feet or 1,670 meters)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 68
(20)
68
(20)
72
(22)
84
(29)
90
(32)
97
(36)
100
(38)
96
(36)
97
(36)
85
(29)
76
(24)
68
(20)
100
(38)
Mean maximum °F (°C) 56
(13)
56
(13)
64
(18)
72
(22)
80
(27)
87
(31)
92
(33)
90
(32)
85
(29)
75
(24)
62
(17)
54
(12)
93
(34)
Average high °F (°C) 36.8
(2.7)
38.1
(3.4)
45.1
(7.3)
52.7
(11.5)
62.2
(16.8)
71.7
(22.1)
79.9
(26.6)
78.8
(26)
70.2
(21.2)
56.6
(13.7)
43.9
(6.6)
35.7
(2.1)
56.0
(13.3)
Daily mean °F (°C) 26.0
(−3.3)
27.4
(−2.6)
33.7
(0.9)
40.9
(4.9)
50.4
(10.2)
59.4
(15.2)
67.0
(19.4)
65.7
(18.7)
56.8
(13.8)
44.5
(6.9)
33.3
(0.7)
25.3
(−3.7)
44.2
(6.8)
Average low °F (°C) 15.2
(−9.3)
16.7
(−8.5)
22.3
(−5.4)
29.0
(−1.7)
38.6
(3.7)
47.2
(8.4)
54.2
(12.3)
52.5
(11.4)
43.3
(6.3)
32.3
(0.2)
22.8
(−5.1)
15.0
(−9.4)
32.4
(0.2)
Mean minimum °F (°C) −10
(−23)
−10
(−23)
0
(−18)
11
(−12)
24
(−4)
34
(1)
42
(6)
40
(4)
26
(−3)
14
(−10)
2
(−17)
−10
(−23)
−20
(−29)
Record low °F (°C) −43
(−42)
−34
(−37)
−30
(−34)
−8
(−22)
5
(−15)
19
(−7)
30
(−1)
22
(−6)
8
(−13)
−5
(−21)
−25
(−32)
−37
(−38)
−43
(−42)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.33
(8.4)
0.67
(17)
1.03
(26.2)
2.04
(51.8)
3.58
(90.9)
2.83
(71.9)
2.75
(69.9)
2.33
(59.2)
1.67
(42.4)
1.47
(37.3)
0.58
(14.7)
0.37
(9.4)
19.65
(499.1)
Average snowfall inches (cm) 6.4
(16.3)
10.3
(26.2)
12.0
(30.5)
10.6
(26.9)
1.2
(3)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.2
(0.5)
3.6
(9.1)
6.1
(15.5)
5.5
(14)
55.9
(142)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 3.4 4.9 6.2 9.0 13.4 12.4 11.0 9.6 8.0 6.5 4.3 3.6 92.3
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 3.7 5.7 5.7 3.9 0.5 0 0 0 0.3 2.0 3.9 3.7 29.4
Source: NOAA (1981-2010 Normals) [9] [10]

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 271
1890 790 191.5%
1900 599 −24.2%
1910 602 0.5%
1920 595 −1.2%
1930 1,203 102.2%
1940 1,845 53.4%
1950 2,017 9.3%
1960 2,105 4.4%
1970 1,597 −24.1%
1980 1,830 14.6%
1990 1,741 −4.9%
2000 1,860 6.8%
2010 2,067 11.1%
Est. 2016 1,956 [11] −5.4%
U.S. Decennial Census [12]
2015 Estimate [4]

2010 census

As of the census [3] of 2010, there were 1987 people, 956 households, and 535 families residing in the city. The population density was 817.0 inhabitants per square mile (315.4/km2).

Shop in Custer main street 2006

There were 1,129 housing units at an average density of 446.2 per square mile (172.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.8% White, 0.5% African American, 2.6% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.6% of the population.

There were 956 households of which 24.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.5% were married couples living together, 8.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 44.0% were non-families. 40.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.06 and the average family size was 2.74.

The median age in the city was 47.5 years. 21.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.2% were from 25 to 44; 29.7% were from 45 to 64; and 22.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.8% male and 52.2% female.

2000 census

As of the census [5] of 2000, there were 1,860 people, 825 households, and 491 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,033.6 people per square mile (399.0/km²). There were 934 housing units at an average density of 519.0 per square mile (200.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.97% White, 0.38% African American, 1.61% Native American, 0.16% Asian, 0.38% from other races, and 1.51% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.51% of the population.

Downtown Custer, South Dakota

There were 825 households out of which 27.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.6% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.4% were non-families. 36.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.85.

In the city, the population was spread out with 23.3% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 24.6% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 19.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 92.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.6 males.

As of 2000 the median income for a household in the city was $31,739, and the median income for a family was $41,313. Males had a median income of $28,942 versus $19,688 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,216. About 6.7% of families and 11.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.9% of those under age 18 and 13.2% of those age 65 or over.

Although the incorporated city has a small population, many residents associated with it and the workforce live outside the city limits in unincorporated Custer County. A steady stream of tourists year round and those attracted to the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally add much to the economy and seasonal population of the city.

Economy

Custer Post Office

In addition to continued mining of precious metals, industrial minerals form the basis of today's local mining industry. Timber harvesting and production, tourism, and government services form the basis for the economy. Custer is the headquarters for the Supervisor of the Black Hills National Forest of South Dakota and Wyoming. It is convenient to major tourist attractions, such as Jewel Cave National Monument, Wind Cave National Park, Custer State Park, and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The Crazy Horse Memorial is located just north of the city.

The South Dakota State Treatment and Rehabilitation Academy is located south of town and partially within Custer State Park. The Department of Corrections operates the facility for juvenile offenders. An 87-bed hospital, Custer Regional, provides general medical, surgical, and emergency room services. [13]

Custer is home to the Bedrock City campground, which attracts visitors to its construction of the fictional town of Bedrock from the animated television series The Flintstones.

Custer State Park, just outside town, is one of the major tourist destinations in the area during the summer. During the fall, the visitors are mostly hunters hoping to kill deer or turkey in the surrounding forest.

Radio

KFCR AM 1490, owned by Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting, Inc.

Notable people

Notable animals

Bibliography


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