Gregory, South Dakota

History About the Gregory Area

As the United States was racing into the 20th century, Gregory County was part of the "Last Frontier" opened to settlers. The Arikara and Ree Indians had long since vanished. The Sioux, who roamed the area since the mid 1800's, had been regulated to the Rosebud, Pine Ridge, Cheyenne, Standing Rock and Lower Brule reservations, and and ambitious congressmen had persuaded President Roosevelt to open the territory for settlement.

The presidential proclamation was made public on May 15, 1904 which opened western Gregory County for settlement. Registration was held throughout the month of July, and on the 28th of that month, 2600 lucky land seekers received their 160 acre tracts.

August 8, 1904, Gregory was formally opened to the public as a government town-site. By June 23, 1905, Gregory was boasting 250 buildings and 500 inhabitants that filled an area which consisted of four surveyor's holes and a stake just the August before. Some of the larger businesses included two banks, two hardware stores, a meat market, two lumber companies, three hotels, a restaurant, a grocery, a furniture store, a pool hall, a photographer's studio, a drug store, two newspapers, three livery barns and three blacksmith and machine shops. The community also now had a public school with 56 pupils, a U.S. Land Commissioner, and the Interstate Telephone Company was building an exchange.

By 1906, land that had sold the previous year for $500 to $800 per quarter was selling for $2500 to $3500 per quarter. The year 1906 also brought news that the railroad had contracted for the first stretch of track from Bonesteel to Gregory.

In 1907, Gregory citizens voted to construct a $12,000 water works, and investors agreed to install electric lights. Local businessmen constructed a City Hall, and an Opera House Company organized for the purpose of constructing an opera house and town hall.

By the end of 1908, the great registration for the Tripp County lands was on, and fifteen regular trains arrived in Gregory daily, packed with passengers. From these beginnings, Gregory continued to grow and prosper, making its mark as a service center for the farmers and ranchers in the area. The hospitality and service-oriented people of the community continued to cater to the residents of the area. Honest, hard-working people continue to make up the core of the area's population, making Gregory today a tremendous place to live and grow.

Source: Gregory Centennial Committee's Celebration Brochure, July 4, 2004