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Brookings City

Brookings County, South Dakota

Brookings City Hall is located at 520 3rd Street, Brookings, SD 57006; phone: 605‑692‑6281.

Fishback House

Photo: Fishback House, circa 1895, Located at 501 8th Street, Brookings. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Photographed by User:Jatakuck (own work), 2011, [cc-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons, accessed August, 2022.

Brookings [1], located approximately three miles from the Big Sioux River in the center of Brookings County, is surrounded by fertile prairie land and bordered by Six Mile Creek at its northwest corner. Rich soil, the presence of the railroad, and the establishment of the South Dakota State University facilitated the settlement and growth of Brookings.


Brookings as described in 1938 [2]

Brookings, named for Judge W. W. Brookings, was platted in 1879. For a short time its name had been Ada. Depending to a large extent upon student trade for its support, Brookings might be considered a typical college town. A prosperous farming area surrounding it is also stimulative to business, and many retired farmers live here. With neat, well-kept lawns and many shaded homes, Brookings possesses much quiet beauty.

The many departments of the South Dakota College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts include numbers industrial courses and practically every branch of science connected with agriculture, ranging from agronomy to veterinary courses. The college campus comprises attractive lawns and 18 well-equipped buildings, including 2 dormitories for women and a spacious armory that serves multiple purposes. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 1934, the college has graduated about 23,000 students.

The Coughlin Campanile and Chimes, rising 165 feet and dwarfing all other buildings in the city, was given to the college by Charles L. Coughlin, an electrical engineering graduate, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of his graduation. He was a South Dakota farm boy from near Carthage, and is now a prominent manufacturer.

A group of settlers purchased the land for Brookings from H.S. Aaby and Lewis Limesand and then donated Section 26, Township 110, Range 50 to the Chicago and Northwestern Railway, which was platted in October 1879. The northeast corner of this donated section later became the location of the Brookings Central Residential Historic District. The settlers who donated the land were businessmen interested in establishing Brookings as a commercial center. Judge Wilmot W. Brookings, an early pioneer of Dakota Territory, served as the namesake for the newly platted town. Though Brookings never lived in the city of Brookings, he was renowned as a governor of the Dakota Territory, organizer of the Dakota Southern Railroad and a member of the state Constitutional Convention.

  1. Barabara Kooiman and Elizabeth A. Butterfiel, U.S.WestResearch.Inc., Brookings Central Residential Historic District, nomination document, 1994,National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C., accessed August, 2022.
  2. Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration of the State of South Dakota, A South Dakota Guide, South Dakota Guide Commission, American Guide Series, State Publishing Company, Pierre SD, 1938.