Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

Belle Fourche - Civic Life & History

Named “beautiful fork” for the convergence of the Belle Fourche and Redwater Rivers near the town by French trappers in the area, Belle Fourche is the county seat of Butte County, and has catered to the needs of local cowboys and ranchers for many years. The culture of the community still reflects the region's roots in agriculture and ranching. The city is the geographic center of the United States, as memorialized at the local Center of the Nation Visitor Center and Monument. The town was originally settled during the gold rush of 1876 by farmers and ranchers alike and later flourished when Seth Bullock brought the railroad to Belle Fourche. Read more about Belle Fourche here.

Find a list of community organizations in Belle Fourche here.

Arts & Culture

Belle Fourche has a variety of artistic and cultural events and opportunities for residents and visitors alike. During the summer months, Hometown Thursdays welcome people to Belle Fourche Main Street for a weekly music festival, as well as welcoming food and craft vendors and children’s activities. The Belle Fourche Arts Council works to promote arts and cultural events in Belle Fourche and Butte County. They offer a free summer concert series in Hermann Park. Originally organized in 1931, the Belle Fourche Cowboy Band performs at area events, parades, and fairs.

Belle Fourche is also home to the annual Center of the Nation All Car Rally in June, which is a public event that includes a car show and other activities. The Center of the Nation Concert Association also works to bring events to Belle Fourche and the surrounding area with a yearly concert series. Every August, the Butte/Lawrence County Fair is held in Nisland.

The Black Hills Round Up Rodeo is one of the oldest continually held outdoor rodeos in the United States. Held in Belle Fourche during the Fourth of July weekend, people come from all over the country and abroad to watch and participate in this weekend-long event. Residents and tourists can visit the Center of the Nation Visitor Center and Tri-State Museum to learn about Belle Fourche and the region’s history and what to do during your stay in the area.

Historical Photos & Documents Online

The prints and photographs section of the Library of Congress has several images related to Butte County, mainly contributed by John Gabrill, which depict Devil's Tower and ranching scenes from the late 1800s.

The Black Hills Knowledge Network, in partnership with Rapid City Public Library, has collected a number of photos, historic documents, and news articles regarding the Black Hills area, including Belle Fourche.

Belle Fourche: A Black Hills Knowledge Network Collection: Belle Fourche: A Black Hills Knowledge Network Collection includes photographs of every day life in the early twentieth century for residents of Belle Fourche.  The images capture farm life, livestock, Butte County farms, agricultural displays and competitions, youth groups, and much more.

To explore other Black Hills area anthologies on the Black Hills Knowledge Network, see our Digital Archives page.  

Museums, Libraries, & Archives

Museums

Center of the Nation Tri-State Museum/Visitor Center

Located at 415 5th Avenue in Belle Fourche, the Center of the Nation Visitor Center and Tri-State Museum provides visitors the opportunity to learn about Belle Fourche's rich history and how to spend your time in Belle Fourche and the surrounding areas. Located at the Visitor Center is a Monument marking Belle Fourche as the geographical center of the United States.

Libraries

Belle Fourche Public Library: The Belle Fourche Public Library, located on 5th Avenue in Belle Fourche, offers residents a wide variety of services, including a large book collection, internet and computer access, interlibrary loan services, and children’s programs. The library also has special collections of South Dakota Genealogy and Census Records from 1860 to 1930.

Archives

Butte County Historical Society: The Butte County Historical Society is dedicated to gathering, preserving, and promoting local history and research in an educational and interesting way. It is located in Belle Fourche.

Religion

2010 survey of churches in Butte County provides only a partial reflection of religious adherence in the area. A majority of people, 6,519, were not identified with a specific religion or denomination. Of those who did respond, 1,754 people were members of Mainline Protestant churches. Catholic churches accounted for 784 congregants, while another 626 people in the area were listed as Evangelical Protestant. View a Black Hills Knowledge Network graph of this data here.

Find a list of Belle Fourche churches and congregations compiled by the city government here.

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