Sitting Bull Memorial
A 10-minute trip from Mobridge, back across the Missouri to the Grand River Casino and Resort, then south on Hwy-1806, will bring you to the Sitting Bull Memorial. This is the final resting place of the great Sioux leader, after his body was disinterred in 1953 from Fort Yates in a surreptitious and still-controversial move. Whatever injustice or disrespect exhuming his body may have incurred, this magnificent view, high on a palisade hilltop looking southeast over the river, is at least worthier than the previous site. The six-foot granite bust that serves as Sitting Bull’s tombstone was carved by the late Korczak Ziolkowski, the sculptor who began the quixotic Crazy Horse Memorial carving near Mt. Rushmore.
Twenty-odd miles east and slightly south of Mobridge, US-83 passes through diminutive Selby (pop. 642), a sleepy middle-American hamlet with grain farming and water towers, populated with children riding bikes home at dusk, families enjoying ice cream cones at Mr. Bob’s Drive-Inn, and teenagers rumbling down Main Street in their muscle cars.
Between Selby and the state capital at Pierre, there’s nothing of dramatic importance. Highway hypnosis is kept at bay by a roadside marker 5 miles south of Selby, standing on the site of the vanished town of Bangor; farther south, then 13 miles east of US-83, the large Cathedral of the Prairie looms over the hamlet of Hoven (pop. 406).
And then, finally, a town—or at least some grain elevators and a turquoise water tower. Agar (pop. 76), “Home of the 1977 State B Track Champions,” is a classic single-sidewalk leg-stretch where the Pepsi machine seems as large as the filling station it rests against. The same goes for little Onida (pop. 658), with a handsome onion-domed courthouse, a water tower emblazoned with a sunflower, and a cute city park complete with swimming pool and horseshoe courts. You’d hardly guess that this was once a thriving homesteader boomtown, full of transplanted New Yorkers who named it after Oneida, with no apparent reason for the change in spelling.