Scenic, South Dakota

Scenic is an unincorporated community in Pennington County, South Dakota, United States. It is located within Scenic Township, which had a 2010 census population of 58 inhabitants. The community is located adjacent to the Badlands National Park, about 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Rapid City,[3] or about one hour by car,[4] along Highway 44.

Scenic, South Dakota
Scenic SD.jpg
Scenic is located in South Dakota
Location within the state of South Dakota
Scenic is located in the United States
Scenic (the United States)
Coordinates: 43°46′46.6″N 102°33′13″W / 43.779611°N 102.55361°W / 43.779611; -102.55361Coordinates: 43°46′46.6″N 102°33′13″W / 43.779611°N 102.55361°W / 43.779611; -102.55361
CountryUnited States
StateSouth Dakota
 • Total134.2 sq mi (347.6 km2)
 • Land133.9 sq mi (346.9 km2)
 • Water0.3 sq mi (0.7 km2)
2,900 ft (884 m)
 • Total10
 • Density0.6/sq mi (0.3/km2)
Time zoneUTC-7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)605
FIPS code46-57820[1]
GNIS feature ID1268730[2]


A view of the now defunct Longhorn Store in 2017.

The community was so named for the "scenic" setting of the town site.[5]

As an economic decline hit the town in the 21st century, local businesswoman Twila Merrill acquired more and more of the town property until she owned most of it.[4]

In July 2011, the 12-acre (4.9 ha) town and surrounding area—about 46 acres (19 ha) total—was listed for sale at $799,000. The sale included the post office (ZIP code 57780), Longhorn Saloon, a dance hall, bunkhouse, museum, and two stores.[3][6][7] It also includes a train depot[7] that is on an abandoned line that was part of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad and is the subject of a 104-mile (167 km) rails-to-trail project between Rapid City and Kadoka.[8]

In August 2011, the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC, English: Church of Christ), an independent, nontrinitarian Christian denomination based in the Philippines, bought the property for nearly $800,000, Pennington County records show.[9][10] The church never disclosed why it acquired the property. In 2014, Daniel Simmons-Ritchie of the Rapid City Journal wrote that the INC "has done little with the town since its purchase."[4]

In April 2015, an INC minister moved to the area and soon afterwards began leading services for 10–15 congregants who live near Scenic.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ a b Got $799,000? You could buy a town in South Dakota, a July 27, 2011 CNN article
  4. ^ a b c Simmons-Ritchie, Daniel. "Got a spare $400,000? Buy your own town: Swett, South Dakota." Rapid City Journal. Circa June 28/29, 2014. Retrieved on June 30, 2014. "In 2011, the town of Scenic, about an hour southeast of Rapid City, was put on the selling block for $799,000. The town was largely owned by Twila Merril, a woman who slowly acquired the town's property as it fell on hard times.[...]called Iglesia Ni Cristo, which has done little with the town since its purchase. The church has never publicly commented on why it bought the town."
  5. ^ Federal Writers' Project (1940). South Dakota place-names, v.1–3. American guide series. University of South Dakota. p. 60.
  6. ^ Small South Dakota Town on Sale for $799,000 from ABC News
  7. ^ a b "Township". Retrieved 2011-07-28. Overview of Longhorn Enterprises, LLC various properties included in the sale: 46-Acres (approximately 12 acres in town-lots & 34 acres surrounding) U.S Post Office Land Lease…..Longhorn Fuel & Food Convenience Store, World Famous Longhorn Saloon, Very Large Dance Hall with basketball court, Large Museum with knotty pine interiors, Bunkhouse sleeps 8–10, 2 freestanding Retail Stores, Historic Train Depot, One Working Jail, One Abandoned Historic Jail, Many Out-Buildings, Residence Home, Residence Modular Home.
  8. ^ About The Trail Archived 2012-03-28 at the Wayback Machine from The West River Trails Coalition
  9. ^ O'Connor, Clare (August 19, 2011). "Sold! $799,000 South Dakota Town Finds A Buyer". Forbes.
  10. ^ staff, Barbara Soderlin Journal. "Filipino church buys Scenic property". Rapid City Journal Media Group.
  11. ^ O'Connell, Max B. (July 12, 2015). "Church begins services in Scenic". Rapid City Journal. Retrieved 27 October 2015.