Dell Rapids City Park Pool – Dell Rapids SD


"Stretching back almost a century ago, the residents of Dell Rapids beat the South Dakota heat with a dip in the Big Sioux River. An historic quartzite bathhouse, built in 1934 as a Civil Works Administration project, is the only remaining monument to one of the most popular swimming beaches in the state."

–City of Dell Rapids

"During the 1930s, new attractions were added to the popular park. In 1931, the local Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) group were able to rescue one of the old grinding stones used at the old mill built in the early 1870s. The old mill was in the process of being torn down after being damaged many years before by a flood. This stone burr was placed in the city park as a reminder to the community of the importance that the historic building had in the settling of Dell Rapids.

A quarried stone bathhouse was built in 1934, and a quartzite amphitheater was built in 1936. Both projects were funded by the Public Works Administration. The first street lights were installed in the early 1920s, but in 1939, new street lights were added so the baseball and softball fields could be lit better at night.

In 1937, a special six-car train brought 400 Sioux Falls Washington High School seniors to town for their annual picnic which was held that year in the Dell Rapids park.

In 1947, the pavilion burned to the ground, and a new one was rebuilt. Once again, the popularity of the dances and roller skating made it a popular site, and activity continued into the 1960s. Eventually the building closed. During the 1970s it turned into a factory that manufactured plastic bath tubs. The building caught fire and burned in 1979.

By the 1950s, the actions of man and nature began to have a negative effect on the Big Sioux River. Silt began to fill in the once-beautiful bathing beach and toxins became an issue. Swimming became impossible. Despite some efforts to remove the silt and clean up the river, the bathing beach finally closed in 1960, and a new swimming and wading pool opened in the park.

Whether its to take in the Cootie Day celebrations, swim at the pool, play ball, watch the Quarry Days fireworks display, picnic, or play on the playground equipment, thousands of visitors continue to visit the Dell Rapids park annually. As the parks popularity enters the 21st century, the young and old alike continue to gather and enjoy the historic site at 'the little city with the big attractions.'"

–Dell Rapids Public School


Source notes

City of Dell Rapids web site:

Dell Rapids Public Schools web site:

National Register of Historic Places, Multiple Property Documentation Form, "Federal Relief Construction in South Dakota, 1929-1941." Prepared by Michelle L. Dennis, September 1998.

Location Info

City Park Avenue
Dell Rapids, SD 57022

Location notes:

Coordinates: 43.820694, -96.703865

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