South Dakota Has an Abandoned Town Most People Don’t Know

South Dakota, with its fascinating history and varied landscapes, holds a forgotten story of abandonment within its vibrant past. Many towns that were once thriving in the state now exist only as haunting remnants, forgotten by time and collective memory. One such overlooked location is Scenic, a town with a deceiving name that doesn’t quite match its actual appearance.

The Rise and Fall of Scenic

Founded in 1906 as an important railway stop for travelers heading to the Black Hills, Scenic experienced its peak with a population of approximately 200 residents. The town had a saloon, post office, dance hall, train depot, and various stores. It also had a peaceful relationship between settlers and a sizable Native American community.

Unfortunately, Scenic’s success didn’t last long. Due to water scarcity and arid conditions, farming became impractical, resulting in frequent fires. Its image was tarnished by scandal and controversy, including the school superintendent’s marriage to a ninth-grade student and the saloon owner being accused of murder. Due to the Great Depression, the town’s problems worsened, and by the 1940s, Scenic had become a deserted ghost town.

Also Read: Ohio Become the Home of Abandoned Towns You Don’t Know About

The Current Status of Scenic

Scenic was in a state of disrepair for many years until it was purchased in 2011 by the Philippines-based church, Iglesia ni Cristo, for $799,000. Although the town was acquired by the church, no efforts were made to restore or renovate any of the structures. Today, Scenic presents a scene reminiscent of a horror film, with its rundown buildings, rusty cars, and scattered animal skulls. The town witnesses occasional bursts of activity as locals gather for simple church services in a modest chapel.

Scenic is a lesser-known town in South Dakota, with a rich historical significance that often goes unnoticed. The barren scenery stands in stark contrast to the state’s stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, serving as a powerful reminder of the hardships endured by communities in the past. Scenic provides a mesmerizing and unsettling experience for those who choose to explore, but it may not be suitable for those who are easily frightened.


South Dakota’s Scenic, once a bustling town, has been abandoned and forgotten. Founded in 1906, it experienced a thriving population but faced challenges like water scarcity, fires, and scandals. Despite being purchased by a church in 2011, Scenic remains a haunting ghost town, with rundown buildings and scattered animal skulls.

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