De Smet up for Best Historic Small Town in national vote

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 9:46 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - 20 communities across the nation are up for the nomination of Best Historic Small Town. That includes De Smet, which is creating a buzz in the community.

The vote is conducted by the USA Today network as part of their Readers’ Choice selections. The 20 communities must be 25,000 in population and smaller. De Smet was the only South Dakota community to get nominated. De Smet Economic Development Corporation Director Rita Anderson said they found out about the nomination last month, and have since been pushing the community and those connected to it to get out and vote.

“About a month ago, on September 27th when we found out that we were nominated. One of 20 towns in the entire United States.” said Anderson.

The nomination alone is creating buzz around town. It’s also a sign of recognition for the work done by the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society in helping preserve the history of the town and region.

“It wasn’t a surprise, and it was a surprise. It was a real honor, and we hope that we can go ahead and punch through to the first place spot.” said Memorial Society Assistant Director April Rusche.

And grabbing the top spot in voting will help further their mission as well.

“The Memorial Society’s mission statement is preserving Laura’s legacy for future generations. And I think that becoming one of the small towns in USA Today’s number one spot would be a huge in preserving that legacy.” said Memorial Society Executive Director Jamie Patton.

Anderson said while the top spot would have De Smet’s name, the honor would also include South Dakota. So she hopes that the state will rally behind the community, and put De Smet on top.

“This designation will bring tourists to all of South Dakota, not just to De Smet. And so we thought if we could get all of South Dakota to vote for us, then that could put us over the top and make us number one. We want De Smet to be number one.” said Anderson.

As of Tuesday evening, De Smet sits at number two in votes. Voting for the top town closes on Monday, October 25th, at 11:00 a.m. A link to the voting site can be found here, and people can vote once per day.

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