Did you Know That South Dakota Used To Be The Divorce Capital Of The US?
I see these historical markers all over Sioux Falls, but I must admit I hardly ever read them.
While I was downtown at the Coliseum one weekend a few years ago for The Festival of Cultures, I sat in the grass to eat a tasty gyro and I noticed this sign.
Apparently, South Dakota was the divorce capital of the country at one point because the residency and divorce laws were so lax compared to other states.
You could just send in a receipt from a hotel and you were a resident. The part that totally took me by surprise was that the spouse would be notified by publication! You didn't even need the other party's consent, I guess. What a weird time.
Of course, it does note this was most convenient for the wealthy. So much for mo money, mo problems. You could just pay to make your problems go away in South Dakota back in the day.
So the moral of the story is, to read these historical markers when you see them. You never know what you might learn.
Inscription on the historical marker:
"Between 1877 and 1909, Sioux Falls was known as the “Divorce Capital of the Nation.” Lenient residency laws and multiple divorce grounds were available in Dakota Territory and South Dakota. Wealthy men and women from the East were attracted by speedy divorces with short residency requirements of three and later of six months.
A paid receipt from a hotel or boarding house, even if only for hanging garments in a closet or leaving luggage behind, was accepted as evidence of residency. Notice to an unsuspecting spouse was given by publication
in a local newspaper. Hearings were held in closed courtrooms.
Disturbed by the notoriety brought upon Sioux Falls, Bishop William Hobart Hare of the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota described the situation as a “scandalous divorce mill.” He urged the state legislature to increase the residency requirement to one year. A divorce reform law to that effect was upheld by a 1908 referendum.
About 6000 divorces were granted in South Dakota between statehood in 1889 and the effective date of the reform law. Two-thirds of those obtaining decrees promptly left the state."
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Know Your South Dakota College and University Mascots
- What does it take to be a mascot?
- "Losing a bet or filling an opportunity!" Welch says, "An internal energized desire to love life. After meeting great performers who are introverts out of costume, they become the center of attention when they take the stage. And also feeding off the performance of others."
- Why does the mascot never talk?
- "Know your role and shut your mouth. You are there to entertain. Tell the story with your actions and not your voice."
- Advice to someone putting on that costume for the first time?
- "Remember you are now in a costume. Have fun. Otherwise, you're just a dork in tights. If the fur ain't flying you ain't trying."