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Groton, South Dakota
Population: 1326 (2000 Census)

Location: Northeast South Dakota, Jct. of SD 37 & US 12

City Government: Mayor-Council

Zoning: Planning and Zoning Commission

Groton is more than 100 years old and has successfully weathered the test of time. The town prospered along the tracks of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad. Groton, like many other prairie railroad stations, was named after one of the New England towns familiar to railroad officials. In this case, Groton received its name from Groton, Mass. The town was platted and registered in 1881, even though settlement of the area began much earlier. Groton faced the challenges of changing times. It has survived and faces the future with positive and progressive attitude.

An active group of 28 individuals formed the Groton Development Partnership. The group purchased a 135-acre tract of land for economic development purposes. The Groton Chamber of Commerce sponsors many activities annually.
Besides its link to both state and federal highways, Groton is served by the Burlington Northern Railroad. Bus and truck transportation services are available. An airport is available in Aberdeen, just 20 minutes west of Groton.

The city offers educational, cultural and recreational opportunities to its residents, both young and old. For the young, a public school system provides a solid education with about 550 students enrolled in K-12. The Groton Community Library and Community Center provide cultural enrichment to the community. Just minutes away is the Granary Gallery, which offers art and music programs. A 60-bed nursing home provides care for those who can no longer live alone. Groton has retirement housing for senior citizens and low-income housing is available for those who qualify.

There are six churches within the community:
• Emmanuel Lutheran Church (ELCA)
• First Presbyterian Church
• Groton Christian and Missionary Alliance Church
• St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church
• St. John's Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod)
• United Methodist Church

For those interested in joining a civic group, Groton has the following to offer:
• Groton Booster Club
• Groton Garden Club
• Kiwanis Club
• Lions Club

In the center of the city is a square block city park. The park has playground equipment and a canopy with several picnic tables under it. It also has a walking path which several residents use throughout the day.


The Granary Rural Cultural Center is a unique place for people to celebrate the culture and art of the Dakotas. The Granary Campus consists of the Memorial Gallery, five display rooms set in a restored wooden granary; Putney Town Hall, a multi-use center moved
to the site in September 1996; and a large wooden gazebo for outdoor activities. The facilities situated in rural Groton, South Dakota, sits on 2.3 acres of parkland amid shelter belts and corn and wheat fields, in the heart of the fertile James River Valley. Located nearby is the site of the old Yorkville trading post, and Tacoma Park, once the region's favorite summer gathering place.

The Granary, a non-profit organization, hosts two major festivals annually. The All Dakota High School Fine Arts Exhibition in May of each year, celebrates the achievements of junior and senior high students from North and South Dakota. Young artists gather for intensive workshops, entertainment, awards and public art exhibition. The All Dakota Fine Arts Festival is in June of each year, displays the best in original art produced by regional visual artists. Visitors see artists doing work-in-progress, view a professional art exhibition, and be entertained in a family-oriented atmosphere. Admission to the public exhibition is $3 for adults and $2 for school students. Food and refreshments are served on the grounds.

For more information, write:
40261 128th St.
Groton, SD 57445


Groton has one of the nicest baseball complexes in the state. It features one main field and two smaller fields. Groton has t-ball, pee wee and midget baseball teams, women's softball, adult softball, a teener team, American Legion team and Amateur team.

Groton's Carnival of Silver Skates was started in 1938. Back then, it was a mid-winter activity featuring a hockey game between two Aberdeen teams -- the Canuks and Esquimox. There was the crowning of a carnival queen, there were ice races and figure skating exhibition by Aberdeen skaters. Since then, it has blossomed into a local event with at least 100 young skaters participating each year. Parents put much time into the annual event, making costumes and getting everything ready. The young snowflakes and former skaters make it an event that helps to break up the winter. It is indeed a pride and joy of Groton as it is the longest running amateur ice skating show in the United States.

• In the winter of 1938, the community of Groton decided to hold an ice skating carnival for the opening of it’s new ice skating rink. Groton skaters, both young and old, together with skaters invited from nearby towns, participated in this event. It consisted of skating races, figure and stunt skating and an exhibition by Aberdeen Skaters. The Carnival has been held each year, except during the World War II years of 1940, 1943, 1944, and 1945, thus bringing us to the current 67th Annual show of Carnival of Silver Skates January 30, 2005.

• For the first skating carnival, no one had costumes, but in 1942 most skaters acquired costumes which they wore for each performance. Sweaters and corduroy skirts were popular during the 50’s and 60’s. Eventually the costumes were designed to enhance the theme of the program. Materials were used to reflect the lighting and present a more glamorous effect. Headdress and skate covers as well as a variety of props added a new dimension to the show.

• In 1941 the Works Progress Administration (WPA) helped with decorations, lights, scenery, and royalty throne as well as providing a hot dog stand, a new dimension to the carnival. Throughout the years many individuals and organizations in the Groton Community have sponsored this event. Today, it is supported by it’s own non-profit organization, which consists of parents of skaters, depending solely on donations, skating fees and admission fees during the carnival.

• In the early 50’s the City of Groton purchased their own spotlights. In 1952 the rink was enlarged to 200’ X 90’ which provided a larger skating area as well as more space for parking spectator cars.

• Many generations have participated over the years by performing their own specialty acts. Throughout the years local people have redesigned the scenery and raised funds to refurbish the skating rink and equipment. The first warming house was in use for the 1939 Carnival with no indoor bathroom facilities. In the 1950’s, a brooder house was brought to the scene to provide a changing area for boys. In 1969 this warming house was destroyed by a tornado, which never touched the scenery and decorations. Roy Richards who donated it to the community of Groton, built a new warming house at that time. Today the rink and warming house are located next to the Groton High School. This is about to change, as this will be the last year for this location due to changes happening at Groton High School. The current location is being turned into a parking lot for the school. The new location will be on the West side of Groton by the soccer fields and baseball complex. The pond and warming house are maintained and run by the City of Groton, who’s employees do an outstand job providing safety and free skating for the Community.

• In 1988 Governor George S Mickelson, Proclaimed the Days of January 30 & 31 of that year, Carnival of Silver Skates Days in South Dakota to acknowledge the 50th Anniversary of this event.

• Groton’s annual winter event has become the most colorful outdoor affair of its kind in the entire northwest, as well as one of the most elaborate outdoor ice carnivals in the entire country.

• The ice carnival provides training, sportsmanship and participation among the youth of Groton starting at ages 4 and going thru Seniors in High School. One of the many highlights is the Crowning of the Carnival Queen, which is currently chosen from the Juniors and Senior skaters. This years candidates are:

There are many other activities that are available in Groton:
9-hole Olive Grove Golf Course
Two Soccer Fields (over 100 youngsters participate in this upcoming sport)
Municipal outdoor swimming pool
Community Center
Outdoor tennis court with lights
Outdoor basketball court with lights
Horseshoe pit
Outdoor volleyball court
Outdoor ice skating rink with warming house
Near Sand Lake Wildlife Refuge
Near Amsden Lake










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Copyright © 2007 Groton Daily Independent
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