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A South Dakota State Historical Society Press Publication
Despite their isolated location on the edge of the Great Plains, the Black Hills have become an important tourist destination over the past one hundred years. Suzanne Julin examines the early development of this phenomenon and the influences—political, local, and national—that helped create a prosperous tourist industry in the region between the 1880s and the start of World War II.
Public policy and state and federal government actions promoted the Black Hills as the vanguard of both the mountain West and the Wild West and developed a national park, two national monuments, the largest state park in the country, and the iconic Mount Rushmore as methods to direct tourist traffic to the region. Julin argues that these promotional efforts affected more than just tourism; they helped form or change local trends and issues and established the identity of the region.
A Marvelous Hundred Square Miles addresses the concerted efforts of governmental, quasi-governmental, and private groups to develop the tourist industry in the early twentieth century. While this book is specifically about the Black Hills, its larger themes pertain to the development of tourism as one of the most important industries in the modern United States.