History of Woonsocket

     The City of Woonsocket began in 1883 at the junction of the Chicago, Milwaukee, and Saint Paul Railroads.  The superintendent of the railroad was C.H. Prior, and he named the new town Woonsocket, after his home town of Woonsocket, Rhode Island.  Lake Prior, located in the center of town, is named after Mr. Prior.  The town of Woonsocket grew rapidly.  The first day lots were offered for sale, 50 lots were sold.  Woonsocket grew so fast that it was called “Boomstrucket.”

     The population grew from 500 to 800 people in two months.  The first business establishment to be located in Woonsocket was a saloon.  Three days after the sale of the first lot, the first church services were held in a carpenter’s shed, which had recently been moved in.

     Since Woonsocket was in the geographical area of artesian wells, there was an ample supply of good water.  For a piece of history on an artesian well that made Woonsocket world famous, click on this link:  Woonsocket Artesian Well.  Another advantage of Woonsocket was fertile land and good railroad facilities.     

     Woonsocket is the county seat of Sanborn County and is home to the Sanborn County Courthouse.

     Looking ahead, it has, and shall always remain “Woonsocket, South Dakota — The Town with the Beautiful Lake.”

     Working on gathering a list of old Woonsocket businesses and memories...Please email webmaster@woonsocketsd.com your memories…correct anything that I don’t have quite right...

·Al’s Standard Service (Al Foos) - “Smiles Will Go Miles”, Gas prices from 32 cents in 1962 to $1.31 in 1982

·Bear’s Bar - opened 1978, a 3.2 tavern and recreational facility for young adults, “Where the Good Times Roll”

·Berens’ Beauty Shop

·Bill’s (Ashfeld) Barber Shop

·Bleeker, Boldt and Koch, Attorneys at Law

·Bot Steichen’s Bar

·Brown Store - The other half of the original bank building, Rings for a dime, Lots of wooden shelves to the ceiling and ladders on rollers to get to the stuff,  Mom used to purchase sewing supplies there.  Shoe store.  Sold out in late 60’s.  Front plate glass windows in the Pony Hills Country Club are salvaged from Brown's

·Burrill Insurance Agency

·Buzay Bakery - 1937, supplied 4 grocery stores (Hendrick’s, Nobles, Strub’s and Co-op, and two cafes

·Central West Public Service Company

·Corner Café

·Culligan’s Hardware Store

·Dagmar’s (Café)

·The Den

·Deluxe Hotel - built by Charles H. Prior, railroad supervisor for Milwaukee Road, and his wife Della in 1883, purchased by Brown family in 1903

·Dick’s Drive In (Dick Brisbine)

·Don’s Silver Dollar

·Dumont Hotel

·Emma Marsh’s Hotel

·Gerleman Produce


·Gross Clothing - First owned by Robert Gross...when he passed away his son Bernard “BJ” Gross took it over moving his family with 9 children to town to run it.

·Heaton & Oddie Insurance

·Hendricks Grocery Store - run by O’Connors later

·Hi-Way Cafe

·Ice Business

·Jerry’s IGA Grocery Store

·Jo Jo Store - Where we bought Easter hats, sometimes shoes and Redmen letterman jackets, Oh- and those terrible gym uniforms

·Kappel’s Hardware

·King Koin Launderette (Bradles)

·Kistler’s Grocery Store

·L-K Steakhouse & Lounge

·Local Elevator Company (Loren Tiede)

·M&M Shop - There was a café there before the Morans opened up

·Mandy’s Malt Shop

·Midgard’s Bakery

·Padmore's Drug Store/Pharmacy - comic books, Cover Girl make-up

·Parker Implement Company

·Parson's Produce

·Ray’s Ford & Mercury

·Regynski Plumbing

·Rex Theatre - 50 cents got you in, a bag of popcorn & a soft drink.  Was a contest in town to name theatre...B J Gross put in “Rex” after his dog and won.

·Sanborn County Bank

·Sanborn County Farmers Union Oil Company - Cenex

·Sheffield’s Drugstore - soda fountain, old fashioned, real deal

·Siedschlaw Garage & Service Station

·Siedschlaw Implement Company

·Slabaugh’s Barber Shop

·Warner Garage

·White’s Drive In

·Woonsocket Bottling Works - opened in 1913, soft drink factory

·Woonsocket Brick Factory - around 1900

·Woonsocket News

·Woonsocket (Roti’s) Produce