Scenic, South Dakota

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Scenic, South Dakota
unincorporated community
Coordinates: 43°46′46.6″N 102°33′13″W / 43.779611°N 102.55361°W / 43.779611; -102.55361Coordinates: 43°46′46.6″N 102°33′13″W / 43.779611°N 102.55361°W / 43.779611; -102.55361
Country United States
State South Dakota
County Pennington
 • Total 134.2 sq mi (347.6 km2)
 • Land 133.9 sq mi (346.9 km2)
 • Water 0.3 sq mi (0.7 km2)
Elevation 2,900 ft (884 m)
Population (2011)
 • Total 10
 • Density 0.6/sq mi (0.3/km2)
Time zone Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP code 57780
Area code(s) 605
FIPS code 46-57820[1]
GNIS feature ID 1268730[2]

Scenic is an unincorporated community in Pennington County, South Dakota, United States. It is located within Scenic Township, which had a 2010 census population of 58 inhabitants. The community is located adjacent to the Badlands National Park, about 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Rapid City,[3] or about one hour by car,[4] along Highway 44.


As an economic decline hit the town, Twila Merril acquired more and more of the town property until she owned most of it.[4]

In July 2011, the 12-acre (4.9 ha) town and surrounding area—about 46 acres (19 ha) total—was listed for sale at $799,000. The sale includes the post office (ZIP code 57780), Longhorn Saloon, a dance hall, bunkhouse, museum, and two stores.[3][5][6] It also includes a train depot[6] that is on an abandoned line that was part of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad and is the subject of a 104-mile (167 km) rails-to-trail project between Rapid City and Kadoka.[7]

In August 2011, a controversial Philippine church called Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) bought the property, Pennington County records show.[8][9] The church never disclosed why it acquired the property. In 2014 Daniel Simmons-Ritchie of the Rapid City Journal wrote that Iglesia ni Cristo "has done little with the town since its purchase."[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ a b Got $799,000? You could buy a town in South Dakota, a July 27, 2011 CNN article
  4. ^ a b c Simmons-Ritchie, Daniel. "Got a spare $400,000? Buy your own town: Swett, South Dakota." Rapid City Journal. Circa June 28/29, 2014. Retrieved on June 30, 2014. "In 2011, the town of Scenic, about an hour southeast of Rapid City, was put on the selling block for $799,000. The town was largely owned by Twila Merril, a woman who slowly acquired the town's property as it fell on hard times.[...]called Iglesia Ni Cristo, which has done little with the town since its purchase. The church has never publicly commented on why it bought the town."
  5. ^ Small South Dakota Town on Sale for $799,000 from ABC News
  6. ^ a b "Township". Retrieved 2011-07-28. Overview of Longhorn Enterprises, LLC various properties included in the sale: 46-Acres (approximately 12 acres in town-lots & 34 acres surrounding) U.S Post Office Land Lease…..Longhorn Fuel & Food Convenience Store, World Famous Longhorn Saloon, Very Large Dance Hall with basketball court, Large Museum with knotty pine interiors, Bunkhouse sleeps 8-10, 2 freestanding Retail Stores, Historic Train Depot, One Working Jail, One Abandoned Historic Jail, Many Out-Buildings, Residence Home, Residence Modular Home. 
  7. ^ About The Trail from The West River Trails Coalition
  8. ^ O'Connor, Clare (August 19, 2011). Forbes  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^