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Vermillion, South Dakota
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The town received its name from the nearby river, derived from a Sioux name, Wase Wakpala, for “red stream,” that was later translated by fur traders to Vermillion. The town was founded in 1859, and the post office was established in April 1860. The articles of incorporation were not filed until 1862. Settlers began to arrive seven years later below the bluff, and the local government was organized by 1873. At that time Vermillion was often referred to as “Vermillion-Under-The-Hill” or “Vermillion on the Bottom.” However, Vermillion suffered a devastating flood on March 27, 1881; the town was relocated, re-platted in 1884, and rebuilt on the bluff.
The growth of the city flourished with the founding of the flagship institution for higher education in the state, the University of South Dakota, in 1862. USD is designated as the public liberal arts university in the state and is home to a large College of Arts and Sciences, a School of Education and the state’s only School of Law, School of Medicine, accredited School of Business and College of Fine Arts. The university attracted students, faculty, and staff into the area and aided in attracting businesses into the area.
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