Welcome to another edition of “Found”! This time, we’re in South Dakota, where we stumbled across the town of Scenic, South Dakota.
You never really hear of a town with 4.75 people, do you? Well, we found it. Sort of. Read on to check out the desolate – but historic – and certainly itty-bitty community that was the result of our stumblings.
As you hopefully know by now, we had many an adventure during our time in Rapid City, South Dakota. One of those involved our drive to the Badlands, where we trailed a lot of RVs whilst looking at the bizarre rock formations that make up this barren landscape.
Before we even got to the Badlands, though, we ended up in Scenic.
Taking State Route 44 southeast from Rapid City, it was the first grouping of buildings we came across. (I say “grouping of buildings” to exclude ranches and the like.) This is what we saw when we got to Scenic. I mean, how can you not stop?
Being that nothing else was around, we went ahead and parked dead-center in town, at what used to be the central store and gas station. It is no more, along with everything else.
There are so many abandoned buildings in this place, I would have had a field day as a kid. We used to love rummaging through places like this.
What kind of buildings? Take your pick.
Trailers (which I guess aren’t buildings)…
Saloons (skulls, anyone?)…
And whoa, a real, actual working facility! Welcome to the post office for zip code 57780. I think it’s still in operation, although it was closed when we were there.
Wandering around some more, we came across another gem. Check out the old jail!
You might remember our fondness for these tiny, old jails from our Cottonwood, South Dakota, post.
Just do yourself a favor and pay attention to signs like this.
Apparently, those are not old signs. Those are not forty or twenty years old, or even one year old. Those are new. Don’t be fooled by your surroundings!
We found that out when we were accosted by a rather surly, 40-ish guy who roams around town on his tractor. I waved to him, and he turned on us. He said the signs are there for our protection, and that it’s all his land. His word says that there are rattlers out there. Because they only live behind no trespassing signs, according to his fantastic reasoning.
He told us that he “owns” the town, which was basically one big, fat lie. After some questions (and later googling), we found out that the town is actually owned by the Philippines-based Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ). They bought the town a couple years ago, and no one really knows why.
It seems he’s a resident of the town, possibly put in charge (or put himself in charge) of keeping an eye on the place. Totally fine, but learn some common courtesy, man. It doesn’t even look like a single person lives here!
He did calm down a bit after we showed our genuine interest for the place. I asked him how many people live here, and that’s when he told us there are approximately 4.75 residents. The .75 are his dogs. Here’s one of the fun little guys.
The dogs know about the No Trespassing signs, as none of them appeared to have ever been bitten by a rattler.
Rattlers and No Trespassing signs aside, we did love the exchange that occurred right after our run-in, when a biker showed up and walked past the signs.
Townie: “Can I help you?”
Biker: “Nope. Just snoopin’.”
Townie: “The No Trespassing signs are there for a reason.”
Biker: “If you don’t want anybody here, maybe they should just take your dot off the map.”
Regardless of the sourpuss we met – who was much nicer to another family that showed up and told him they were church members – we had a great experience in the tiny town of Scenic. We love coming upon curious places like this.
Not only do these towns provide for great pictures, but there are countless stories buried within the walls of every structure around. Just imagining them is something we value greatly, and we’d never have passed this place by.
Scenic, South Dakota, is located on State Route 44, west of Badlands National Park. It’s about 40 miles southeast of Rapid City, and 30 miles west of Interior. The latter is the south entrance to the Badlands.
Want more? Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and Flickr.
Have you ever been to Scenic, or do you have any knowledge about it? Do you have any thoughts about finding such curiosities on the road, or have you found any of your own? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!