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Belle Fourche - pronounced "bell foosh" is French for "beautiful fork" - an 1800's description of its site on the "forks" of the Redwater River and the Belle Fourche River.

The geographic center of the US is located near Belle Fourche The Geo-Center of the United States Marker for the Center of the Nation

The geographic center of the total land mass of the United States is located about 20 miles north of Belle Fourche. It is located on the open prairie and it is marked by a sign and a rock tower known as sheepherder's monument or Stone Johnnie. The official designation is 44 degrees 58 inches north and longitude 103 degrees 46 feet west. This is 30 miles north of town along Highway 85 and 6/10 of a mile east of the highway. It was moved here as Alaska and Hawaii were admitted into the United States in 1959.

Statistics

General

Population: 4335
Number of families: 1973
Elevation: 3017 feet
Amount of land area: 6.718 sq. kilometers.
Amount of surface water: 0 sq. kilometers

Climate:

Average winter temperature:

29 degrees

Average summer temperature:

73.1 degrees

Average annual precipitation:

23.01 inches

Average annual snowfall:

16 inches

Municipal Services

Type of Local Government: Mayor/Council
Police Force: 8 Ambulance: 10
Fire Department Personnel: 39 Volunteers Fire Insurance Rating: Class 6
City Zoning: Yes County Zoning: No
Percentage of Paved Streets: 96%

Commercial / Industrial Services

Restaurants / Lounges 12
Financial Institutions 4
Retail Establishments 96
Service Businesses 180
Credit Unions 2
Motels/Hotels 11

Culture and Recreation:

1 Public Library

1 Golf Course

4 Public Tennis Courts

4 Soccer Fields

6 Ball Diamonds

7 Public Parks

2 Athletic Clubs

560 Seat Theater

Community Center / Swimming Pool / Racquetball Court

Fishing / Boating / Canoeing

14 Protestant Congregations

1 Catholic Congregation

Health Facilities:

1 Hospital (in Spearfish - 9 miles)

2 Clinics

2 Doctors

4 Dentists

2 Optometrists

3 Chiropractors

Education

School District: Belle Fourche School District

TYPE # OF SCHOOLS PUPIL/TEACHER RATIO ENROLLMENT
Elementary 3 20 : 2 : 1 554
Middle/Junior High 1 25 : 2 : 1 473
Senior High 1 23 : 2 : 1 397

Major Employers

NAME PRODUCT / SERVICE EMPLOYEES
Belle Fourche Public School Primary/Secondary Education 186
American Colloid Bentonite Mining/Processing 170
City of Belle Fourche Local Government 115
Belle Fourche Health Care Center Long Term Care Facility 95
Bentonite Corporation Bentonite Mining/Processing 80
Hills Materials Lumber and Wood Products 30

Newspapers:

Bi-weekly: The Bee

The Belle Fourche Post

Daily: The Black Hills Pioneer

The Rapid City Journal

Belle Fourche is one of the most important livestock shipping railheads in the West. The wool shipping warehouses are the largest in the US even today. The city is the trading center for a three-state agricultural area encompassing 21,000 square miles in NW South Dakota, NE Wyoming, and SE Montana. A hub for livestock auctions and wool shipping, Belle Fourche also is the center of a bentonite-mining industry. The downtown area's architecture retains the aura of the early 1900s; many of the buildings now contain antique shops.

Belle Fourche is a rural community with traditional Midwestern values. It is a recreational haven where the natural beauty of the rim of the Black Hills is laced by rivers that anchor themselves in western South Dakota's largest reservoir. Strong value systems, excellent education opportunities, and a low crime rate make Belle Fourche a wonderful place to raise children.

*Shamelessly stolen from the Belle Fourche America's Hometown Booklet (1998).


Information about Belle Fourche

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Belle Fourche Volunteer Fire Department