When North and South Dakota became states in 1889 after twenty-seven years in territorial limbo, the political differences between the two regions had escalated to the point where they could have never entered the Union as originally planned: one unified state. Within ten years the political climate had changed and both states realized they had made a mistake.
Scuttlebutt began circulating that dividing the state the way God had made them by the Missouri River (east and west) made more sense. But the proposal has gotten about as far as the Nebraska panhandle’s periodic threats to secede from the rest of its state and join Wyoming (which would reportedly welcome it). The borders of the two Northern Plains states remain unchanged.
Now, tour operator Shebby Lee Tours of Rapid City, South Dakota, is making its bid to right this wrong by offering an 8-day itinerary exploring the best of both Dakotas. “West Dakota” is scheduled for July 22-28, and includes Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse mountain carvings, Custer State Park, Fort Mandan, jeep ride to the buffalo, Badlands National Park, the Medora Musical, pitchfork fondue, Akta Lakota Museum, North Dakota Heritage Center, the Journey Museum, the Little Missouri River country of Teddy Roosevelt, Lewis & Clark historic sites, Missouri Riverboat dinner cruise, historic Deadwood and much more!
Shebby Lee, owner and founder of the tour company, is an award-winning historian who brings her unique insight to the interpretive programs the company has been providing in the western United States since 1978. “West Dakota” not only includes the region’s top attractions, but provides perspective into the common geographic, economic and psychological characteristics of western North and South Dakota.
The company also offers an “East Dakota” program featuring the eastern halves of the two Dakotas.
Travelers seeking a unique experience in the Great American West are invited to explore the best of western Dakota on this 8-day itinerary encompassing the broad sweep of history on the northern plains. Western wildlife, legendary characters and extraordinary national parks greet you at every turn in West Dakota!
Shebby Lee is a historian, writer and tour operator specializing in the historic and cultural heritage of the Great American West. Her early training was in the theatre and she served a tour of duty as an entertainer with the USO. She is also an Admiral in the Nebraska Navy.