A Marvelous Hundred Square Miles

Black Hills Tourism, 1880-1941

Early tourism in the Black Hills
A Marvelous Hundred Square Miles


$12.95, Hardback
ISBN: 9780979894060

Originally Priced at $24.95

Winner of an Award of Merit, American Association for State and Local History 

"This is an excellent, readable, well-researched work."—Montana, the Magazine of Western History

"There is much to learn, admire, and even envy here: clear summaries, apt quotations, amusing anecdotes, and a depth of research that extends beyond Rushmore's well-worn ground to lesser-known attractions such as Hisega and the Hidden City. And hats off to the SDSHS Press for a great-looking design with photos large enough to read, rather than the usual shrunken heads within broad margins. Its books will be enjoyed and well-thumbed for many years."—Great Plains Quarterly

"These compelling stories of the development of the Black Hills are brilliantly rendered by Julin. She is quite masterful at recounting the bureaucratic disputes between various federal and state agencies; the feuding and turf wars involving assorted local, state, and federal political appointees, elected officials, and bureaucracies; and the architectural-style wars among figures such as Frank Lloyd Wright and the advocates of 'park rustic.' Julin's book is a major contribution to the growing body of work on western tourism."—Jon Lauck, Western Historical Quarterly

"Julin is thorough, scholarly, and provides a well-researched case study on how tourism can shape an area and how an area shapes its tourism product. Its lessons can be applied far beyond the Hills."—North Dakota History

Despite their isolated location on the edge of the Great Plains, the Black Hills have become an important tourist destination over the past one hundred years. Suzanne Julin examines the early development of this phenomenon and the influences—political, local, and national—that helped create a prosperous tourist industry in the region between the 1880s and the start of World War II.

Public policy and state and federal government actions promoted the Black Hills as the vanguard of both the mountain West and the Wild West and developed a national park, two national monuments, the largest state park in the country, and the iconic Mount Rushmore as methods to direct tourist traffic to the region. Julin argues that these promotional efforts affected more than just tourism; they helped form or change local trends and issues and established the identity of the region.

A Marvelous Hundred Square Miles addresses the concerted efforts of governmental, quasi-governmental, and private groups to develop the tourist industry in the early twentieth century. While this book is specifically about the Black Hills, its larger themes pertain to the development of tourism as one of the most important industries in the modern United States.

Suzanne Julin is an award-winning author born and raised in South Dakota.

Read a blog post from Suzanne Julin about her experience publishing this book with the SDHS Press.

Listen to Suzanne Julin being interviewed by Paul Guggenheimer on South Dakota Public Radio.

More Praise:

"The book's visual content is terrific and makes for a splendid visual document as well as an engrossing read."—LibraryThing.com


A Marvelous Hundred Square Miles "is both substantial and enjoyable."—Pure Pierre Politics blog, Bob Mercer

"Julin's account is well written by an author who has clear affection for the place and the book is wonderfully punctuated throughout with more than seventy black and white photographs."—Kansas History

"Today, the Black hills of South Dakota are home to a national park, two national monuments, and the largest state park in the country (Custer), not to mention Mount Rushmore. Suzanne B. Julin tells how private and government groups worked to turn an isolated part of the country into a national tourist mecca. The book also examines the ways in which these developments changed or affected the local culture and established a new identity for the region."—Minnesota History

A Marvelous Hundred Square Mile is "an intriguing and important contribution to our understanding of state tourism."Annals of Wyoming