Our Community

City picture


As the county seat of Lincoln County, Canton plays an important role in providing services, entertainment, employment and education to residents, visitors and businesses. Take a few minutes to read through the Canton Visitor and New Resident Guide to learn about the great services, parks, amenities and fun things to do while you are here.

One of the oldest communities in the Dakota Territory, the City of Canton was organized in 1861 when permanent settlers first came to Canton. The name Canton was chosen because it was believed that the town site was located directly opposite of Canton, China. Organizers thought the Chinese spelling meant “gateway,” and Canton was known as Gate City for many years. In 1868, many Norwegian immigrant families moved to Canton to settle, which more than doubled the population of Lincoln County.

Only 11 years after the establishment of Canton, in August of 1872, initial issues of one of the first newspapers in the Dakota Territory, The Sioux Valley News were published. Col. Arthur Linn owned the original printing press and transported it to Canton by wagon. The railroads in Canton have always been key to our successful agricultural business. Still in use today, they continue to be critical to agricultural in Canton. The original depot building has been restored and is home to the Canton Visitor Center and Chamber of Commerce, open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Community Profile

Our community’s welcoming atmosphere and rich 150-year history will make you feel at home.


  • Canton, South Dakota

  • County: Lincoln

  • Established: 1861

  • Population: 3066

  • Location: 20 miles south of Sioux Falls; 10 miles east of I-29 on US Hwy 18

Interesting Facts

  • County Seat of Lincoln County

  • Historic Lincoln County Courthouse – $8.9 million expansion completed in 2009

  • Surrounded by Newton Hills State Park, the Big Sioux River and the rolling hills of the Sioux Valley


The City of Canton has a rich history. Its settlers were hard working, visionary and had a pioneering spirit that left its mark on the city, and continues to move Canton forward today. The city has many historical homes and buildings dating back to the late 1800s. The Kennedy Mansion on Dakota Street is a must-see as is the Historical Society House built in 1886. The original depot building has been restored and is a standing reminder to the importance of the railroad to Canton’s history. The city’s rail freight service is still active today.


  • 1861: The City of Canton is organized. The first settler is August Linderman.

  • 1866: The earliest known visitor to the area, Lewis P. Hyde visits the spot that is now Canton.

  • 1868: Lincoln County is home to 35 people. The city is named Canton. A caravan on 180 Norwegian settlers crossed the Big Sioux River to make Canton their home.

  • 1880: The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad crosses the Big Sioux River to reach Canton.

  • 1886: The Historical Society House is built.

  • 1889: Lincoln County Courthouse is built.

  • 1908: Canton Lutheran Church is built.

Parks/Recreation/Community Organizations

Surrounding by natural beauty, Canton is a flourishing city with many active organizations and recreational options.

Events Snapshot

  • Celebrate Canton Activities: July

  • Big Sioux River Folk Festival: August

  • Christmas Parade and Visit with Santa: Hosted by the Canton Chamber

Recreation Snapshot

  • Newton Hills State Park (6 mi. south): Camping, picnicking, horseback riding, nature trails, cross-country skiing

  • Golf: Nine-hole course and clubhouse

  • Swimming: Community Pool

  • City Parks: Outdoor recreational facilities and programs for all ages

  • Junior cheerleading

  • Boys/girls youth softball

  • Youth football

  • Youth baseball

  • Youth Soccer

Organizations Snapshot

  • Chamber of Commerce

  • Economic Development Corporation

  • Ministerial Association

  • Lions Club

  • Rotary Club

  • Booster Club

  • Red Hat Society

  • PEO Sisterhood

  • Sons of Norway

  • Love, INC.

  • Grand Valley Rural School Historical Society

  • Garden Club

  • Meals On Wheels

  • Gun Club

  • Ducks Unlimited

  • VFW

  • Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts

  • 4-H Club

Public Safety

Residents of Canton enjoy the benefit of living in a secure community where public safety is always a priority.

Emergency Services Snapshot

  • Fire/EMS Station: New in 2001

  • Volunteer firefighters: 35

  • Police Chief

  • Full-time police officers: 6

  • On-call police officers: Several

  • Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department: Located in the courthouse


One of the important components contributing to the high quality of life in the Canton area is the Canton school system.

Education Snapshot

  • Enrollment: 1,000

  • Teachers: 40

  • Canton High School: New technology-enhanced facility

  • Canton Middle School

  • Lawrence Elementary

Health Care

Residents of Canton have access to a variety of health care options providing state-of-the-art care.


  • Sanford Hospital Canton-Inwood – 22-bed hospital and 12-unit assisted living community

  • Sanford Clinic and Canton Family Physicians – 4 doctors, 2 certified nurse practitioners

  • Good Samaritan Center – 64-person capacity

  • Keystone Treatment Center – rehabilitation services

  • Canton Family Dental & Dental Implant Group – 6 dentists and specialists offer complete dental care

  • Chiropractic: 3 locations

  • Pharmacies: 2 locations

  • Optometrists: 1

  • Health and Fitness Facilities: 3 locations


Canton is home to six industries and provides and attractive site to establish new commercial enterprises.


  • Eastern Farmers Co-op (established 1860) – 50+ employees

  • Adams Thermal Systems – 1,100 employees; manufactures engine cooling systems primarily for off-highway vehicles such as agricultural and construction equipment

  • Bid-Well, a Terex Company (founded in Canton) – 50 employees; concrete paving equipment

  • Johnson Feed, Inc. – 350 employees; 250 trucks; distributor of salt products, baler twine, dog food and other products


When it comes to dining out or just relaxing, Canton has a variety of options.


  • Total businesses: 200

  • Insurance agencies: 5

  • Banks: 4

  • Gas stations: 3

  • Convenience stores: 3

  • Law offices: 4

  • Discount stores: 1

  • Grocery store: 1

  • Motel: 1

  • Newspaper: 1

  • Misc: Farm and home store, antique shops, gift shops, greenhouse, florist, car wash, funeral home, real estate offices,  veterinarian, automotive sales and repair, medical equipment supply, hair salons, daycare providers, plumbers, electricians, contractors and more.


The Canton area has ten churches and a very active Ministerial Association that meets once a month. This association is comprised of local pastors and youth directors working together to spread the word of God. Several times a year the group provides opportunities for people of all faiths to meet and worship together at a Unity Service, Thanksgiving Eve Service, National Day of Prayer and Baccalaureate. They are also responsible for the local food pantry and care for those in need in our community.


  • Canton Lutheran – Founded in 1868

  • Canton United Methodist

  • First Baptist

  • St. Dominic’s Catholic Church

  • Redeemer Free Lutheran

  • Bethany Reformed

  • River of Life

  • Grand Valley Lutheran

  • Moe Parish