Latitude / Longitude:
44°22′46″N 97°42′10″W / 44.37944°N 97.70278°W / 44.37944
1,608 ft (490 m)
Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Manchester was a small unincorporated community in Kingsbury County in the east-central part of the U.S. state of South Dakota. On June 24, 2003, the town was completely annihilated by a large F4-rated tornado, and has since become a ghost town. In 2004, the state of South Dakota officially disincorporated the town of Manchester.
Manchester was originally called Fairview; the present name honors a certain pioneer settler named Manchester. With the influence of the railroad, Manchester underwent rapid expansion, including the building of “numerous homes, a town hall, grocery stores, livery barns, a lumber yard, two grain elevators, a depot, a restaurant, a cream station, a bank, a pool hall, auto repair, blacksmith shops, gas stations, two churches, a system of township schools including Manchester High School, a hotel, a newspaper and a fabled town pump”.
As of 2010, the Manchester town site lies barren and abandoned. All that remains of Manchester is the slab foundations of demolished houses along the dirt road grid that composed the town center and the famous Manchester town pump (which survived a direct hit from the tornado mostly intact). The lush trees which were planted in the 19th century to shelter the town’s homes and residents from the summer heat were all razed by the tornado, returning the area to a sea of empty farmland. There are no plans to rebuild, and the destruction of the town’s post office and all remaining structures (along with the flight of the few remaining residents) served to finally extinguish Manchester’s raison d’être, making it a natural disaster-induced ghost town.
Although the town itself is empty and depopulated, many former official residents of Manchester continue to reside in the unincorporated farm areas between De Smet and Iroquois, South Dakota, and many others have relocated to other small communities nearby. The town has also not been officially “wiped off the map” yet, as it remains on both the government rolls and maps pending the next Federal census. On June 25, 2007 a granite monument was erected in the ghost town commemorating its history and honoring the residents who had lived there.