South Dakota is another of the handful of states whose license plate numbers have prefixes that identify the county that issued the plates.
The present-day prefixes have been used since 1987. The same codes were also used during the years 1956-1975.
In 1956 the nine most populous counties were assigned numbers 1-9, beginning with Minnehaha County, the most populous. The other counties–arranged alphabetically–received codes 10 through 64.
Three additional counties were asigned numbers 65-67:
- Shannon County (adjacent to and east of Fall River County) is one of two counties with no county seat. Fall River County’s county seat, Hot Springs, serves as Shannon County’s administrative center.
- Washabaugh County was dissolved on January 1, 1983 and merged with neighboring Jackson County on the north. Apparently Bennett County (to the south) continues to issue plates with prefix 66 to vehicles owned by residents who live in the area that was previously Washabaugh County. (Prefix 66 isn’t currently represented by South Dakota PlateFinder.)
- Todd County (adjacent to and west of Tripp County) is the other county with no county seat. Winner, the county seat of Tripp County, serves as Todd County’s administrative center.
South Dakota PlateFinder was written to help you learn about South Dakota by reading the codes at the beginning of license plates you encounter while travelling in South Dakota and elsewhere. The app shows where each county is located. It also links to additional information about each county and its county seat.
Students of South Dakota history will appreciate South Dakota PlateFinder as they study South Dakota and memorize and review its counties.
(Note: Besides the prefixes used 1956-1975 and 1987-present, South Dakota has had several other schemes, dating back to 1925. Those schemes are beyond the present scope of South Dakota PlateFinder)
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