The original settlement was established on both sides of the Big Sioux, and the town was called “Dell City.” Early residents pooled their money to buy a $7.00 boat to cross the river. Later, a man called “Uncle Bill” Lyons operated a ferry boat. Individual fares were five cents, and the cost to transport a team of horses was a dime. What a bargain!
By the end of 1872, “Dell City” had a post office (which was actually a tin box) and two churches, Baptist and Presbyterian. Because of the “rapids” on the river that divided the town, its name was soon changed to Dell Rapids.