HISTORY OF BOX ELDERThe city of Box Elder serves as the gateway to the Black Hills. In the late 1800s, the future site of Box Elder was a fertile valley, luring settlers west with untold promise. Lone Tree, a few miles east of Box Elder, was originally a stop for the covered wagons and horsemen coming to the Black Hills from Fort Pierre on the Black Hills Stage and Wagon Road. Box Elder was born as a whistle-stop town in 1907 when the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad built a track from Wall to Rapid City. The new town was named after the box elder trees, which grew along the head waters of the creek that flows through the valley. Box Elder was officially incorporated as a city in 1964 during the Cold War expansion of Ellsworth AFB. Today, Box Elder is home to nearly 9,500 people and is one of South Dakota’s fastest-growing cities. The city of Box Elder, nestled between Ellsworth and Rapid City, offers city convenience with a small-town atmosphere.EDUCATIONThe city of Box Elder is home to the Douglas School District, one of the finest school systems in South Dakota. The district serves more than 2,500 students with Carrousel preschool services, Badger Clark Elementary, Douglas High School, Douglas Middle School, Francis Case Elementary and Vandenberg Elementary. The district is in western South Dakota on the edge of the Black Hills and serves students from Box Elder, Ellsworth AFB and the surrounding rural area.Children living on Ellsworth or in the Box Elder community will attend the Douglas School System. Busing is no longer provided to school children living on base. However, the Ellsworth Youth Center offers a before- and after-school program that provides busing to and from Douglas schools for a fee. For more information about bus transportation in the surrounding Box Elder communities, contact the transportation office at 605-923-0022. The Douglas School District administrative office can be reached at 605-923-0000.LAW ENFORCEMENTThe Box Elder Police Department serves a residential population of approximately 9,000 citizens with an authorized strength of 11 full-time officers and three reserve police officers. The administrative contact phone number to the Box Elder Police Department is 605-923-1401.FIRE DEPARTMENTThe Box Elder Volunteer Fire Department proudly protects an area of 81 square miles. They are members of the Pennington County Fire Fighter’s Association and are centrally located in the city of Box Elder at 120 Box Elder Road. The VFD contact number is 605-923-1224. The VFD also hosts area voters, as a polling station, on Election Day.RECREATIONBox Elder offers a variety of recreational pursuits in addition to being the Gateway to the Black Hills, such as Bandit Ball Little League, a BMX track, Prairie Ridge Golf Course, a paint ball arena and several city parks.SERVICESBox Elder has many varieties of businesses to serve your needs. For more information, contact the Box Elder Area Chamber of Commerce, which can be found online at www.boxelderchambersd.com.