Shortly after Tripp County was opened to settlement in 1909, the town of Carter was platted and the initial lot sale was held on the 17th of December, 1909. The highest prices ever paid for vacant lots in the Rosebud country or in the state as far as is known was paid for lots in Carter. Business lots reached as high as $3,100 for 25' x 140' lots. Few sold for less than $1500.
CONSTRUCTION OF CARTER
Building started during the winter of 1909-10 with the expectation that the Chicago Northwestern Railway would be coming through. Even the hard winter did not hold back progress as the advantages of Carter were not to be questioned. Its trade territory would be Tripp, Todd, and Mellette counties plus Washabaugh and Bennett counties to the west. It was the center of the land district with no impassable streams. The Western Townsite Company (owned by the Jackson Bros.) was behind the promotion of Carter and had contracted with the Pioneer Townsite Company for the establishment of a Chicago Northwestern Railway station at Carter. This was to be one of the railways most important terminus for the time to come. The Chamberlain and Gregory U.S. Land offices were to be combined and Carter was to have a government land office.
Big two story buildings were erected. The Hotel put up by I. T. Stone was the finest this side of Norfolk and Fremont, Nebraska. Banks were started and businesses set up. The women organized their clubs and societies.
Water of 99.75% purity was to be conveyed from springs to the south of Carter. A dam was built on Deer Creek (DeBell), which formed the beautiful Lake Westonka to the east of Carter. This lake provided the swimming hole, the picnic grounds, boating, and fishing plus an ice harvest in the winter.
Carter at its hey day is said to have had a population of 300 people and probably had the most substantial buildings of any town in Rosebud.
Carter's first newspaper was "The Carter News" and was published May 26th, 1910.
The town of Carter was named for Jarvis W. Carter, Registrar of the Land office, Pierre. Some contended it was named for a rancher to the south by the name of Carter.
October 8, 1910 the Carter Woman's Club was organized. In 1911, it was admitted to the Federated Woman's Club.
WHAT HAPPENED TO CARTER
Two devastating fires, one on January 12, 1925 and one on March 31, 1926 consumed much of the town. The fact that they were never able to float bonds for a water system was perhaps a contributing factor to the final fall of the town. Winner until 1929 and then it missed Carter by some seven miles.
Source: Tripp County Historical Society, 6th Annual Auto Caravan, Heritage Tour, Sunday, September 26, 1976