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Jianling Gao

Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Edward Patrick Hogan


Volga is located five-mile west of Brookings, South Dakota, the county seat. As a result of several trips to Volga, the author decided to seek a geographic understanding of the community. As a geographer, several questions about the community come to mind: 1. When and how did Volga originate in the remote grassland? 2. What was its course of development? 3. What geographic factors have influenced the growth of Volga? 4. In a period of small town decline, why has Volga been able to exist and grow without great local increases in industries or businesses as supports? 5. What role does Volga play today in eastern South Dakota? 6. What are the relationships and differences between Volga and other nearby towns? 7. How will Volga develop in the future? The author intends to address these questions geographically in this study. It will deal with both the spatial and temporal aspects of Volga's past growth and current situation. The objective of this study is not only to explain historically the course of Volga's growth, but also to analyze geographically those factors impacting its existence and growth, along with changes in its city function. Early Volga can be regarded as a typical example of many small towns in South Dakota. However, in recent years, as many small towns declined, Volga grew in population. Therefore, this study could be helpful for both understanding the growth courses of small South Dakota towns and recognizing reasons for their existence and their developmental changes.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Volga (S.D.) -- History
Volga (S.D.) -- Geography
South Dakota -- History



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University