|“Central,” Canton’s first permanent high school was built in 1884 and was regarded as one of the best in eastern South Dakota, if not one of the best in all of the Dakota’s. It was a large two-story brick structure with enough room to house all the students on the first floor. But in a few years, as enrollment started to climb, all the rooms were put to use. By 1910 there were too many students for the school and some had to be sent to the Augustana campus, which was not in use that year. In 1923 the “old” Canton High School was built. This ultra new structure was complete with a swimming pool, gymnasium, and an auditorium with a balcony and seating for over 900 people. Once again Canton was considered to have one of the best schools in the state.
The Canton School District has a rich tradition of excellence in education. School was first held in Canton during the winter of 1868-69 in a sod house on the southwest corner of what is now the Lincoln County Courthouse block. In 1870 Canton’s first real school building was constructed. This building quickly overflowed and in 1878 a two story frame building was erected consisting of one large classroom on each floor. With the coming of the railroad in 1879, Canton once again needed a larger school. In 1884 a large two story brick building, designed to hold elementary classes on the first floor and high school classes on the upper floor.