Brookings is a city in Brookings County, South Dakota, United States. Brookings is the fourth largest city in South Dakota, with a population of 22,056 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Brookings County, and home to South Dakota State University, the largest institution of higher education in the state. Also found in Brookings are the South Dakota Art Museum, the Children's Museum of South Dakota, the annual Brookings Summer Arts Festival, and the headquarters of a number of manufacturing companies and agricultural operations.
The county and city were both named after one of South Dakota's pioneer promoters, Wilmot Brookings (1830 - 1905). Brookings set out for the Dakota Territory in June 1857. He arrived at Sioux Falls on August 27, 1857, and became one of the first settlers there. He and his group represented the Western Town Company. After a time in Sioux Falls, Brookings and a companion set out for the Yankton area to locate a town in an area that was soon to be ceded by the Native Americans. This trip was begun in January 1858, and the two soon encountered a blizzard that froze Brookings' feet which both had to be amputated.
He rose to a high position in the Territory, once being a member of the Squatter Territorial Legislature and later being elected Squatter Governor.