Cramer-Kenyon Heritage Home, Yankton

I was recently able to visit the Cramer-Kenyon Heritage Home in Yankton for a crazy-short stop squeezed in-between lunch and going to the Events at the AME church to set up for a 2 p.m. presentation. I have to go back sometime and get the full experience…

It is another of South Dakota’s historic house museums with incredible integrity of building and collections – being minimally altered during the residence of family members before being transferred to a non-profit for a museum. Quite a number are Queen Anne Victorian houses, prominent Yankee people/families… The Stavig House in Sisseton is another with great integrity – but at least an immigrant family (but still prominent) and a slightly later-period architectural style… I still have a lot more on my list to visit though.

For the Cramer-Kenyon house, on my visit, I found these really interesting:

  • Curved walls to keep the spirits from having corners to hide in.
  • Lincrusta wall coverings like the Pettigrew House in Sioux Falls.
  • Many of the paintings were done by a resident.
  • Shakespeare-themed tiles in one of the fireplaces.
  • They make furniture polish in the basement based on the recipe passed along from the family.
  • Cabinet doors were installed on older shelves in the butler’s pantry during the “Dirty Thirties” to keep dust off the dishes.
  • Several pieces from the Ward family and/or Yankton College are displayed.
  • Some of the wallpaper is reproduction based on historic samples from closets, provided for free by a company in California with an agreement that the company could sell the pattern too.
The exterior of the Cramer-Kenyon Heritage Home in Yankton.
The exterior of the Cramer-Kenyon Heritage Home in Yankton, photo by author, June 2019.

Later I learned that the museum has teas, is used by book clubs, and Ben’s Brewing Co. in Yankton has done music recording sessions with local artists in the house for “The Cramer Kenyon Sessions” on their YouTube channel — cool ways to get more people exposed to the house, and build relationships with the community.

More photographs:

The museum’s profile on visityanktonsd.com; and on southeastsouthdakota.com

Building the Capitol in Pierre

Was back again in the South Dakota Digital Archives (from the State Archives) and noticed that there are several photographs up that were taken during the construction of the state capitol building in Pierre—so sometime between 1905 and 1910. It’s so cool to have construction photos of any building, but it makes sense that even at that early date, there were photographers watching the progress of a state capitol. I noted some of the things I see in the photographs. What do you see?

Photo by author, 2017
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Ceiling-heaven for the Concert in Hoven

I was able to attend the Christmas concert held at the St. Anthony of Padua Church in Hoven, S.D. this past weekend.  I called for my ticket late but they still had spaces in the balcony seats.  Granted, there were people around me who wanted to see the performers (including friends and family) and were disappointed that some of the church columns obstructed their view, but I LOVED being so close to the church’s gorgeous ceiling in my corner of the balcony.  There are so many details to note all around the building–I highly recommend a visit, especially if you can make it to a future Christmas concert.

So here are some of my low-res cell phone photographs of a beautiful historic building before I settled in to listen to the wonderful music…

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New book on Early SD Churches from SDHS Press

The South Dakota Historical Society Press has volume 6 of its Historic Preservation Series coming out soon, “Early Churches in South Dakota.”  The bulk of the book was written by, and features the photography of, Robert W. Sebesta, but I was asked to write a brief introduction essay.  It’s unexpectedly kind of super exciting for me to see my name on a book for the first time… maybe someday I’ll have a book of my own…

Find more about the book and ways to pre-order before its released in August 2018, here.

earlychurchescoverimage


P.S. July 2018:  I got to see a copy and there is a misprint on page 1–for the Dakota name of the First Presbyterian Church, it was printed as Whakapapa’s instead of Wakpaipaksan Okadiciye.

South Dakota Architects – W.F. Blatherwick, C.V. Booth, R.H. Booth

W.F. Blatherwick

Wilfred Francis Blatherwick was born in 1890 in Chattanooga, Tennessee to Wilfred F. Blatherwick and Mary Reckner.  In 1913, he graduated with a degree in architecture from the University of Illinois.  He did training as a draftsman in Vincennes, Indiana, and worked for a firm called Bausmith & Draine in Cincinnati in 1915.   Between 1918 and 1921, he moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  Before forming his first firm with George C. Hugill, W.F. Blatherwick worked as head draftsman and designer for prominent architectural firm of Perkins & McWayne.  Hugill & Blatherwick formed their firm in 1921 and set up offices in the Boyce-Greeley Building in downtown Sioux Falls.  Continue reading

South Dakota Architects – Berg, Bjodstrup, and The Black Hills Co.

This post is the third in a series on architects (and some builders) who were residents of South Dakota in order to dig a bit into their lives and work.  Some made a bigger impact and/or left a better historical record than others, but we miss something if we only study the biggest names.  There are a handful that were only mentioned once and I can’t find anything else about them – maybe I’ll include them in a list at the end…  I’ll do my best to restrict these profiles to architects who are now deceased.  If any readers have additional information or corrections, please leave a note in the comments! Continue reading

South Dakota Architects – Alber, Albright, and Bartlett

I love historic places and I love pulling out details of the history of these places.  Contributing to this quirk (obsession) is my affinity for finding information and organizing it, in hopes that I or others may find the information useful when undertaking higher-level analysis.  I’ve demonstrated this in previous posts, and I would call out a few examples here, but it’s actually quite apparent in most of them…

Because I love historic places, information on their architects has been one of my obsessive projects.  This post will start a series on architects (and some significant builders) who were residents of South Dakota in order to dig a bit into their lives and work.  Some made a bigger impact and/or left a better historical record than others, but we miss something if we only study the biggest names.  There are a handful that were only mentioned once and I can’t find anything else about them – maybe I’ll include them in a list at the end…  I’ll do my best to restrict these profiles to architects who are now deceased.  If any readers have additional information or corrections, please leave a note in the comments!

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