SURVEY: 1970s in South Dakota

The Cultural Heritage Center museum in Pierre is soliciting input while they plan an upcoming exhibit on South Dakota in the 1970s, even if you’ve never been to the CHC.  What defined the era?  What would you want to see covered?  What would be a glaring omission?

I took the survey, will you?  Link here or this is the address: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8KY782Y

modernism_8_edit

Photograph by the author.

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Digital Resources 4

This edition of Digital Resources includes three collections of the Library of Congress:

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At the Library of Congress website, I recently came across detailed plat maps of Turner, Hanson, Bon Homme, and Lincoln Counties from 1893, link here.  They were published by Rowley & Peterson, a company from Vermillion, SD.

My favorite research maps for South Dakota towns are definitely those of the Sanborn Fire Insurance Co.  Some libraries have digital access to map collections, but there are some of the nineteenth-century maps freely available on the Library of Congress, link here.

In 1939-1940, photographer John  Vachon came through South Dakota for the Farm Security Administration and took photographs of many different subjects, including grand houses, churches, ranch landscapes, snowy streets, and a family at dinner.  He went through Sisseton, Aberdeen, Roslyn, Pierre, Mellette County, Mission, Draper, Miller, Hyde County, Bowdle, Ipswich, Zell, Rockham, Faulk County, Doland, Clark County, Dewey County, Timber Lake, Trail City, Selby, Mobridge, Walworth County, Lemmon, White Butte, Ziebach County, Cressbard, Glenham, Orient, Rosebud, Perkins County, Northville, Corson County, Marvin, Lyman County, Murdo, Batesland, Pine Ridge reservation, and Keystone, link here.

In Memorium, City Edition: Pierre

Our capitol city has lost many significant and/or gorgeous buildings.  It’s hard to  look at some of these archival photographs and think “How did we lose that!?!”  Towards the bottom of the list, I’ll run through some of the recent losses–those that had been neglected, damaged, or vacated and cleared to make way for whatever comes next.  Then, way at the bottom are citations for frequently used sources, I’ll just put the minimal citation in the text.

For more on Pierre’s surviving historic places and city history: Pierre/Fort Pierre Travel Itinerary from the National Park Service and the Historic Pierre website of the Pierre/Fort Pierre Historic Preservation Office.

Now, here are some (actually, a quite a few) short(-ish) building biographies for a selection of Pierre places that live now only in archive and memory…

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Public Art in South Dakota

“Dignity,” by Dale Lamphere, photograph by author, 2016.

The new 50-foot “Dignity” sculpture, by sculptor Dale Lamphere and chief welder Tom Trople, installed at a point above the highway at Chamberlain has me thinking about South Dakota’s public art and the history thereof.  So here’s some that I can think of… suggestions and additions are very welcome!


Mount Rushmore National Memorial: Most assuredly the best known work of public art in South Dakota.  The memorial was designed by Gutzon Borglum and built from 1927-1941.  The original idea for a memorial was actually from Doane Robinson, state historian, who proposed carving historical figures of the American West into the Continue reading

South Dakota’s Gas Belt Exposition

In 1907, boosters in the city of Pierre put together a week-long Gas Belt Exposition for “a showing by practical demonstration of the lighting, heating, and power of the natural gas that comes from artesian wells in and around Pierre.”  They added in an agricultural show, musical concerts, outdoor sports and ball games, aerial entertainments, “Indian attractions,” the Scotty Phillip buffalo herd, and boat excursions.  They also advertised plunge baths, the under-construction state capitol building, and the new steel bridge over the Missouri for exposition visitors.  John L. Lockhart, John I. Newell, and Charles H. Anderson filed papers of incorporation for the Gas Belt Auditorium Company in order to construct an exhibition building on a half-block of land near downtown, donated to the purpose by the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad.

Photo of the Gas Belt Exposition building, South Dakota Digital Archives: http://sddigitalarchives.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/photos/id/53158

In 1909, at the Third (and last?) Gas Belt Exposition, they staged daily reenactments of “Custer’s Last Fight” using three units of the National Guard including the Fourth Infantry Band.  Native Americans apparently participated; two advertisements said the number of participants was 500, but another said 100-200 ‘fought’ in the reenactment while others were in camp nearby.  The reenactments were even filmed by crews from Denver and Chicago.

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