Never visited the South Dakota State Capitol? See what you've been missing - take a virtual tour!
In addition to hosting a variety of special State events, the Capitol and surrounding grounds are also available for private events. Some restrictions apply. For a complete list of guidelines and procedures, visit the link below.
This incredible exhibit chronicling the 100 year history of the Capitol is on display at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center through December 12, 2011. For a preview of the exhibit, click below.
While Pierre ultimately won the right to serve as South Dakota's capital city, the competition for that honor was fierce with cities like Huron, Mitchell, Sioux Falls, and Watertown battling for the recognition. Get an inside look at the fight and the ultimate victory with this informative exhibit from the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center.
This entertaining and educational television special from South Dakota Public Broadcasting highlights the history of the State Capitol from the formation of the Dakota Territory through each phase of the construction and restoration of the building itself as well as details some of the historic events that have taken place within its walls. A must-see for history and architecture buffs along with all South Dakotans interested in the story of "Our Statehouse".
Volume Four in the Historical Preservation Series, "South Dakota State Capitol: The First Century" by Marshall Damgaard depicts the progression of the Capitol from idea to reality utilizing more than 130 historical and contemporary photographs. A wonderful addition to any book lover's Capitol collection!
On Feb. 11, 1905, the Committee on Capitol Grounds and Buildings introduced a bill in the South Dakota Legislature authorizing the construction of a permanent state capitol to be erected in the capital city of Pierre, South Dakota.
The bill made its way through the normal legislative channels, receiving a "do pass" recommendation from the House Appropriations Committee before passing the South Dakota House of Representatives on a vote of 74 to 12.
The trip through the state Senate was not quite as easy. The Senate Appropriations Committee sent the bill out "without recommendation" and an amended version passed the South Dakota Senate on a vote of 36 to 8.
The final bill was delivered to the desk of Governor Charles N. Herried on March 2, 1905 and signed into law in the spring of that year.
Ground was broken and excavation for the State Capitol began in 1905. The building was designed by Minneapolis architects C.E. Bell and M.S. Detwiler, who patterned the structure after the then new Montana Statehouse (which was designed by Bell). Steam and horse driven tools were used for the excavation process.
The corner stone for the South Dakota State Capitol was laid on June 25, 1908. The Grand Lodge of Masons conducted the ceremony, which featured addresses from Governor Coe I. Crawford and General W.H.H. Beadle. The corner stone can still be viewed today on the lower left corner of the front of the Capitol.
The initial structure was completed in 1910 and formally dedicated on June 30, 1910. The annex was added to the north side of the building in 1932. The Capitol underwent repairs in the 1930s and 1940s, with the dome being replaced in 1964. A complete restoration was completed between 1976 and 1989.
The South Dakota State Capitol stands 165 feet tall, 142 feet wide, and 297 feet long. The building features native field stone, Indiana limestone, Vermont and Italian marble, intricately carved woodwork, and specially cast brass.
In addition to its unique architectural features, the State Capitol is also home to numerous pieces of artwork which were created specifically for the structure. Murals by Charles Holloway can be found in the state Supreme Court Chambers, the Senate Chamber, and the House Chamber. (His work in the House of Representatives is the largest mural in the Capitol.) Edward Simmons crafted the murals which adorn the Capitol Rotunda. The mural in the Governor's Reception Room was painted by Edwin Howland Blashfield. Due to the controversy generated in later years by Blashfield's mural for its depiction of Native Americans, it is the only piece of artwork commissioned for the Capitol that cannot be viewed by the public. The mural is preserved behind a wooden cradle, the front of which was finished to match the other walls of the Governor's Reception Room. Other paintings created specifically for the Capitol including 18 lunettes (or half moon murals) by William Peaco, located in the building's second floor corridor.
The Capitol also boasts an impressive selection of sculptures and statuary. These include a marble statue of General William H.H. Beadle, who delivered the oration when the corner stone for the Capitol was laid; four bronze sculptures by Dale Lamphere which were commissioned in commemoration of the South Dakota Centennial in 1989; a bust of Governor Peter Norbeck by Mount Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum; and the Sherrard Plate, which was placed in the Capitol in 1912 in honor of Elizabeth Hazelton Sherrard, the founder of the South Dakota Children's Home.
View photos of the State Capitol during its construction and throughout its history on the "Photos/Videos" page of this website.
Twenty-five governors have been seated in office in the Capitol since it was completed, beginning with Robert S. Vessey of Wessington Springs who served as governor from 1909 to 1913.