Have you ever wondered: Why is the letter U a letter V on South Dakota's state capitol?

PIERRE, S.D. - There's a lot of debate that goes on at the state capitol, but this debate isn't about politics. It's all because south is spelled wrong. Well, kind of. Many people have different opinions about why the V has replaced the U.

"It's either a mistake or it's some kind of a cultural thing," said Carla Noe.

"V for victory. I don't know!" said Heidi Wade.

"I don't think we had a clue. We just thought there had to be a reason, but it didn't make a lot of sense to us," said Merrill McFayden.

Many people were puzzled as to why a V sits where many people know a U should be. Apparently, it's thanks to the architecture of the building.

"We've used architecture from around the world, and Greek and Roman have a large impact," said Geraldine Ray, who is a volunteer for the state's capitol and gives tours. "Greek, Roman alphabet. So, if you look at their alphabet, there is no U. There is a V. So it is spelled correctly. It just looks funny."

But it will stay that way because it's original.

"That's the history of it. If we were to change the V to a U, we have now changed something in time that we can never go back to," said Ray.

Plus, there are many Greek influences all over the capitol building, like the goddesses, the arches, and columns. Even though it may look like it, the columns are not made out of marble.

"They're made out of a special process called scagliola and the reason why, it costs too much to bring in all that marble," said Ray.

There are many fun facts like that about the capitol. One of the bolsters in the staircase is upside down compared to the others. It's thicker at the top and skinny at the bottom instead of the other way around. South Dakota also bought the blueprints of Montana's capitol for $15, so South Dakota actually has the same capitol building as Montana.

Ray encourages people to visit the capitol because she has many more hidden treasures to share about the building. Tours are free.



 
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