The capital city of Pierre, South Dakota is known for its rich history, drawing thousands every year just to experience it.
What you may not know, that history extends more than 10 feet below the sidewalks.
Back in the day, people would access the nearly century-old buildings underground through areas known as vaults. About a dozen of them still sit under the sidewalks giving a view into Pierre's past.
"They're a link to Pierre's former history. Most of [the vaults] are at least 100 years old. They were the access to the lower levels to stores at those times," Pierre City Administrator Leon Schochenmaier said.
Very few people know they exist. But thanks to construction underway of downtown streets and sidewalks, many are discovering them for the first time.
"When we reconstruct them we put in new city utilities under the street and then we connect the utilities to the stores, the water and sewer connections. When we replace those service connections, it's not uncommon we run into a vault. We have to figure out how do we get through. Does it stay there?" Schochenmaier said.
Most building owners want the vaults underneath filled, saving them the expense to maintain them and the liability. But, before they made that decision, they had to discover they were actually down there in the first place.
"I grew up in Fort Pierre and don't think many people know there are vaults under the sidewalk. When I bought the building, I opened the doors and realized three big huge rooms and that's where the sidewalk goes up above," Salon owner Angel Kolb said.
All along Pierre Street, the vaults are considered a hidden treasure.
"It's really cool. They're old, it's history, something you won't see again. It's cool," Capitol Sports Manager Ronda Sweetman said.
The vault underneath Capitol Sports is in the worst shape, according to Schochenmaier.
"It's in such serious condition, that we're very cautious about putting snow removal equipment above it this winter," he said.
In the next few months, the city will pour a new sidewalk to fill in the vault so nobody will know it was here.
The total number of vaults over the years remains a mystery. Only about 10 remain today. While they won't physically be around forever, the memories of them will.
Filling the vaults adds several thousand dollars to the construction already planned. City leaders have been giving tours upon request, with the approval of building owners, as they spread the word about the vaults before some are filled.
Thursday, February 20 2014 7:42 PM EST2014-02-21 00:42:09 GMT
Behind the glory of football there are the scars and bruises. Some visible, some not. We still have much to learn about the health risk football puts on it's players, but some of the biggest strides inMore >>
Behind the glory of football there are the scars and bruises, some visible, some not. We still have much to learn about the health risk football puts on it's players, but some of the biggest strides in research are happening on South Dakota's fields.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 11:45 PM EDT2014-03-10 03:45:40 GMT
Colon and colorectal cancers are the third most common cancer diagnosis in the United States, attacking thousands of men and women every single year. One of those is Katherine 'Kitty' Kocevar. Like mostMore >>
Colon and colorectal cancers are the third most common cancer diagnosis in the United States, attacking thousands of men and women every single year. One of those is Katherine 'Kitty' Kocevar.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 11:26 PM EDT2014-03-10 03:26:14 GMT
The Summit League Tournament is in its second day at the Sioux Falls arena, and people are packing the place. The tournament has set records for attendance all six years it has been in Sioux Falls. LuckilyMore >>
The Summit League Tournament is in its second day at the Sioux Falls arena, and people are packing the place. The tournament has set records for attendence all six years it has been in Sioux Falls.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 9:42 PM EDT2014-03-10 01:42:11 GMT
The situation in Ukraine is escalating. Next Sunday Crimea will hold a referendum to see if the people want to become part of Russia. University of Sioux Falls Professor Dr. Kermit Staggers said heMore >>
Next Sunday Crimea will hold a referendum to see if the people want to become part of Russia.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 2:55 PM EDT2014-03-09 18:55:49 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) - A sure sign that spring is on the horizon: daylight saving time has arrived. Most Americans pushed the clock forward by 60 minutes before heading to bed Saturday night, but daylightMore >>
A sure sign that spring is on the horizon: daylight saving time has arrived.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 2:51 PM EDT2014-03-09 18:51:13 GMT
A Chinese restaurant in Worthington sustained significant damage after a fire broke out, early Saturday morning. The Worthington Fire Department responded to King Wok, formerly known as Michael's Steakhouse,More >>
A Chinese restaurant in Worthington sustained significant damage after a fire broke out, early Saturday morning.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:17 PM EST2014-03-09 01:17:06 GMT
ST. PAUL — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), St. Paul Field Division Special Agent in Charge Scott D. Sweetow today announced a reward of up to $5,000 for information leadingMore >>
There is a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect(s) responsible for the arson fire to the Colonial Inn Motel, in Yankton.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:05 PM EST2014-03-09 01:05:09 GMT
Despite a warm-up on the way in our forecast, taking a dip into water outside may be the last thing on our minds. In Huron, Saturday, if it was for a good cause, it was hard to say no. More than 200More >>
Brave souls plunged into icy cold water in Huron, Saturday, for a good cause. More >>