Celebrating 125 years of South Dakota - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Celebrating 125 years of South Dakota

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We continue our year-long salute marking the 125th anniversary of South Dakota's statehood. South Dakota became the 40th state on November 2nd, 1889.

At that point, after a number of fights, the capital moved to Pierre. Since then, it has grown from a little river town to a thriving community. 

The city of Pierre has come a long way since it was granted the permanent state capital back in 1890. That wasn't until after series of elections against other cities. 

"Pierre won every one of those but it was really hard fought, nasty. There were two communities up for the vote," Mayor Laurie Gill said. 

A small, temporary capitol building on the corner of Capitol and Nicollet became the first, but it wasn't big enough. So, in 1905, lawmakers proposed plans for a new building which ultimately became the new building 5 years later. Believe it or not, built for under a million dollars. 

"It's a mixture of art, architecture, history and politics all wrapped into one. It's a beautiful building but have so many unique features to see," Mike Mueller said.

It's decorated in rich artistry, with unique features like 66 blue tiles in the floor representing the 66 Italian artists who left their work behind.

"I've lived in Pierre sine 1991 and every time I walk in, it's unique. It's special every time you come in," Michael Mueller said, with the SD Bureau of Administration. "The capitol is built to be an imposing structure. It's meant to be grand and it's fulfilling that very well."

Many say it's a historic trademark making Pierre, South Dakota, what it is today.

"When you look around, we are what we are because of the capital. It brings so much to our community," Mayor Gill said. "It's an exciting, vibrant first-class municipality with a hometown feel."

But Pierre wouldn't be the capital it is without the strength of its people. The summer of 2011, Pierre saw the biggest natural disaster in history. It took awhile but soon the community started to thrive again moreso than before. 

"We all banded together, worked closely to get through that at a lot of different levels. We came out of that a stronger community. It is a real morale booster to look around and see how far we've come," Mayor Gill said. 

Pierre tells its own story throughout history, Gill said, and it's Capitol building. The state is 125 years old this year and best of all, it belongs to the people.

"I always say welcome to 'your capital city'. That's one of those things only the Mayor of Pierre gets to say. It's an honor to be able to welcome people," Laurie Gill said.

Pierre's central location was a major factor in the decision to make it the capital. In the Dakota Territory days, the capital was down the Missouri River in Yankton.
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