Happy Birthday large building in Pierre.


KCCR, KELO and a host of others are reporting on the State Capitol's impending 100th birthday. 2008 would mark the 100th Anniversary of the laying of the Capitol's cornerstone.

And 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of the Capitol's opening for business.

Part of the announced centennial celebration next year will be to encourage people to visit this vital part of South Dakota's heritage.

There are so many stories surrounding the building that people don't know, and that may be lost to history if we aren't careful.

The age of the building is one factor - I know in my grade school youth, a school mate's dad provided the key for us, and I actually went up in the dome to look around. Anymore, it's much too treacherous, and that part of the Capitol has been sealed off for more than a decade as too dangerous. And there's also that Blashfield painting, which will likely remain sealed behind a wall until the next full building restoration.

In looking at the history, it's not just the Capitol we should know about - it's the whole grounds. I hadn't known that for years after it's construction, Capitol Lake had been a very popular skating pond in the winter. That is, until some kids drowned in it around the 30's or 40's.

And until I was informed of it recently, I had no idea that there are wild mink that live in burrows under the rock shore.

So the urban legend goes, it was discovered 15-20 or so years ago when during a luncheon that the first lady at the time was hosting on the back porch area, one of the swans that used to live in the pond came tearing from the shore, towards the luncheon, with this brown furry thing attached to it, taking large hunks from it's neck.

As the waterfowl ran through the middle of the luncheon, jetting blood as the animal continued to eat it's dinner, a frantic call was made to staff, and the situation was resolved.

Despite efforts to remove them, I'm told the mink population bounced back, and they still haunt the rocks along with Koi, carp, turtles and the occasional frog.

This Capitol Building moment is brought to you by the SDWC. (And the pins from the last Capitol Fight are from my personal collection)

Comments

Anonymous said…
What's the Blashfield painting?
Anonymous said…
The controversial painting picturing the settler's manifest destiny which Governor Janklow covered because it had offended Native Americans for years.
Anonymous said…
There's an AG Opinion that gives a little bit of background on the painting
http://www.state.sd.us/attorney/applications/documents/oneDocument.asp?DocumentID=167
Mark Schuler said…
The mink story is not urban legend, it happened: my mom was there. Some Republican women's luncheon or other. Kinda spoiled the desert portion of the menu, mom recalled.

Those interested in the Capitol's history should find a copy of "The South Dakota Capitol in Pierre" by Harold H. Schuler. It's in most public and school libraries around the state.

For those who remember him from 50 years of Republican party work, the author is a healthy, happy 84 though now retired from writing after publishing 11 South Dakota history books.
Anonymous said…
How was the Blashfield painting covered and can we still see it if we know where to find it?
Anonymous said…
Koi and carp are the same critters, just different colors.

Also, you can periodically see the mink slinking along the rocks, especially along the Capitol Avenue side.
Anonymous said…
Koi and Carp yes, are the in a way the same but there is something different. I thought that the Koa grew bigger????
Anonymous said…
Koi are Japanese goldfish
Carp are American Goldfish
Anonymous said…
American carp from what i remember are a brown fish that lives from what i remember in the Mississippi river. They are a very, very, bony fish and you can eat then if you want to fight the bones.
If they are an american gold fish that would be news to me...
Anonymous said…
Interesting that the pin promoting Pierre is fashioned with a single big RED star.
Anonymous said…
You cannot see the Blashfield painting. It was on the far wall in the Governor's Receiving Room. Janklow had a false wall built to cover it up - that way the mural is preserved but cannot be seen.

It was offense to Native Americans because it showed a white settler standing on the head of a Native American (as I recall).
Anonymous said…
Will everyone please quit their carping!!
PP said…
9:58 -

The Pierre pin was in the EARLY part fo the century (before '05)before the invention of communism. So, sorry. No conspiracy.
Anonymous said…
Koi are domesticated carp, but they are still the same species (Cyprinus carpio)

There's soemthing fishy about this Blashfield painting, though :-)

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