While in South Dakota for the LWMS Convention, we decided to check out the South Dakota State Capitol building in Pierre. It is a wonderful capitol and I really liked all the marble. The capitol features a copper dome, Corinthian columns, rusticated walls of granite and Bedford limestone, and a decorative interior with English and Italian Renaissance features. It was constructed between 1905 and 1910. The plans for the building were designed by the Minneapolis architectural office of C.E. Bell and M.S. Detwiler, who gave the building similar features to the Montana State Capitol in Helena, Montana. The planning and construction cost was almost $1,000,000. I have to say, it was well worth it.
Allegedly, the floor was laid by 66 Italian artists and is made of terrazzo tile. However, the thing that impressed me the most was the marble staircase. I love marble and it caught my attention as soon as we walked in the door. I also thought it was interesting that miniature replicas have been made of the gown worn by each first lady to the state inaugural ball. These replicas are worn by dolls in a display case, along with a picture of each governor’s family.
On the second floor, the marble staircase leads into a rotunda. The dome of the rotunda is 96 feet high. The bottom ring is designed to resemble a string of ribbons joined together, which is meant to symbolize the eternal nature of government. The interior of the dome is decorated with sixteen images of the Tree of Life. The dome also displays acanthus leaves to represent wisdom and a pasque flower, which is the state flower. The third floor houses the state’s House of Representatives and the state’s Senate. The galleries for both, from which the public can observe the legislative process, are located on the fourth floor.
Out in front of the Pierre Capitol is a rotunda flanked by the legislative wings, making it somewhat similar to the nation’s capitol. It is also the home of Capitol Lake, a manmade artesian lake constructed in 1913. Also on the grounds are four memorials. The Fighting Stallions Memorial is a sculpture built to honor the eight South Dakota residents, including Governor George S. Mickelson, who died in an airplane crash on April 19, 1993. The Flaming Fountain Memorial is a fountain with a perpetually burning natural gas flame. It was installed to honor South Dakotan veterans. The Law Enforcement Officer Memorial pays tribute to police officers who have died in the line of duty. Six bronze figures on a peninsula in the Capitol Lake comprise the World War II Memorial; each represents one of the branches of service in which South Dakota residents served during World War II.
As you can see in the picture above, it was quite a bright sunny day in Pierre,(which we learned was pronounced PEER), but a lovely day to explore the South Dakota State Capitol, grounds, and the lake near it. The memorials were amazing and very well done. We were very happy that we were able to check out the South Dakota State Capitol building in Pierre while in the area. Below is some basic information but you can also check out their website. One more note of history before I end this post, the State Capitol Building in Pierre is only one of 4 capitols not served by the interstate system. The other 3 are the capitols in Juneau, AK; Dover, DE; and Jefferson City, MO. Just thought it was an interesting fact to share. Happy travels.
South Dakota State Capitol Visitor Information
500 E Capitol Ave, Pierre, SD 57501
The Capitol Building is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and on weekends and holidays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Thanksgiving week through the legislative session, the capitol building is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Self-guided tour brochures are located in a stand inside the north doors of the building.
Tours can be scheduled by calling (605) 773-3688.
Wheelchairs are available to use free of charge while in the Capitol. The wheelchairs are located inside the west Limited Mobility Entrance. Visitors are asked to return to wheelchairs to this area when finished using them so that others may find them readily available.
Visitors with Limited Mobility
The parking lot off of Nicollet Avenue (adjacent to the west wing of the Capitol) is restricted to vehicles with a handicapped permit appropriately displayed. A curb ramp provides access from the parking area to the
sidewalk. The automatic doors are sensor-activated. If the doors do not
open automatically (during off-hours or during certain weather conditions), visitors are requested to press the button located to the right of the door to summon assistance. Once inside, an elevator is at the end of the hall and to the right.
Visitors With Visual Impairment
K-9 Companion / Guide Dogs – Licensed Guide Dogs are welcome in
the Capitol and on tours.
Visitors With Hearing Impairment
Telephone – TDD/TTY telephones can be found
in the following offices:
Legislative Research Council
3rd floor, West Annex wing
Office: (605) 773-3251
TDD/TTY: (605) 773-4305
Bureau of Personnel
1st floor, West Annex wing
Office: (605) 773-3148
TDD/TTY: (605) 773-6957
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