tv South Dakota Capitol CSPAN October 8, 2017 6:35pm-7:01pm EDT
woman that -- and they're in really good condition. and they're just amazing to see. so when i was there, he showed them to me and i never would have known about them unless i went out to the site, you know, spent the time with the property owner and talked to them. and that's why he shared them with me. and that's amazing. so to be able to see things like that, i never would have even known about or seen because they're not in a museum. they're not anywhere that i would have known about publicly. they're just sitting in someone's private home. so that's truly amazing, is that i'm getting to see things that private property owners have and are willing to share with me. >> you can learn more about the project at her website. saving slave houses.org. and you can view this and all other american history tv rograms at c-span.org/history.
ï»¿>> we are at the south dakota state capitol in pierre where c-span is learning more about the history of the city. the building is an example of renaissance architecture. up next, we take you inside for a tour and to learn why pierre was chosen as the state capital. mr. venhuizen: pierre is a pretty small town as far as capitals go. fort pierre is another 2500 people. not only is it small, but it is pretty remote. it was selected as the state capital because it is in the middle of the state. it is really a two or two and a half hour drive from any other major town. that presents challenges. people have to drive quite a istance.
the state is by far the largest employer and it really ominates the economy here. when dakota territory was created in 1862, the original territorial capital was in yankton, in the far east corner of the territory. the territory was both north and south dakota. as the territory was settled, three distinct territories emerged. there was yankton near sioux falls. you had a settlement in north akota. and bonanza farms. and after the gold rush, there was settlement in the black hills. it became more and more clear that yankton was not
tenable. a corrupt individual according to south dakotans created a new capital. that caused a rift between the northern and southern parts of the state. by that point, the capital was in bismarck and that became the capital of north dakota. yankton was not a tenable option for south dakota. there were probably 8-10 cities that contended to be by that point, the capital was capital. pierre won that vote on the strength of its position almost
perfectly in the center of outh dakota. the western part of the state was almost completely unsettled by european settlers. there were native americans in the western part of the state that part of the state. pierre's claim to be centrally located was kind of hollow. but it won the initial ote. there was a second vote in 890. pierre won that vote also. a final vote was held in 1904 and pierre defeated mitchell or the final time. the construction of this capital building -- planning
for it began shortly after that. that is why our capital building was not built until 1908-1910. there was -- i think every state capital is built to give a sense of importance and permanence and especially to have an imposing structure like this built in a town like pierre. it would have stood out ca and made a statement about our confidence in our state and our future. construction was set back by about a year because of a dispute about out-of-state stone. when they sought the bids for this stone to build the structure, the low bids all came in from other states including michigan and indiana. it is interesting, because that is kind of an analogy for where a lot of the early settlement came from. most of our early governors came from the great lakes states. that is where a lot of the
settlement came from. this capital was built with tone almost exclusively from other states. there was a lawsuit that attempted to force the building to be built entirely with south dakota stone. we have quarries in sioux falls. and there was a lawsuit that forced it to be built with stone and there is stone available in south dakota but that case was not successful in the decision was made to go with a low bid and that is why it is built without a state of stone. right now, we are in the rotunda of the capital. looking around the rotunda a little bit, there are 4 wells for statues. hose wells stood empty until the state's centennial in 1989 and the state commissioned for statues by dale, a sculptor and now our artist laureate.
integrity was encouraged. and represented by the 4 statues of gods. the flags, obsolete, the south statues by dale, a sculptor and now our artist laureate. dakota flag and there is a flight from dakota territory and a flag from the united states and flags for spain and france because of a controlled his territory at different times and each corner has, one corner has a white flag and black and one yellow and those are the native american colors times and each corner has, one of the compass. there is a lot of symbolism in the rotunda. this is the governor's reception area and it was in the original governor's
office. today, it enjoys the governor's office and the room the governor uses to greet guests and host small receptions and very often bill signing ceremonies. it was the first room restored one of state capital administration efforts began in 1976, the state capital restoration began with the u.s. centennial in 1976 and ended around 1989. it was the first room restored and prior to that, it had a drop ceiling and institutional green paint and a really incredible to see how bad it a look. trying to understand how some time in our history, people felt it was an improvement over what it looked like. the real controversy that existed in this room since it existed was a large mural on the wall behind me called
progress of south dakota. it portrayed an angel leading the european settlers into the territory, really trampling over the native american inhabitants who seemed to be ind of lying on the ground and being troubled by the settlers. symbolic in some ways, but obviously, pretty controversial as our reviews of history have changed. it was a controversy for 20 or 30 years in south dakota. that in the 1970's, the governor as of the time attempted to resolve it by retitling the mural with the name only from our mistakes can we learn and that did not really satisfy anyone. in the 1980's, another governor put a curtain but the problem was it had gotten so much news overage that everybody who
visited wanted to see it and they will always opening the curtain to show it to people and it did not serve any function. about 20 years ago, the governor at that time decided although the mural should be preserved and it cannot really be removed, there is a false wall built out and build to atch the rest of the walls. the mural is behind the sheet rock, it is not visible to see. we have a picture to see and occasionally visitors are aware and want to see what it looks like. that is ho walls.w the issue was dealt with. maybe not the perfect answer but sometimes in the situations, there is no perfect answer. this is a statue of general william henry harrison beadle, general beadle was born in indiana and was a brigadier general and the civil war and came to the dakota territory
after he was appointed by president grant to be the surveyor general and spent the rest of his life here. he is a very important figure in our early history particularly because of his advocacy for the school land concept. she thought the strongly that we needed to endow our school system and pushed for system that pushed for one in each township through the state that would be owned by the state and trust for the benefit of the schools in that township. over time, those parcels of land have been slopped into larger areas and as they are not all necessarily the same. budget to this day, we have the public land trust that operates to produce money for our school system. this was an innovative idea and one that caught on and other
states that became states around at the same time, north dakota, montana, wyoming, washington copied south dakota's provision. general beadle when the u.s. capitol invited each state to contribute 2 statues, general beadle was the first selected from south dakota. this is the twin of the statue at a u.s. capitol. i have been comic to the capital my whole life, my grandpa served in the state senate and i used to visit him as a little kid. we have a mini school groups who go through the capital every year. one of the things that kids most remember and what they know is the story of these blue tiles on the floor. the capital was being built, the floor was presented by stonemasons from italy and traditionally the stonemasons
are allowed to sign of their work somewhere. there were so many they do not want them to do that. the story is each stone mason given a blue tile to place on the floor, supposedly there are 66 of them through the building. only 55 have ever been found. if you take a tour on the state capital and with the school group, that's a lot of attention paid to trying to find as many blue tiles as you can while here. i hope when people visit the state capital they see we have a lot of pride in our state and our history. and that they also see where open about our state capital and our government. the security here is a very light touch. there are no metal detectors. we have extensive hours where people can visit. we get a lot of visitors here from out of state. very often people trying to visit state capitals and all
the state and they are impressed by how open hours that capital is and how easily you can look around. >> this weekend, where featuring the history of pierre, south dakota with our cable partners. learn more about pierre and other stops in our cities tour on c-span.com. >> c-span where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies. and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> chance are if you're walking through downtown peer you'll
come across one of these bronze statues. they start here at the state capitol and stretch all the way down to the missouri river. next, we'll hear about some of south dakota's former leaders. >> the trail of governors is a project started in 2011. by a couple businessmen here in town who are history buffs and who wanted to find a way to in ote south dakota history the capital city. of course, it gets a lot of tourists who are visiting the capital in the capital or visit capital cities. we get a lot of school groups. and they wanted to have a way to inform people about the history of this state. so they conceived of something that as far as we know is unlike anything else in the country, which is a project to place a life-sized bronze statue of every former governor on a trail in the state
capital. so it starts here, goes around the capital grounds and the governor's mansion. then down capital aff new to the county courthouse, which is the site of the first building. then down the main street, down to the american legion headquarters which is on the missouri river. this is governor george s. mickelson, the governor from 1987 to 1993 and it was really a period of transformation for the state. governor mickelson was a very charismatic, energy jest jetic, positive guy. he had been in the state legislature. his father had been governor in the 19 40's. for governor he really wasn't a well-known figure and did a lot of door to door campaigning and on the ground campaigning for more than a year, won the election in a bit of an upset. but he is very fondly remembered. he put a lot of emphasis on economic development.
he was our governor during our state centennial and led that. also emphasized our relationship bt native american tribes. governor mickelson declared 1990 to be the year of reconciliation. he also proposed that columbus day be renamed flailtive american day. governor mickelson died in a plane crash when he had just under two years left in office. he and a group of business leaders and state officials had traveled to cincinnati to meet with owners of the meat packing plant in sue falls to talk about the future of that plant. they ran into some bad weather coming home and the plane crashed near dubuque, iowa. so he's the only governor to he n office, and really was a relatively young guy and a very popular guy, and it was a real shock to the state when it happened. so this is his statue on the
trail of governors. just over there is the fighting stalions memorial which was built as a memorial to governor mickelson and the other plane crash victims. it's a large sculptur based on a smaller sculptur who conceived of the crazy horse monument in the black hills. these statues make a real effort to capture the personalities of the governor being portrayed, so george mickelson is shown here pretty informal. he has his jacket slung over his shoulder and he's reaching out his hand as if he's going to shake hands. very much portrays him as the active friendly person that he was. his father who was governor in e 40's is around the front and off to the side really to the west of the capital. a lot of our early governors have faded into history and maybe aren't that well known but peter nor vack is still remembered very fondly. he was governor 100 years ago
from 1917 to 19 21. he was an interesting guy. he was the first governor to have been born in the state. when he was a young man he started an artetion well-drilling business, literally bought a single machine. he found a way to improve the process and make it a lot cheaper. but the end he was the largest well driller in a five-state area. he was very admired for that because a lot of the settlement of the entral portion state was only possible because of that effort. he was elected to the state senate and then lieutenant governor. and led the effort as a senator to start preserving land in the black hills as parkland. and then as governor he led the creation of custer state park, which is one of the largest state parks in the country and is really very beautiful of the state was only area of the black hills. he was very hands on. he personally we want out survey it had highways himself, laid out where the fence should go himself.
he was the chairman of the state park board as he was the governor. he led the construction of the game lodge in a lot of the early facilities and his statue really recalls that. it shows him as a surveyer pointing forward the needles which are rock formation portrayed at his feet along with the pig tail bridges, which are another famous feature which he led the construction of. he was a progressive theeder roosevelt type republican, lead the formation of a lot of state-owned enterprises. we had a state coal mine, state hail insurance, and a state-owned cement plant some of which worked out, some of which didn't. but he remained pretty personally popular, served in the u.s. senate for the rest of his life. he was the driving force behind the construction of mount rush mor at the federal level, the badland's national park were established because of his work. grand teton national park in wyoming, he sponsored the bill
to create that. made a very significant legacy for conservation and park land in south dakota and in the united states. arthur millet was pretty typical, he was a native of indiana, went to the university of indiana in bloomington. ran the newspaper in munsie, indiana and was an attorney there. then he came to south dakota or dakota territories at the time his wife had respiratory problems and indiana was too humid. so he wanted to find a more mild climate for her. so he originally came to springfield, his wife had respiratory problems and south . he was a friend of benjamin harrison who was a u.s. senator from indiana at that time. and senator harrison arranged for him to be appointed to run the land office in springfield, south dakota, or dakota territory. he lived there for a couple of ears and then moved to run the
ater water in the northeast part of the state and became very involved in our early efforts for efforts for statehood. he was selected provisional governor of those efforts. when benjamin harrison got elected president in 1888, that was good for him for two reasons. first of all, harrison was the leading advocate in the senate for statehood for north and south dakota and as president was able to push that through and make that final. he also turned to his frnd to be the last governor of dakota territory, which was appointed by the president. and so when we became a state in 1898, he was very easily elected as our first governor. this is governor bill janchingelo. he was south dakota's governor twice. he left because of term limits 2003 me back from 1995 to the longest
serving governor in our state's history and the third longest serving governor in the country. he was a very col the longest serving governor in our state's character. he was an outspoken guy and an aggressive guy who would try to take action sometimes in pretty unorthodox ways. one of the things he's most remembered for is his management of disasters. when there was a tornado or some other kind of disaster he would be out there personally directing the response, yelling at people, barking out orders. we had a very bad tornado in a town called spencer in 1998 and he was one of the first people on the scene coordinating the response. this statue really recalls that. you see he's holding a bull horn in his hand which was not uncommon in those situations. and you can't see it but the jacket he is wearing is a south dakota highway patrol jacket. the governors of south dakota tell you a lot about the history of our state. the early governors for the
most part moved here as adults, they came from the midwestern states. they moved here as adults and helped set up the state and run it. you get into our middle period and you have people for the most part moved here as children. then in our later period now most of our governors were either born here or came here as very young children. and really represent the deafment of the state. really, almost without exception our governors have been fiscal conservatives. even a democrat like tom berry during the great depression cut spending, a balanced budget has been a high priority. governors have emphasized the pension plan. we're the only state in the country with a fully funded pension plan. so we're responsible and we're conservative but at the same time we're not afraid to be pragmatic or aggressive. so you'll have governors like peter norbeck or joe floss or bill or ken or even our current
governor in some cases who will step outside of the ideological that is what the voters want. this weekend, we are featuring the history of pierre, south dakota. learn more about pierre and other stops in our cities tour at c-span.org/cities tour. you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend, on c-span3. , on american history tv, we hear from lucian perkins, a two-time pulitzer prize winner and former washington post staff photographer. he talks about his career and his photos of fours and the ,ormer yugoslavia, chechnya iraq, and afghanistan. as well as his family living in poverty s