read "Busted Tells Mitchell's Story." With bravado, the Pierre
newspaper story informed all of the people residing in the temporary
Capital City of 15 years that they had won the contest for permanent state
and Pierre Luck are a hard team to pull against and have demonstrated
that they are yet in good working order" was the statement of the day.
In their fight to become permanent capitol, the 2000 residents of Pierre
would sometimes entertain up to 5000 guests as transported in via the
it's main competitor, Mitchell, was not to be outdone themselves.
Mitchell lured John Phillip Sousa and his band to play in the Corn
Palace as they campaigned on a platform of "Lower Taxes" in competition with Pierre's
slogan asking residents to "Stand Pat" - a reference to the temporary
facility built by the City of Pierre in 1890, as pictured above.
Mitchell was a
fierce competitor, but Pierre's status as the existing State Capitol
combined with it's central location helped it win in the end.
In order to save both time and money, the building was patterned
after the new Montana statehouse, which you can see pictured at the
According to George Smith's account in "South Dakota, Its
History, and Its People," the same architect for that
building, C. E. Bell of Minneapolis, was called in by the State
Capitol Committee to oversee the project. Along with fellow
Minneapolis architect M. S. Detwiler, ground was broken on the
massive undertaking in 1905.
As you can see from these pictures capturing the construction
process at various moments, using the steam and horse driven tools
of the day, excavation was a slow and arduous process. After a time
when the dirt had been removed to sufficient depth, workers began
laying the foundation.