A Walk Through South Dakota History
A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:
Every year, thousands of visitors come to Pierre to enjoy all that our Capital City has to offer. Every South Dakotan can be proud of the State Capitol Building, which has been beautifully restored and maintained. The Capitol grounds are also impressive, especially in the summer, with the Fighting Stallions Memorial and the veterans’ memorials along Capitol Lake. The Cultural Heritage Center provides an opportunity to learn about the history of our state.
South Dakotans may not be aware of a new attraction that is being added to our Capital City – the Trail of Governors. This project combines art and history, and is placing life-sized bronze statues of every former South Dakota governor in Pierre, on a trail connecting the downtown business district with the Capitol grounds.
The Trail of Governors was started about five years ago. It is operated by a non-profit board and funded entirely by private donations. Each year, beginning in 2012, three new statues, sculpted by South Dakota artists, have been unveiled and placed in the Capital City.
Three new statues were just unveiled: Warren E. Green, Nils Boe and Mike Rounds.
Warren E. Green was the state’s thirteenth governor. He was a farmer and former legislator from Hamlin County. Green had finished dead last in the Republican primary, but after the leading candidates deadlocked at the Republican Convention, Green was nominated as a compromise. He served for two years during the depths of the Great Depression. Green’s statue portrays him clutching his hat with his jacket blowing in the wind, conveying the difficult days of the “Dust Bowl” era. It will be placed to the north of the Capitol on Nicollet Avenue.
Nils Boe served from 1965-69 as the state’s twenty-third governor. An attorney from Sioux Falls, Boe had served two terms previously as speaker of the house, and was the only bachelor to serve as governor. While serving as speaker, his fellow legislators had presented him with a beagle puppy, known as “Beagle Boe.” The statue, which will be placed in downtown Pierre, portrays Boe with his beagle.
Mike Rounds was South Dakota’s thirty-first governor before being elected to the U.S. Senate. An avid pheasant hunter, Gov. Rounds prioritized the expansion of public hunting opportunities. His statue portrays Mike ready for the hunt, with his shotgun in hand and his hunting dog, Baby, at his side. The statue will be placed on the Governor’s Mansion grounds on Capitol Avenue, near the Pierre neighborhood where the Rounds family grew up.
These three new statues join 12 others that have already been placed in Pierre: Arthur Mellette, Charles Herreid, Robert Vessey, Peter Norbeck, Harlan Bushfield, George T. Mickelson, Frank Farrar, Dick Kneip, Harvey Wollman, Bill Janklow, George S. Mickelson and Walter Dale Miller. On your next visit to Pierre, I encourage you to enjoy the Trail of Governors and take a walk through South Dakota history.