marked one of the most aggressive times of construction, and the
progress made was considered remarkable. From the level of the
foundation, a labor force averaging 65 men erected the structure to a
point level with the peak of the roof.
Dakota West Magazine (Winter 1978), these 65 workers using three huge
derricks, set about 100,000 square feet of stone. 2.5 million bricks
were laid. 300 tons of of iron were set in place and 70,000 cubic feet
of concrete poured. Work was suspended on December 19th, and with the
exception of a few men working on the inside during the winter,
operations were not stated again until March 1909.
that time, the derrick was raised to a point level with the tower deck,
and the erection of the dome began.
work was slow, but considering it involved 100 tons of iron, 350,000
bricks, and thirty cars of cut stone, it amazed the town that the last
stone was set on June 25th, 1090 - 1 year to the exact day that the
corner stone was set.
the curved steel rafters were raised, and the
process of concreting and enclosing the dome began.
While all this
was taking place, there was much ado besides the obvious external
construction. in August of 1908, the Federation of Womens's Clubs of
South Dakota made the following resolution:
that the Federation of Womens's Clubs of South Dakota, earnestly
favors provisions by the legislature, and capitol commission for
interior finish and decoration of the new state capitol , befitting
the wealth, culture and dignity of a great commonwealth. That the
provision for interior decoration should not be less than five
percent of the entire cost of the structure and that the mural
decorations should be made only by American Artists of the highest
repute; that to this end, if it be deemed expedient, we
should favor a small amount of decoration of the highest order than
to accept anything less than the best.
director of the South Dakota State Historical Society writing in his
1970's pamphlet "State Capitol of South Dakota" that "The Capitol
Commission finally decided on the modest but effective plan of Mr. W. G.
Andrews Decorative Co. of Clinton, Iowa. He had secured
commitments. from Mr. Edward Simmons to supply five pictures. Mr.
Charles Holloway, three pictures; and Mr. Edwin Howland Blashfield, one
Young's Dakota West article attested "The suggestion of the women's
clubs that a very little of the best art is preferable to a great amount
of poor art became the keynote of the campaign of art propagandists and
was echoed from every corner of the state."
At a much
later date, the painting commissioned of the most celebrated artist
eventually became the most controversial.
More on the Capitol
from the ground up