In 1905, costs were estimated to run to a total of half a million dollars. But by 1907, costs had swollen to $600,000


Even before it's construction took place, the new building was not without it's controversy. As author Harold Schuler related in his book "The South Dakota Capitol in Pierre," considered to be the authoritative volume on the building, it was related that "the 1905 law creating the construction of the Capitol had no provision in it that required using only South Dakota materials." And that it was in great question "whether to use in-state stone or out-of-state stone in the construction of the Capitol Building."


This resulted in the Sioux Falls board of trade sending a resolution to the Governor noting in part "RESOLVED that the Board of Trade of Sioux Falls most respectfully urge that you use in the Capitol building the product of the state whose citizens pay the cost of the construction..."


While this matter began debate, the foundation for the east wing was completed was completed using native stone and field boulders on which the Capitol rests to this day. The only repairs that have taken place to the foundation since involve a moisture sealing project that has been ongoing since the late 1980's.


Shortly following the Sioux Falls Board of Trade's efforts at insisting that native stone be used, the matter was brought before the State Supreme Court, and drug on through the time of the 1906 elections, where is became a campaign issue. This argument caused the Capitol Construction to be delayed through 1907, when the new legislature finally laid the issue to rest, and mandated that "the Capitol Commission was required to use South Dakota stone and materials in the Capitol construction process as long as the cost did not exceed by 5% materials produced in other states.


In nearly two years' time, halted by battles and bickering, the only work that was able to be completed was the construction of the east wing's foundation. But with the debate settled, further efforts at construction began apace.


Based on costs, the materials settled upon for the construction included granite from Ortonville, Minnesota, jasper from Sioux Falls, and Bedford Limestone from Indiana. However, because of a lack of a firm contract with the Sioux Falls supplier of Jasper, eventually the Sioux Falls jasper was dropped from the contract entirely. Because of this change, no more than the foundation could be completed in 1907.


With work starting again in March of 1908,  the Capitol Commission approved the laying of a 4 foot by 4 foot Ortonville Granite cornerstone with polished letters and the great seal at the grand cost of $745. June 25th, 1908 marks the day when a lively crowd of dignitaries and residents gathered for the laying of the cornerstone belonging to South Dakota's permanent State Capitol.


Governor Coe Crawford made a speech of presentation, introducing General W. H. H. Beadle who made an address for the occasion.  Deposited in the cornerstone of the building are several articles of the time, including coins of 1907, Capitol Bills of 1905 and 1907. The Ordinance of 1797, Blue Books of 1905 and 1907, photographs, architectural drawings, copies of the South Dakota constitutional debates, newspapers, and many more materials of the day.


The day after the corner stone laying ceremony, the Capitol Commission approved the paying of several bills, including $50 for the Capital City band, and $1.41 in reimbursement to Governor Crawford for the coins deposited in the corner stone.




Below, you can see the cornerstone of the Capitol Building as it appears today.



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From the ground up



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