Item From the Past: Across the Wide Missouri
On July 31, 2005, we drove from near Alberta Lea, Minn., to Pierre, SD, by way of Mitchell, SD, home of the Corn Palace, which we saw. We also met Zach. He was sitting outside one of the tourist shops in Mitchell. More information about him I do not have.
Our campsite that evening was near the banks of the Missouri River not far from Pierre. Lewis & Clark and their party came this way 201 years earlier, on their way to winter in the future North Dakota. Probably they saw something a little different than we did, especially since we were not too many miles downriver from the Oahe Dam, a 20th-century creation. Still, this spot along the Missouri looks pretty empty, and you can imagine the Corps of Discovery going by, if you have that kind of imagination.
On the morning of August 1, we lingered long enough in Pierre to see the capitol building, which was completed in 1910. The South Dakota state capitol has a white sandstone and limestone exterior, with a copper dome that looked more black than the green you might expect, but then again the elements are harsh in the Dakotas. For some reason, I didn't take a picture of the exterior, but plenty of those are available on line. I did take an upward-looking shot of the rotunda, however.
The state capitol web site has more detail about the building, but my favorite one is that "according to legend [meaning a newspaperman might have made it up in the 1920s], 66 Italian artists were involved with the laying of the Terrazzo flooring throughout the Capitol," the web site says. "... each artist was given a special blue stone that would be called [his] signature stone. Only 55 of the 66 blue stones have been found. Perhaps some were laid where walls, doors, or carpeting cover them."