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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Pierre in Hughes County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Oahe Mission

 
 
Oahe Mission Marker image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, April 2, 2021
1. Oahe Mission Marker
Inscription.  The chapel before you did not always sit here above the dam. The Oahe Mission, which operated the Oahe Industrial School boarding school from 1884 to 1914, was built five miles north on Preoria Bottom. The chapel was used for both worship and as a classroom. Other buildings included the Industrial School, the Riggs' home, and several outbuildings. The chapel continued to be used for worship services and Sunday school after the school closed. When the Oahe Dam was constructed, creating Lake Oahe, Peoria Bottom and the remaining buildings were flooded.

Thomas L. Riggs, a Congregationalist minister, and his wife Nina founded the Oahe Mission to serve the Dakota Indians in what is now central South Dakota. Starting with the ABC primer, Dakota men, women, and children learned to read the Bible, first in Dakota and then in both Dakota and English. Later, it was taught only in English.

In the 1950s, the chapel was given to the State of South Dakota during construction of the dam. The State Historical Society became responsible for the chapel's restoration and preservation. The chapel was moved to a temporary location in 1957 to
Oahe Mission Marker image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, April 2, 2021
2. Oahe Mission Marker
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avoid flooding before settling at its current location in 1964. In 1984, the Oahe Chapel Preservation Society was established to work with the state to maintain the chapel. The Preservation Society completely restored the chapel in 1988 and rehabilitated the windows in 2010.

[Photo captions]
Oahe Mission c. 1915 from left, Oahe Chapel, school room and store house, barn, and Oahe Industrial School.
Students learning English at Oahe School in the chapel.
Students and their teacher take time out of class to pose for a photograph in 1907.

 
Erected by South Dakota State Historical Society Department of Tourism and State Development.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionNative AmericansSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1884.
 
Location. 44° 27.482′ N, 100° 23.153′ W. Marker is near Pierre, South Dakota, in Hughes County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of South Dakota Route 204 and South Dakota Route 1804, on the left when traveling east. Located next to a South Dakota Tourism Center. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 20207 SD-1804, Pierre SD 57501, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Oahe Mission School and Chapel (here, next to this marker); The Lewis and Clark Expedition
Oahe Mission image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, April 2, 2021
3. Oahe Mission
(approx. 1.1 miles away); A Changing Landscape (approx. 1.1 miles away); The Oahe Dam & Lake (approx. 1.1 miles away); Stilling Basin (approx. 1.8 miles away); Sioux Indian Mosaic (approx. 2 miles away); Turtle Effigy (approx. 2 miles away); Centre of Missouri Valley History (approx. 2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pierre.
 
Pastor Thomas L. Riggs image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, April 2, 2021
4. Pastor Thomas L. Riggs
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 9, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 8, 2021, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 42 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 9, 2021, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.
 
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Full closeup photo of marker. • Can you help?

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May. 13, 2021