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

William H. McMaster

U.S. Senator and 10th Governor of South Dakota

William H. McMaster Marker image. Click for full size.
July 18, 2021
1. William H. McMaster Marker
Inscription.  William McMaster (1877-1968) was a progressive Republican banker and politician who fought for farmers facing hard times. He was also involved in building this Meridian Bridge.

Orphaned at 17 in Iowa, he graduated from Beloit College and came to Yankton in 1901 to work as a bank cashier in nearby Gayville. McMaster soon established several area banks. He represented Yankton in the state legislature and as lieutenant governor.

Elected Governor in 1920, McMaster led South Dakota through the post-World War I agricultural crisis and suspended foreclosures on state farm loans. He battled monopolistic oil companies by selling fairly-priced fuel at state highway shops. He encouraged construction of bridges over the Missouri River, including Yankton's spirited decision to privately fund and build the Meridian Bridge. Before a crowd of 20,000 on Oct. 16, 1924, he dedicated the Meridian, "in the name of progress, of the great sacrifice of the citizens of Yankton and all their friends who helped..."

Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1924, he further aided farmers as the Great Depression arrived. He lost a bid for re-election
Meridian Bridge & William H. McMaster Marker image. Click for full size.
July 18, 2021
2. Meridian Bridge & William H. McMaster Marker
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in 1930 and later moved to Dixon, Ill., where he continued his banking career. He is buried there.
Erected 2017 by the Grateful Citizens of Yankton County. (Marker Number 718.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Bridges & Viaducts. In addition, it is included in the South Dakota State Historical Society Markers series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1920.
Location. 42° 51.995′ N, 97° 23.642′ W. Marker is in Yankton, South Dakota, in Yankton County. Marker is on West Riverside Drive, 0.3 miles south of West 4th Street (State Route 50), on the right when traveling east. Located at the north side of the lower level of Meridian Bridge, by Water Works Area. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Yankton SD 57078, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Meridian Bridge Connects Continent from North to South (here, next to this marker); USS Scorpion (SS-278) (within shouting distance of this marker); Crossroads of Culture (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Yankton: Territorial Capital (approx. 0.2 miles away); Flood of 1881 Leaves Lost Settlements in its Wake (approx. 0.2 miles away); Yankton Riverboats (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Intersection of Third & Walnut
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(approx. 0.2 miles away); First Dakota National Bank of Yankton (approx. Ό mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Yankton.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 25, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 24, 2021. This page has been viewed 81 times since then and 33 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 24, 2021. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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Dec. 8, 2022