Sioux Falls in Minnehaha County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
The Government Building
In 1891, the Unites States Government purchased the southeast corner lot on Phillips Avenue and 12th Street for $8,000 for the construction of a government building. While everyone agreed that the fledgling city of Sioux Falls needed such a building, the site selected came about after a bitter fight among competing businessmen.
A group of men led by two of the very earliest settlers of Sioux Falls, Wilmot W. Brookings and John McClellan, wanted the building located on the “north end” of Phillips Avenue. They all had economic interests in that area and wanted to enhance the value of their property. A second group, led by South Dakota Senator R.F. Pettigrew, was interested in developing their property at the “south end” of Phillips Avenue. Each group offered incentives to the federal government.
Senator Pettigrew introduced a bill in Congress to provide funds for the project. While waiting for the outcome, he and his syndicate improved South Phillips Avenue and gathered signatures from people who favored their site. Congress passed the bill, and after due consideration, the Secretary of Treasury chose Phillips Avenue and 12th Street for the new public building. This aroused a protest from the “north end” crowd, and the site location was again debated in Washington, D.C. However, the Secretary’s decision prevailed, and construction on this site began in 1892.
The two-story building was completed at a cost of $152,000 and was opened to the public on May 17, 1895. The exterior with its simple materials, large massing, and great rounded arches shows the influence of the Richardsonian-Romanesque architectural style, so popular in the 1890s. The interior housed a post office on the first floor and a federal courtroom on the second floor. A third story was added in 1911, and in 1931 a two-story wing was added to the east side of the building. The post office moved to a new facility in 1968.
This handsome stone building is one of Sioux Falls’ finest examples of the stone cutters’ art and of local building practices of the late nineteenth century.
Minnehaha County, SD State and
District of SD Branch of US Courts
Citibank, Mary Chilton DAR Foundation and
Judge Peder K. Ecker
Erected 1995 by Minnehaha County, SD, State and District of SD Branch of US Courts, Historical Societies, Citibank, Mary Chilton DAR Foundation and Judge Peder K. Ecker. (Marker Number 656.)
Location. 43° 32.58′ N, 96° 43.597′ W. Marker is in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in Minnehaha County. Marker is on South Phillips Avenue south of East 12th Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is located along the sidewalk, beside the tall wrought-iron fence securing the parking lot on the south side of the subject building. Marker is at or near this postal address: 400 South Phillips Avenue, Sioux Falls SD 57104, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The First School House 1873 (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Washington High School (about 500 feet away); Lt. Jonas Lien (about 700 feet away); Cigar Manufacturing (approx. 0.4 miles away); Fort Dakota, D.T. (approx. 0.4 miles away); Illinois Central Depot (approx. 0.4 miles away); Early Sioux Falls (approx. half a mile away); Urban Renewal (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sioux Falls.
Categories. • Architecture • Man-Made Features • Politics •
Credits. This page was last revised on October 5, 2018. This page originally submitted on October 1, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 27 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 5, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.