Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Historic South Dakota: Sioux Falls, United States Courthouse


November 2, 1889 - South Dakota became a state.

December 29, 1890 - The U.S. Army 7th Calvary Regiment entered a Lakota Camp at Wounded Knee to disarm the residents when a fight occurred.  A Shot was fired and the Army soldiers panicked and began shooting indiscriminately at the Native Americans. When it was over 150 men, women and children of the Lakota tribe had been killed. 25 Army soldiers were also killed by friendly fire.

After the incident it was decided a federal building in Sioux Falls was needed to create a sense of stability for the young state. and act as a beacon of permanence and sophistication for the current and new settlers.

July 22, 1891 - The U.S. Government purchased a two lot parcel on the corner of 12th Street and Philips Avenue dedicated to the construction of a Federal building in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The bill to fund the structure was introduced by South Dakota's first Senator, Richard Pettigrew.

Supervising Architect of the Treasury, W.J. Edbrooke designed the building to house a post office on the first floor and a courthouse on the second floor with the main entrance on Phillips Avenue. Part of the original design was a basement for storage. The style of the exterior is Richardsonian Romanesque with wide arches, rusticated stone accented with smooth stone finishes and monumental massing.

1892 to 1895 - The construction of the new Federal building took place at a cost of $152,000.

1895 - President Benjamin Harrison appoints Judge Alonzo J. Edgerton as the first judge to occupy the courthouse.

1911 to 1913 - Under supervising Architect of the Treasury, James Knox Taylor the building was extended 30 feet to the east and the third floor was added.

Substantial interior alterations were also completed. The post office lobby was extended, the turret stair was replaced with a new marble stair was placed in the southwest portion of the original building and an elevator was installed in the adjacent lobby. The new public hallways, lobbies and stairs featured marble baseboards, treads, landings and terrazzo with a marble border served as flooring.

1931 to 1933 - Under the direction of Supervising Architect of the Treasury James A. Wetmore a two story wing with full basement was added to the east side of the building. Like the 1911 alterations, the new addition was sympathetic to the original building.

1941 - A new elevator is installed.

1956 - A new freight elevator is installed.

1967 - Original slate roof is replaced with green asphalt shingles.

1968 - The post office was relocated to another building. But many features remained the same, including the 1911 iron and marble stairs, the oak paneled courtroom and two small vaults with mural scenes painted on the the doors. The first floor is "modernized".

1972 - New slate roof is installed over asphalt shingles. Second floor southwest judge's suite is remodeled.

1974 - The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

1981 - Third floor mechanical upgraded and remodeled.

1982 to 1983 - Historic courtroom and surrounding spaces remodeled.

1985 - Historic courtroom restored.

1993 - All brass piping replaced with copper.

1995 - The buildings centennial celebration occurs. Pre-1995 new courtroom on the first floor constructed.

2000 - New courtroom on the second floor constructed.

Present Day - The building houses federal offices and courts.

U.S. Courthouse, Sioux Falls, South Dakota