Section A: Beginnings
Press & Dakotan

Section A: Beginnings


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PRESS & DAKOTAN SATURDAY, AUGUST 6, 2011 PAGE 6A: YANKTON 150 Family Owned & Operated for 39 Years Carpet Vinyl Laminate Wood Tile Larsen Carpet 212 Walnut,Yankton ~ 605.665.2067 Politics In The New Territory Greed Often Reared Its Head In Territorial Politics, And Yankton Wound Up Paying A Steep Price Yankton streets (Burleigh and Picotte) now honor the names of early leaders who were the subject of numerous complaints about election irregularities, bribery and other forms of corruption. I ve often wondered, while making the fourEven the Yankton gang quarreled among themhour drive to Pierre, if perhaps Yankton wouldn t selves. There were rivalries and jealousies bebe our capital city yet today if our forefathers tween businessmen on Broadway and Capitol would have behaved themselves? streets, according to historian Herbert Schell s Of course, that s water under the bridge. But fine book, The History of South Dakota. the 150th observance of Yankton s founding and Indian issues, railroad rights-of-way, the formathe creation of our territorial government is a tion of counties and numerous other challenges proper occasion to learn from the past. The truth faced the territorial is that we could Legislature and the have been a better That midnight trip doomed Yankton as the Yankton leaders. capitol city, and we paid a price. state capital. We had it, and we let it slip from They muddled their way along, as First of all, we our grasp because of greed, self-interest governments usushould have done the obvious things and a frugal disinclination to make smart in- ally do, but not many citizens in like investing in vestments at the right moment. the sprawling the construction Dakota Territory of a governor s were impressed with their Yankton leadership. mansion and a capitol building, and sharing the The local gang knew of the growing dissension, spoils with our potential opponents from the but they felt they had an advantage because any north and west. We did the exact opposite. As I recall, the capi- re-organization of the territory had to occur within the city limits of Yankton. tol building that we did build was eventually Undaunted by such legal obstacles, wrote moved east of town and rehabbed into a chicken Schell, the nine members (of the capitol commiscoop. Every governor had to build his own home, sion) secretly proceeded to Sioux City where in and most of them came from the South where they didn t suffer our frost-freeze cycle, so all but the early hours of April 3, 1883, they boarded a special train consisting of an engine and a single one of their mansions were soon torn down. coach, and set out for the capital. As they reached (The only one still standing, The Pennington the city limits at about six o clock that morning, House, now provides offices for our South Dakota they halted the train briefly while they organized Magazine at Third and Pearl.) themselves. Then followed a junketing through And as for spoils for the opponents? Gov. Penthe Territory by the The Capital on Wheels, as nington was a good man and probably one of the top territorial governors, but even he had his pec- the commission was nicknamed . That midnight trip doomed Yankton as the cadilloes. For example, he created Pennington state capital. We had it, and we let it slip from our County, modestly had it named for himself, and then proceeded to appoint his friends, rather than grasp because of greed, self-interest and a frugal disinclination to make smart investments at Black Hills leaders, to the county posts. Many of the right moment. them didn t even go West to serve they hanI m not suggesting that there are any lessons dled the duties from Yankton. Patronage was almost the order of the day, but to be learned in this sad story. But you know there were far worse transgressions. Some of our what they say about history BY STATE REP. BERNIE HUNHOFF For the Press & Dakotan P&D ARCHIVE PHOTOS The original territorial capitol (above) was built at the intersection of Fourth and Capitol in Yankton. When political interests snatched the government seat from Yankton in 1883, local residents were outraged and the capitol building became known as a disgraceful eyesore. It was eventually hauled away and turned into a chicken coop. However, tempers cooled after more than a century and a replica of that original capitol was constructed in Yankton in 1989 (below). P&D ARCHIVE PHOTO An early Supreme Court of Dakota Territory. The body included William E. Gleason (who served from 1865-1867), Jefferson P. Kidder (1865-1875), Ara Bartlett (1864-1869) and John W. Boyle (1867-1869). Times May Have Changed... But the philosophy at Yankton Rexall hasn t! W here the pharmacists can call you by name and you can call them after hours. W W here the owner is behind the counter and has invested his professional life in our hometown community! here you can call, fax or send via internet your prescription order and it will be ready when you arrive or use our convenient drive-thru window! YA N K T O N Continued Confidence Since 1923 109 W. 3rd Historic Downtown Yankton 665-7865 1-800-377-6337
Family Owned and Operated for 39 Years
Larsen Carpet
212 Walnut
Phone: 605-665-2067
Politics In The New Territory
Original Territorial Capitol
Times May Have Changed....
Yankton Rexall Gift Shop
109 West 3rd Street
Phone: 605-665-7865