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Display at Capitol to mark milestone In state’s 125th anniversary year


PIERRE, S.D. (KELO-AM) – Historic artifacts and exhibits will be on display in the state Capitol Building in Pierre on Friday, Feb. 21, to mark the passage of the Enabling Act of 1889.

 The Enabling Act, signed into law by President Grover Cleveland on Feb. 22, 1889, authorized the Dakota Territory to split and allowed those in what would become South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Washington to proceed in seeking statehood. After meeting the requirements established in the Enabling Act, South Dakota’s admission to the Union was formally granted by President Benjamin Harrison on Nov. 2, 1889.

 “This display commemorates a very important milestone in our journey to statehood,” said Gov. Dennis Daugaard. “As we continue to celebrate South Dakota’s 125th anniversary, I hope we will take the time to consider our past, how far we’ve come and where we can still improve.”   

 Several artifacts from the Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society will be on display in the Capitol Rotunda from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. CST on Feb. 21, including:


  • The pen President Benjamin Harrison used to sign the proclamations of statehood for South Dakota and North Dakota;
  • Tickets to the Republican and Democratic state conventions held in Huron in 1889 to nominate candidates for the new state’s offices;
  • A ticket issued to Gideon Moody – who was elected as one of the state’s first U.S. Senators – to attend South Dakota’s first legislative assembly in Pierre on Oct. 16, 1889;
  • And a gavel made from a stair railing from Germania Hall in Sioux Falls – the site of the state’s constitutional conventions in 1883, 1885 and 1889. The gavel was used in the state House of Representatives until 1974.


Two traveling exhibits from the State Historical Society will also be displayed in the hallways of the first and second floors of the Capitol from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Feb. 21. 

 The first display, “Marketing Dakota,” depicts the sales pitches and promises used to draw settlers to the territory and state. The second, “Drawn to the Land: Homesteading Dakota,” tells the story of the homesteading experience. The exhibits are two of ten the Society will have available. The rest will be on display in communities throughout the state later this year.

 Information about the South Dakota State Historical Society and the traveling exhibits is available athistory.sd.gov/Museum/exhibits/traveling.aspx.


To find out more about 125th anniversary activities, visit 125.sd.gov