SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — When you think of monuments in South Dakota, you probably go to Mount Rushmore, but there are more scattered throughout the state. Some even served a purpose at one point.
In this week’s Flashback Friday, we take you back to 1988 for a look at the markers that line the border of the Dakotas.
Farmers in the Hecla area always know if their livestock are in North Dakota or South Dakota. 800-pound quartzite markers clearly establish the state lines. But while border residents like Harold Treeby long marveled at the markers, they have never known much about them.
“Well, we often wondered then why every half mile. I mean it was necessary but it seemed like it was a little bit strange to us.”
But a University of North Dakota professor, who has been researching the border markers for 10 years now, says they were put in place at the request of Congress in 1891 and 92. He says the reason for the markers was simple. Back then, nobody knew for sure exactly where the border was, so South Dakota Senator Richard Pettigrew urged Congress to appropriate $25,000 to survey the land and place the Sioux Falls quartzite, a job that must have been a monumental task back in its day.
“Oh, it must have been! They had to come in by railroad and then haul it by wagon. It must have been a big job.”
Although some of the markers have fallen over the years, or have been moved to accommodate road construction, many still stand in their original spots.
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