Who were the past five governors of your state? If you don’t know (or don’t care), you may wonder what possessed South Dakota to erect bronze statues of all of its governors, as a tourist attraction, in its capital city of Pierre.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact Rick Jensen, Trail of Governors Foundation, 605-454-0689, TrailofGovernors@aol.com
PIERRE, S.D. – The Trail of Governors Foundation Board will host an unveiling of three former governors’ statues at 10 a.m. CDT on June 17, 2022, at the State Capitol in Pierre.
The three new life-size, bronze statues will portray these governors:
Andrew E. Lee served as governor from 1897 to 1901. Lee, born in Norway, worked as a store clerk in Wisconsin before moving to Dakota Territory. He started a mercantile and owned farms near Vermillion. Lee was South Dakota’s only Populist Party governor. The Lee Medical School building at the University of South Dakota is named for Lee, on land he donated.
Frank Byrne was governor from 1913 to 1917. Byrne was born in Iowa and was lured to Sioux Falls by the Dakota Boom. He worked for homesteaders before filing his own claim in McCook County. He later moved to Faulk County, and became a land company owner at Faulkton. He was lieutenant governor before being elected governor.
William J. Bulow served as governor from 1927 to 1931. He was born in Ohio and received a law degree from the University of Michigan. Bulow moved to Beresford where he opened a law office and served as mayor. After his term as governor, Bulow was elected a U.S. Senator, serving for 12 years.
Statues of the three governors will be unveiled in a ceremony at the Capitol Rotunda. They will join 28 completed statues along the trail. The final three will complete the trail of 31 former governors’ statues as the foundation has been working toward for more than a decade. Each statue portrays a governor from his time of service, as is reflected in the garments and items that are part of or next to each statue.
The Trail of Governors is funded by donations, and donor opportunities are still available for Govs. Samuel H. Elrod, Coe I. Crawford, Frank Byrne, William J. Bulow, and Harvey Wollman. All donations are tax deductible and managed by the South Dakota Community Foundation. More information is available online at TrailofGovernors.com.
The Run With the Govs’ 3.5-mile walk and run event will be held the following day, June 18, beginning at 8 a.m. CDT, with the starting line at the Capitol’s front steps and following the statues. Registration information can be found via Facebook. Event proceeds are donated by the organizers to the Trail of Governors Foundation.
PIERRE, S.D. – Statues for South Dakota Govs. Charles Sheldon, Coe Crawford and Carl Gunderson were unveiled at the Capitol Rotunda on June 11.
Gov Kristi Noem recalled interesting times in history experienced by these three during the Trail of Governors ceremony as the life-size bronze likenesses were viewed. Several former governor family members participated in the ceremony along with friends and statue donors.
“South Dakota is known for successfully taking on challenges and raising gifted leaders. The Trail of Governors celebrates this,” Trail of Governors Foundation President Rick Jensen stated. “Here in South Dakota, you can walk – or run – alongside our state’s former governors. Along the way, you can enjoy first-class artwork, learn some important history lessons, and get a workout.”
“The trail is reality thanks to many donors who generously contribute to the project. They understand the importance of telling South Dakota’s story and recognizing our leaders who helped shape this state.”
The statues’ sculptors talked about what inspired them to create the statues: James Michael Maher, Lee Leuning, Sherri Treeby, and James Van Nuys.
The three newest statues will be added to 25 statues already on the trail that begins at the Legion Cabin on the shores of Lake Sharpe, winding through downtown Pierre and the Capitol grounds.
The statues are funded by donations made to the trail’s foundation and managed by the South Dakota Community Foundation. All donor names are listed online at TrailofGovernors.com. The website also provides the biographies of each governor, photographs and other trail details.
The primary donor to-date for Gov. Crawford’s statue is the Jason and Michelle Glodt family with a one-quarter donation. Primary donor names are cast in brass plaques at each statue’s base.
The trail celebration continues on Saturday, June 12, with the Run with the Govs event. Runners and walkers will gather by 8 a.m. at the Capitol’s front steps. Proceeds will go to the Trail of Governors Foundation. Those wishing to learn more about this 3.5-mile event can do so online at https://runsignup.com/Race/SD/Pierre/RunwiththeGovsSD and on Facebook.
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Here’s a link to download/copy photographs. No photo credit necessary.
Here are links to each of the three governors’ biographies:
Gov. Charles Sheldon – https://www.trailofgovernors.com/governor-charles-h-sheldon/
Gov. Coe Crawford – https://www.trailofgovernors.com/governor-coe-i-crawford/
Gov. Carl Gunderson – https://www.trailofgovernors.com/governor-carl-gunderson/
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 27, 2021
Contact: Rick Jensen, President, Trail of Governors Foundation, (605) 454-0689, TrailofGovernors@aol.com
PIERRE, S.D. – The Trail of Governors Foundation Board will unveil three former governors’ statues at 10 a.m. on June 11 at the State Capitol in Pierre.
The three new life-size, bronze statues will portray these governors:
– Charles H. Sheldon, a Pierpont Republican, was the state’s 2nd governor. A farmer, he has served in the territorial legislative council prior to being elected governor. Sheldon was a popular orator, representing the Republican party at events across South Dakota following his term as governor. It was in Deadwood where he died from pneumonia while on such a tour.
– Coe I. Crawford, a Huron Republican, was the state’s 6th governor. Before serving as governor, he was a teacher and then railroad attorney after earning his law degree. He also served in Dakota Territory’s final legislative council, as a state legislator, and as attorney general prior to being elected governor. After leaving the governor’s office, Crawford was elected to the U.S. Senate.
– Carl Gunderson, a Mitchell Republican, was the state’s 11th governor. Gunderson was a farmer, a state senator, and lieutenant governor before being elected governor. Gunderson received an engineering and surveying degree from the University of South Dakota. He homesteaded in Clay County and also farmed in Aurora County. He is buried at Bluff View Cemetery in Vermillion, on land he originally homesteaded.
Statues of the three governors will be unveiled in a ceremony at the Capitol Rotunda on June 11, 2021. They will join 25 completed statues along the trail. Once placed next summer, only three statues of former governors will remain to complete the trail. Each statue tells a story of not only that governor, but also of the unique time in history during which they served.
The Trail of Governors statues are funded by donations, and donor sponsor opportunities are still available for Govs. Sheldon, Crawford and Gunderson. All donations are tax deductible.
More information is available at www.TrailofGovernors.com.
- 2021 unveiling of Governors Crawford, Sheldon, and Gunderson is June 11th at 10 AM. In the Capitol Rotunda.
- 4th Annual Run with the Governor’s is June 12th at 8:30 AM
Speaking of history, we are living through a most memorable time. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected so many aspects of our lives and here is yet another. The Trail of Governors Foundation board is postponing the new statue unveiling that was planned for June 2020. We will announce a new unveiling date for the bronzes of Govs. Sheldon, Crawford and Gunderson when we believe it is safe to do so. We will email you again when we have a new date to share.
If you have questions or wish to be a donor for one of these statues or the trail project, we welcome hearing from you: email TrailofGovernors@aol.com or call 605-454-0689.
Stay tuned and stay safe.
~Trail of Governors Foundation Board
Warren E Berry (the great grandson of Governor Tom Berry’s brother Claude Allen Berry, Sr.) Recorded the video and read the biographies.
PIERRE, S.D. – Statues for South Dakota Govs. Samuel Elrod, Archie Gubbrud and Dennis Daugaard were unveiled at the Capitol Rotunda on June 14.
Gov Kristi Noem took part in her first Trail of Governors ceremony as the three bronze statues were viewed for the first time by a crowd of attendees. The three former governors’ families took part in the ceremony along with many friends, former staff members and statue donors.
“We are proud of the history that is being told with the Trail of Governors,” Trail of Governors Foundation President Rick Jensen stated. “Only in South Dakota, can you walk among our state’s former governors. Along the way, you can admire the artwork created by our state’s finest sculptors and take in several interesting history lessons.”
“This project is reality thanks to the donors who generously contribute to the project. They understand the importance of telling South Dakota’s story and recognizing our leaders who have helped shape this state.”
The statues’ sculptors spoke about what inspired them to create the governors’ statues the way they appear in bronze: James Michael Maher, Lee Leuning, Sherri Treeby, and James Van Nuys.
The three newest statues will be added to the 22 statues that are already on the trail beginning at the Legion Cabin by Lake Sharpe, through downtown Pierre and winding around the Capitol grounds.
The trail’s statues are funded by donations made to the trail’s foundation, and managed by the South Dakota Community Foundation. All donor names are listed at www.TrailofGovernors.com.
The primary donors to-date for Gov. Elrod’s statue are Gary and Connie Grittner with a one-quarter donation. Elrod served from 1905 to 1907 as the state’s 5th governor.
Gary and Connie Grittner have also provided one-quarter funding for Gov. Gubbrud’s statue. Gubbrud was the 22nd governor, serving from 1961 to 1965.
Major donors for Gov. Daugaard’s statue are Scott and Julia Jones, the South Dakota Community Foundation, Rotary Clubs of District 5610, and Gov. Daugaard’s family and friends. Daugaard served in office from 2011 to 2019 as the state’s 32nd governor.
A new addition that began last year during statue unveiling weekend in Pierre is a Run with the Govs event. It will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 15 by the Capitol’s front steps. All proceeds will go to the Trail of Governors Foundation. Those wishing to learn more about this 3.5-mile event can do so online at https://runsignup.com/Race/SD/Pierre/RunwiththeGovs and on Facebook.
Preferred method mail to:
Trail of Governors
2310 Patron Parkway
PO Box 296
Pierre SD 57501
Donations of any amount are welcome and will be posted on the Donors page.
Donated to Date: