PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Trail of Governors Foundation will host the unveiling of three statues honoring the state’s past governors at 1 p.m. CDT on Friday, June 12 in the Capitol Rotunda at Pierre.
The statues honor:
- 4th Gov. Charles Herreid by artist John Lopez
- 18th Gov. George T. Mickelson by artist James Michael Maher
- 25th Gov. Richard Kneip by artists Lee Leuning and Sherri Treeby
Gov. Herreid had close ties to the South Dakota communities of Leola, Eureka and Aberdeen where he lived. Gov. G.T. Mickelson was born in Selby and had business interests there both before and after being elected governor. Elkton, Arlington, Salem and Sioux Falls are towns Gov. Kneip once called home. Individuals from all these communities are expected to attend the ceremony. Many Mickelson and Kneip family members as well as friends and donors will witness the unveiling of the statues.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard will speak at the event, as will Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill, and the South Dakota artists creating the sculptures will share what inspired their vision of each leader. The new statues will be added to the trail which begins in downtown Pierre and follows a path to the state’s Capitol grounds. Gov. Herreid’s statue will be placed in the downtown Pierre area while the Gov. G.T. Mickelson and Gov. Kneip bronzes will be at the Capitol grounds, installed during the month of June. These life-size bronzes will bring the total number of governor statues along the capital city’s trail to 12. The project honoring the state’s chief executive officers is the only one of its kind in the United States.
The Kneip and Mickelson statues are fully funded, while donors for Gov. Herreid’s statue are being sought. Each statue requires a donation of $68,000 and those contributing one-quarter ($17,000) or more receive name recognition on the statue’s plaque for the governor they honor.
The foundation’s board is made up of a small group of volunteers who started the project in 2011. Donors from across South Dakota and several states have contributed a total of $910,000 so far, as well as $500 for an endowment fund. The S.D. Community Foundation provides funding guidance and oversight.