Trail of Governors announces statue unveiling

Contact: Rick Jensen, President, Trail of Governors Foundation, (605) 454-0689,

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


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updated 6/5/2024

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