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‘South Dakota History’ explores historic preservation in Vermillion, Mitchell, Rapid City

The annual historic preservation issue of “South Dakota History,” the quarterly journal of the South Dakota State Historical Society, focuses on libraries, observatories, and how the landscapes surrounding Rapid City have shaped its development.

Eric Steven Zimmer’s article “At the Vertex of Water and Stone: Preserving Landscape and Memory in Rapid City,” examines how the preservation efforts in Rapid City have changed, especially after the devastating 1972 flood. Zimmer, Ph.D., is a senior historian at Vantage Point Historical Services, Inc., and a volunteer with the Rapid City Indian Boarding School Lands Project.

“A Tale of Two Vermillion Carnegie Libraries,” by Evelyn Heymann Schlenker, documents the history of two structures in Vermillion funded by the Carnegie Corporation: the Vermillion Public Library and the University of South Dakota’s library, which have both served a variety of functions for their communities over the years. Schlenker, a professor emerita at USD, serves as secretary of the Clay County Historic Preservation Commission and the Friends of W. H. Over Museum Board and has written several books about Clay County’s history and structures.

In “Astronomy on Fire: The Story of the Dakota Wesleyan Observatory,” Michael N. Farney documents both the process of building an observatory at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell to study the stars and what ultimately happened to this structure. Farney is professor emeritus of mathematics at Dakota Wesleyan University. During his 40-year tenure, he taught calculus, university physics, freshman general studies, and his true love, astronomy.

“South Dakota History” is a benefit of membership in the South Dakota State Historical Society. For information on membership, call 605-773-6000. To purchase individual issues, call 605-773-6009.

About the South Dakota State Historical Society
The South Dakota State Historical Society is a division of the Department of Education. The State Historical Society, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution since 2013, is headquartered at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. The center houses the society’s world-class museum, the archives, and the historic preservation, publishing, and administrative/development offices. Call 605-773-3458 or visit www.history.sd.gov for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call 605-394-1936 for more information.

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