PIERRE — While making his security rounds on the third floor of the Capitol Building, Brent Saucerman, a state trooper assigned to Capitol Protective Services, peeked into a vent near the floor in the south end of the House of Representatives.
What he found was a glimpse into history.
Saucerman took off the vent cover, scraped away the plaster and found a beer bottle.
An old beer bottle.
“I was just making two sweeps through the Capitol, making sure no one left anything behind,” Saucerman said.
Someone did leave something behind. More than 100 years ago.
The bottle is a Blatz beer bottle dated June 30, 1906.
Saucerman took his find to Jim Fry, director of the Legislative Research Council, who brought the bottle to Mike Mueller, special projects coordinator for the State Bureau of Administration, who then brought the bottle to Jay Vogt, director of the South Dakota State Historical Society.
“I knew it was an old bottle that might be significant and should be saved,” Saucerman said, “It’s something that belongs to the state and the people of South Dakota.”
Vogt said the South Dakota Historical Society is working on getting ownership of the bottle. It might be added to society’s
“This find is amazing that we found the bottle at the time of the Centennial of the Capitol building,” Vogt said.
“It is really neat to find something that has been preserved in the Capitol for over 100 years, especially to find the bottle around the time of the Capitol Centennial,” Saucerman said.
Although Vogt doesn’t exactly know the true reason why the bottle was left, he suspects the bottle was left by a worker.
“It may have been common practice to have beer while working to cool off and may have been one acceptable way in cooling off since there wasn’t air conditioning,” Vogt said, “It also could have been that the worker wasn’t supposed to be drinking on the job and left it in a spot to hide it and the bottle got left for an unexpected time capsule.”
The bottle, Vogt said, is a typical Blatz beer bottle with the label and is completely intact.
“It was caught in some plaster in the building and still has plaster on it,” Vogt said.
Vogt said he would like to exhibit the bottle, but needs to find a place for it.
“It is interesting to stumble onto something like this, especially when you think that people have gone through all the nooks and crannies,” Saucerman said.