The third of three governors statues was placed on the southeast corner of N. Euclid Avenue and E. Capital Avenue in Pierre on Friday morning, July 12.
A bronze statue of Gov. Samuel H. Elrod, fifth governor of the state, from Clark, who served from 1905-07 arose at about 9 a.m. The statue’s sculptor was James Van Nuys.
With Elrod’s statue being erected, 25 of the 31 former South Dakota governors’ statues are now complete.
The Trail of Governors project intends to eventually have bronze statues of all former South Dakota governors interspersed around the capital city. It began eight years ago.
Plans were to have three new statues unveiled each year. Each statue costs approximately $72,000, funded through civilian donations.
The three latest statues are of Samuel H. Elrod; Archie Gubbrud, the 22nd governor; and Dennis Daugaard, the state’s 32nd and most recent former governor.
All three statues were initially unveiled on June 14.
The number of former governors and the number of statues will not match, because William Janklow was the 27th (1979-1987) as well as the 30th governor (1995-2003).
Traditions sometimes change.
The most recent statues did not have to wait weeks or even months, either in the Capitol rotunda or at the State Museum, before being placed at their permanent outdoor locations.
Daugaard’s statue was placed within hours on June 14 at the east side of Capitol Lake and near the Governor’s Residence. Gubbrud’s statue’s site is near South Pierre Street and E. Pleasant Avenue and was erected soon after Daugaard’s.
The permanent placing of Elrod’s statue was delayed, waiting for its rectangular base to be created. Sculptor James Van Nuys was so detailed that hinges are visible in the table door. Among many other accomplishments, Elrod was key in building the State Capitol building and in acquiring the land for the State Fair complex.
For all locations of the current statues, as well as a myriad of other information, see the Trail of Governors tourism brochure.