What is commonly known as the Big Circle Sign to locals has been refurbished and again put on permanent display in Fort Pierre.
Consisting of a map of the 30-mile radius from Pierre, the six-foot-diameter sign was first installed in front of the Soldiers and Sailors Museum across Capitol Avenue south from the Capitol building.
Original construction of the sign was in the 1950s, according to Don Zeller, part of the Pierre/Fort Pierre Historic Preservation Commission.
“The drawing of Oahe Dam on this sign suggests the sign was manufactured before the dam was built,” Zeller said.
“Four or five years ago, the sign was hit by a truck. The sign was taken to Bottom Line Welding for repair,” Zeller said. After the sign was repaired, it was not put back in the Fort Pierre location, “because the South Dakota weather had done a job on the sign and it was in bad need of painting.”
“The Pierre/Fort Pierre Historic Preservation Commission obtained a grant from the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation to repaint and repair the sign. A new concrete base and new posts were needed. Hunsley Custom Painting in Fort Pierre did an excellent job of refurbishing the paint on this sign. The new concrete base was poured Monday, July 1, 2019. The next day, new posts were installed “and four very strong Fort Pierre city employees picked up the really heavy sign and installed it,” Zeller said.
The Big Circle Sign can now be seen in the Casey Tibbs pullout. There are five historical markers and an interpretive sign, all in this same area. “All signs in this area are behind the curb and sidewalk. We really hope they are out of danger’s way and save from truck traffic,” Zeller said.