Down by the Old Missouri - Masonic Temple / Nancy Kneip / police chaplain

Miller Studio photograph showing a birds eye view of the Masonic Temple in Pierre taken in 1929. The Masonic Temple, designed by Sioux Falls architects Robert Perkins and Albert McWayne, was built in 1928.

100 Years Ago

The Masonic Building Association, at a well-attended meeting Monday night, concluded to proceed with the building of a temple in Pierre, provided enough subscriptions for bonds were forthcoming to furnish $50,000 as a start toward building a temple that would cost no less than $75,000. The organization owns a quarter block just west of the Baptist Church. It is desired to erect a temple that can ultimately be utilized by the present organized branches of Masonry now in Pierre, but potentially a Shrine and Consistory as well. The committees will undertake soliciting of subscriptions which will be conditional, that sufficient funds can be secured to obviate the necessity of procuring a loan that would be burdensome. This is a matter of general interest to the Masons of this vicinity and the public as well. The building of such a temple would mean another big improvement to the city. The members and committees are all working consistently. And the question of construction will be settled by deliberate development. Tentative plans have been secured for a three-story building which would be in keeping with the other important public buildings in the city. In all probability, if the building is erected, it will be of grey brick.

50 Years Ago

Informality is the keynote at the Governor’s Mansion as the 1970’s ushers in a new First Family. Governor Richard Kneip’s attractive wife, Nancy, reflects in every way her husband’s campaign philosophy of “people to people.” “I’m surprised so many South Dakotans have never been in this home,” she says. “I want them to feel welcome here, and I’d like as many people to see it as possible.” For Nancy Kneip, making people feel at ease and welcome in the home that most people refer to as the Governor’s Mansion, seems effortless. If the step from a small South Dakota town to the State Capitol and from businessmen’s wife to First Lady was the least disquieting for her, it doesn’t show. The hazel eyes — which she calls ‘blue’ — crinkle in laughter, the pleasant voice reflects confidence, the friendly manner is unfailingly warm and sincere. There’s no room for pretense in Nancy Kneip’s life. Of course, a family of eight boys tends to keep a mother’s feet on the ground. The Kneip children start with Kevin-12 and range to 14-month-old Michael. In between are Kent-11, Keith-10, Kurt-8, Paul-7, Philip-6 and Patrick-4. The Kneip’s strive to preserve the basic part of family life they enjoyed in their hometown of Salem.

25 Years Ago

When their world seems to be falling apart, the Reverend Charlie Wharton steps in. Wharton was named the Pierre Police Department’s chaplain last year to accompany police officers on difficult calls and to be available when those in the police department need to talk to someone. “In our job we’re always at the location of where unfortunate things have happened,” said Pierre Police Chief Bill Abernathy. “In most cases, members of the family need consoling immediately and help in notifying relations, making arrangements. We didn’t have the manpower, time or expertise to help the family, but yet it was something that was needed.” Wharton said, “This gives me a chance to minister wherever I can. Basically, being a minister is being a public servant.” Police officers are often called upon to deliver the message that someone has died. “That’s something no one likes to do. They call me and I assist with that,” Wharton said. “It’s been comforting to be able to call on Charlie and have him along,” said police commissioner Mike Kumm. Wharton is also contacted when officers deal with a death in the community or some other tragedy. Although those in the community have told him they appreciate what he does, Wharton believes his main responsibility as police chaplain is to police officers, dispatchers and others associated with the police department. A police chaplain is someone for police officers to lean on and talk to.

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