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Fort Pierre Funds Museum with Federal Transportation Dollars

Ken Santema picks up South Dakota’s lone entry in the 2015 Wastebook, the project Arizona Senator Jeff Flake inherited from retired Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn to spotlight projects that misuse government money.

How South Dakota’s crony-feeding GEAR UP didn’t make this list, I have no idea. But making the list is the 1906 Fort Pierre depot, which local preservationists hauled back to town from a Mud Butte ranch, where it was relocated over 50 years ago. The depot is now in the hands of Fort Pierre’s Verendrye Museum Board, which needs you to not call the restored depot a museum:

For the better part of five years now, ever since history-minded Fort Pierre citizens began planning how to bring home the original Chicago and North Western depot from the ranch near Mud Butte where it was serving as a farm building, people have resisted saying they were building a museum.

The federal transportation grant that helped with the project wouldn’t pay for building or refurbishing a museum. But it would pay for refurbishing a transportation artifact.

Gary Grittner of Fort Pierre’s Bring It Home Committee said that’s what the $1 million project – half paid for by a federal grant and half paid for by local cash or in-kind contributions – accomplished. It refurbished an artifact that will hold other artifacts – virtually all, in one way or another, having to do with the railroad that brought everything to the middle of South Dakota once the depot opened in 1906 [Lance Nixon, “Fort Pierre Depot Now in Verendrye Museum’s Hands,” Pierre Capital Journal, 2015.11.08].

Fort Pierre spent more federal dollars to get Smart Growth America’s advice on how to “craft a vision for Fort Pierre’s future development.” SGA’s August 20, 2015, report says that to best leverage the 1906 depot and Fort Pierre’s other historic and cultural assets, the city should “Engage a consultant to develop a historic/cultural marketing plan.” Let’s see if that consultant makes the 2016 Wastebook.


  1. mike from iowa 2015-12-19 07:29

    I get it-it is a railroad museum cleverly disguised as a railroad museum.

    Flake must be the most aptly named wingnut Sinator ever.

  2. Lanny V Stricherz 2015-12-19 07:42

    “The federal transportation grant that helped with the project wouldn’t pay for building or refurbishing a museum. But it would pay for refurbishing a transportation artifact.”

    So that is how Senators Johnson and Thune got 40 million bucks to move the rail switching yard in downtown Sioux Falls using the federal highway program back in 2005? Funny how ten years later a lot or most of the money has been spent, and the job has not been completed.

    The main reason for doing this project was to aid in economic development in downtown Sioux Falls. I wonder who benefits from that economic development?

  3. mike from iowa 2015-12-19 07:56

    Phone rings-Hello.
    Is this 1-1-1-1?
    No it is eleven eleven.
    Are you sure it is not 1-1-1-1?
    Sure am,it is eleven eleven. ‘
    Sorry to have bothered you.
    That’s okay,I had to answer my phone anyway.

  4. mhs 2015-12-19 08:01

    Yes, and now the Corps thinks Fort Pierre is a flood plain cleverly disguised as a town. The Feds promised flood control and irrigation in return for condemning the best bottom lands in the state 60 years ago. They just didn’t specify it would be flood irrigation and they would do the controlling.

  5. larry kurtz 2015-12-19 08:21

    Earth haters like mhs condemning the corps: priceless.

  6. larry kurtz 2015-12-19 08:22

    President Obama: tear out the main stem dams.

  7. grudznick 2015-12-19 09:55

    Ol’ grudznick likes a trip down memory lane every once in a while too, but wasting money on a museum nobody will go to Ft. Pierre to see when they could have fixed the bridges to get out of Ft. Pierre when the floods come is insaner than most.

  8. Rorschach 2015-12-19 10:02

    Another example of the federal government throwing cash at every project everywhere. If it doesn’t fit under one giveaway program then shoehorn it into some other giveaway program.

    If the locals had to fork over $1 million to move this barn we’d find out if they really think it’s worth it. Why should taxpayers in donor states have to pay for local pork in welfare states?

  9. 96Tears 2015-12-19 10:42

    Take a tour of the Verendrye Museum in lovely Ft. Pierre. It may or may not be open when you visit. Many of the items are interesting, but the whole thing looks like an overstuffed flea market. Shameful. I get the feeling that it exists as a giant, unkempt closet for stuff that nobody knows what to do with. Or cares to deal with.

    As to hiring “a consultant to develop a historic/cultural marketing plan,” here’s my history-based list of suggestions:

    Keep the time zone change to retain Ft. Pierre’s attraction for drunk legislators and lobbyists to close down the bars an hour after they close in Pierre.

    Reinstate a second stripper joint by reopening The Silver Dollar.

    Legalize prostitution and Deadwood style gambling. No sense hiding the hookers and card games. Bring them out of the closet and make a bold statement. Dedicate a portion of the revenue to “historic preservation” as they allegedly do in Deadwood and another portion to public schools.

    Let’s make Ft. Pierre a premier destination for adult tourism. Bring the hookers, politicians and gambling out of the closet. Let’s make some serious money. Just like the olden days!

  10. Rorschach 2015-12-19 13:21

    LOL, 96Tears. And I don’t just throw that term around. Ft. Pierre can ditch the consultant fees and take your free advice.

  11. Jim 2015-12-19 13:48

    I would pay to see the room in which Grudz did 1st thru 8th grade…

  12. grudznick 2015-12-19 14:46

    It’s gone now, Mr. Jim.

    Mr. 96, do you mean the Silver Spur? Oh, the stories my friend Bob could tell…

  13. grudznick 2015-12-19 14:51

    Mr. Jim, if you pick me up and take me to breakfast I’d show you where it used to be?

  14. Rorschach 2015-12-19 15:05

    mhs, did you buy one of those swamp lots from Marion? Admit that you knew better, but you figured the government would cover you every time it floods.

  15. Jim 2015-12-19 15:54

    Grudz, I’ve been wanting to take for breakfast for some time now…ever since I suggested friend Bree fix the meal for all of us…I would take you to a regular restaurant too.

  16. Jim 2015-12-19 15:56

    …after, we could visit the site of the schoolroom and put up a marker of some sort.

  17. grudznick 2015-12-19 19:31

    It’s going to be a bit of a day of driving, Mr. Jim, so that young Mrs. S of whom you type will have to get a baby sitter and we will have to hope she is one of those women who can hold their bladders a bit better than most.

  18. 96Tears 2015-12-20 09:07

    My apologies, grudznick, for the lapse to respond your excellent correction. Indeed, it is the Silver Spur. I dropped into its next version after being closed a while, the Bad River Bar, once. Skankier and less imaginative than the Spur.

    I get the Spur mixed up with Aberdeen’s premier stripper bar.

  19. leslie 2015-12-20 10:04

    knowing grudz’ greasy grimey gopher guts from his constant gravy hallucinations here, I assumed u meant the sliver grill. still can’t get the oily smell out. I’ve only been to a stripper bar and a bachelorette party once or twice so I’ve led a cloistered existence too, and never a lobbyist, but oh the partners in life (excluding during marriage). only two real regrets. I do recall the deadwood establishment. never fancied much of the state east of the hills. never fancied east of liberal, either. and like, who cares?

  20. grudznick 2015-12-20 13:38

    Ms. leslie, that post is stripper-bar udderly incoherent.

  21. leslie 2015-12-25 23:55

    louie armstrong grew up in stripper bar(s). its no shame if u did too grudz

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