‘Pierre’ Category


A Norman Rockwell Afternoon

Linda Burton posting from Pierre, South Dakota – “Here come the flags!” The little boy standing beside me stared big-eyed; his father coached him with enthusiastic phrases. “Just look at that! Flags, and the band!” I felt the enthusiasm myself; the high-stepping band drew all eyes towards them as they marched center street; the shower of candies flung from the floats brought squeals as kids scrambled to pick up the treasured sugar treats. It’s Homecoming Week at the high school, and that means, of course, a parade. I had parked the Scion on Missouri and walked to the corner of Pierre Street just as the drums came down the hill. The drums, and the horns; the floats and the firetrucks; the brightly painted vans and the dogs-on-a-leash wearing neckscarves of green, to match their owners shirts. A parade is all about showing off, marching right in front of the world to strut your stuff. A Homecoming Parade is a celebration of spirit; the spirit of the school; the spirit of the town. And the town loves to watch. » read more


Not A Bad Place To Work

Linda Burton posting from Pierre, South Dakota – I started snapping pictures the moment I walked in the door; the staircase straight ahead, the hallway to the right; the stained glass overhead; the rotunda, the vault, the murals, the flags, the dazzling terrazzo floor. My eyes could not decide just where to stop. It was light and shiny bright, yet colorful and warm; uplifting, can I use that word? I didn’t know which direction to go first; a young woman approached the elevator by the side of the staircase and I began to ask: Is the gallery open? Can I take the elevator all the way up? What is on the floor below? I realized as I gestured that I had the Self Guided Tour Script of the South Dakota State Capitol under my arm; “Oh, I’m sorry!” I said. “I picked this up at the front door, I should slow down and read it. But everything is so pretty I got overawed.” “I know,” she smiled at me and folded her hands across her tummy; she was pregnant and enveloped with that pregnant glow. “I love working in this beautiful place. I look forward to coming inside every morning.” Quite an endorsement for a building, I’d say. » read more


Just Watch

Linda Burton posting from Pierre, South Dakota – It stands to reason. There’s a lake just outside town that stretches clear to North Dakota. The river at the city’s edge is the longest river in the United States. With all that, you’d expect a fair amount of waterfowl would choose to live around Pierre, and it does. Gulls and ducks are common sights; I couldn’t name them myself, but birders have identified Sabine, Ring-billed and the Black-hooded Bonaparte gulls near Oahe Dam; the list of ducks includes Red-breasted Mergansers, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, and assorted little puddle ducks. You might even spot a rare yellow-billed loon, or a Pomerine Jaeger, aka Skua, a very aggressive Arctic bird (right). Because it’s not just the live-ins you get to see around here, South Dakota is “on the route” as millions of birds follow the Central migratory flyway across the state in spring and fall. Paradise for birdwatchers, paradise for birds. » read more


Across The River

From A Hilltop in Fort Pierre

Linda Burton posting from Pierre, South Dakota – From missionaries to movie makers, fur traders to cattle ranchers, expeditionists to archeologists, they have come to Fort Pierre. Fort Pierre lies just across the Missouri River from the capital city of Pierre, but it’s a major crossing, moving you back in time. Literally, right in the middle of the river you change from the Central Time Zone into Mountain Time. And with a little imagination, you can historically go back hundreds of years. Can you imagine the Lakota Sioux living here, with hundreds of tipis and thousands of buffalo spreading over the hills? Can you imagine two brothers from France digging a hole high on a hill above the river in the dark of night, and burying a secret? Can you imagine Meriwether Lewis and William Clark stepping ashore to explore the golden hillsides for flora and fauna, documenting the west? You can still see buffalo herds today, and that secret object that was buried high on that hill. You can see artifacts and remnants left by the adventurers of long ago, and you can walk their path. And if your imagination is lacking, you can rent movies that will recreate the scenes before your very eyes. » read more


If I Were A Kid

Linda Burton posting from Pierre, South Dakota – If I were a kid with a weekend coming up, I know what I’d do. I’d butter up. I’d shamelessly compliment Mom’s cooking, set the sprinklers out for Dad, and even stop pestering my brother. For one evening, at least. And, most important, I’d lay my Passport to Fun on the table where it couldn’t be missed. Hint Hint. If all that failed, I’d beg. Oh, I know how to say “pretty please,” you bet. My Passport to Fun is a list of kid-friendly fun things to do in Pierre, a surefire way to eliminate those dread words “I’m bored.” Six places to go, and one extra enticement; get the passport punched at each location and receive a reward. But, OMG, I’m not a kid! At least, I’m not dependent on somebody else to take me where I’d like to go. I admit to having a kid’s heart, but lucky me, I’ve got a driver license and my own car. Now, about that Passport. » read more


A Capital Drive

Linda Burton posting from Pierre, South Dakota – Tony handed me three brochures — the Pierre Historic Homes Driving Tour, Pierre Hill Residential Historic District, and Historic Pierre Street. “Now you’re set,” he said. I’d been noticing the shady tree-lined streets in town; you know, those old-fashioned kinds of neighborhoods with sidewalks for leisurely afternoon strolls. Now I wanted to learn a little about the people who settled Pierre, and the houses they built. I knew the town was bustling in the early 1880’s in Dakota Territory days. So, I’d stopped at the Visitor Center for details. I decided to focus on the houses listed on the National Register of Historic Places first. To my surprise, the first house starred was built after WWII! It was squared-off and modern looking, built of shiny panels. Check the brochure: the panels are porcelain enamel and are outside and in; the house was built by Lustron Corporation to help ease the housing shortage after the war; there are still 38 of them in the state. Unusual. Next on the list, a sprawling three-story mansion on Erskine; built in 1885, it has its original parquet floors. Awesome. At South Washington I park the car and get out; it’s picture-taking time. » read more


A Capitol Walk

Linda Burton posting from Pierre, South Dakota – “Are you really going to all 50 capital cities?” I’d parked the Scion under a shade tree at the curb on Nicolette, grabbed the cameras and tripod, and was headed towards the grassy capitol lawn. A group of four was fast-stepping along the sidewalk, sharing an energetic and purposeful walk. The one who asked the question hadn’t slowed, she was hanging with the pack; I gave them all a big thumbs up. “You bet!” I answered back. They called out appropriate congrats and well wishes; then I asked my question. “Could I get your picture here by the capitol?” That slowed their pace; they nodded at each other in agreement, then stepped onto the grass, smiling big. “What a great place to walk,” I commented as I set up the shot. “Sorry to slow you down.” They asked where I’d been so far; where I was headed next. “Be sure to see Capitol Lake,” I was advised; and off they went, continuing their capitol walk. » read more


The Pleasant Pheasant

Linda Burton posting from Pierre, South Dakota – “It’s not even native to South Dakota,” Jason said. “It was brought here by the Chinese many years ago.” Jason was giving me some South Dakota facts; he’s lived in a number of capital cities besides Pierre, but he loves his South Dakota home; his knowledge of the state is encyclopedic. We’re talking about the ring-necked pheasant now, the South Dakota state bird. And the fact that pheasant hunting is a main tourism draw, bringing thousands of people and millions of dollars to the state every year. This year’s hunting season begins October 20; hotels are already booking up. But about those Chinese; back in the 1800’s as they migrated into the Pacific Northwest, they brought their birds with them; I can imagine the baskets of pheasant tucked among their memories of home. In 1908 a group of farmers purchased a pair of birds from an Oregon farm and released them into a field near Redfield, South Dakota. Those pheasant thrived in the lush prairie lands, that’s how it began. » read more


Hot Dam

Linda Burton posting from Pierre, South Dakota – “Now you’ve got me curious,” Pat said. “I’m going to look it up.” Pat Feiock was manning the Corps of Engineers Visitor Center at Oahe Dam today. He’d been answering my questions about the Dam, till I got to this one, about a fact printed on one of their display boards: “If Oahe Dam is the 4th largest man-made reservoir in the US, what are the other three?” He knew Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota was 3rd; we both surmised that Lake Mead would be one of the larger ones. He turned on his computer and began to search. “Yes, Lake Mead is 1st,” he said. “And Lake Powell 2nd. But then,” he hesitated, “there are so many way to measure – acre-feet of water, miles of shoreline, size of the dam, production capacity. There are lots of things you can compare.” We chatted a little more; then Pat jotted down his number so I could set up an appointment for a tour of the power plant on another day; it was too late today. I said goodbye and stepped out in the 103-degree heat. » read more


Now You’re Cooking

Linda Burton posting from Pierre, South Dakota – “We should make some Indian tacos while she’s here,” said Janelle to Mel. I’d been standing at the front desk for a while, asking the questions I usually ask when I get to my new town; what do you enjoy doing; where do you like to shop; what’s your favorite thing to eat? Janelle had already told me that at her family get-togethers, it’s Indian tacos. Now she’s introduced me to Mel, the Manager here, and they are coming up with more ideas. “We have a lot of fishermen who stay with us regularly,” Mel said, “And they always do a big fish fry while they’re here, right outside.” She pointed to the open area just beyond the hotel door, out by the wicker chairs. “That sounds awesome,” I said, “when will they be here again?” A quick calculation and Mel determined that their visit just might coincide with mine. I hope it does. A bodacious fish fry out in the yard, some homemade Indian tacos; now you’re cooking, Pierre. » read more