Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Great Plains Quarterly Vol. 18, No. 4, Fall 1998, pp. 353-354


Copyright 1998 by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska- Lincoln


South Dakota's architectural legacy bears close resemblance to that of other prairie and Plains states, with one colorful exception: the use of the region's reddish stones, quartzite and sandstone. These bright pink rocks bring a distinctive glow to communities in which they are concentrated, notably Dell Rapids, Sioux Falls, and Hot Springs. How fortunate that this material was locally available and affordable at a time of extensive building around the turn of the century when talented designers Wallace L. Dow and Henry Schwartz put their stamp on the region's architecture.

David Erpestad and David Wood begin their survey with several forms of American Indian architecture and building materials, both indigenous and manufactured, and then use building types as the organizing principle for the remaining chapters. Their descriptions of tipi construction explain that these wondrous mobile homes required about a dozen tanned buffalo hides and between fourteen and twenty poles ranging in length from fifteen to twentyfive feet. Large tipis such as these became commonplace on the Plains after 1800 when the acquisition of horses permitted large loads to be carried long distances.