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Pickstown and Watertown create 125th Statehood Anniversary committees


PIERRE, S.D. (KELO-AM) – Pickstown and Watertown are the first communities to be designated official Statehood Celebration Communities. The two towns created local 125th Statehood Anniversary Committees to promote local and state history, hold celebration events and create a lasting legacy local project this year.


“I’m pleased Pickstown and Watertown responded so quickly and I hope other towns decide to participate in commemorating our anniversary as well,” said Gov. Dennis Daugaard.


Next month, Pickstown will dedicate a new museum that will feature 2,000 exhibit objects and pictures, 400 wall exhibits and a theater where people can view old films of the town and the construction of the Fort Randall dam. Exhibits will also feature the early history of the area, the history of the local school and old books, and newspaper articles. 


Tom Brokaw, who lived in Pickstown for eight years, will be the keynote speaker at the dedication which is scheduled for 2 p.m. CDT on Friday, June 13. Lt. Gov. Matt Michels and Col. Joe Ross, commander of the Corps of Engineers Omaha District, will also speak at the ceremony. Other guests include Charles Pick and Frances Pick Dillard, relatives of General Lewis Pick. 


Watertown’s Statehood Celebration Community Committee is sponsoring seven hours of outdoor activities at Joy Ranch on Sunday, Aug. 17, featuring actors portraying South Dakota’s first Governor, Arthur Mellette, and his wife, Margaret. 


Activities and events will include a Sherwin Linton concert, games, costumes, butter churning, an old time hymn sing-a-long, old-time fiddlers, Native American dancers and cowboy shoot-outs. A small electric train will also give rides throughout the grounds and there will also be displays of 1880s fire equipment. For their lasting legacy project, Watertown is creating a time capsule.


Last week, Gov. Daugaard sent over 500 information packets to South Dakota’s cities, towns and local historical organizations to invite communities to commemorate South Dakota’s 125th anniversary. 


All locally formed committees will receive help from the Governor’s Office to publicize their events and projects, an official certificate and the opportunity to have special highway signs for their communities.


Other towns are also organizing. Information about creating a local committee is available athttp://125.sd.gov and under the heading “Celebration Communities.”