Look Up, Pierre! A Walking Tour of Pierre, South Dakota
by Doug Gelbert
published by Cruden Bay Books at Smashwords
Copyright 2012 by Cruden Bay Books
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the Publisher.
Although it is America’s second smallest capital city, and has been for the better part of its 120+ years as capital, Pierre is not a compact place. Its development has been marked by divisions since its origins as a steamboat landing for Fort Pierre across the Missouri River.
Pierre Chouteau, manager of the Western Department of John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company, built one of many outposts along the river in 1832. It was roughly half way between headquarters in St. Louis and the far reaches of the trappers in Montana. Fort Pierre evolved into a bustling stopping off point for travelers leaving the Missouri River steamboats and jumping onto the wagon road to the Black Hills, where gold was discovered in 1877. In 1880 the Chicago and North Western Railroad ran its tracks up to the undeveloped Pierre and Fort Pierre quickly drained of population.