Arthur Calvin Mellette, No. 1 on the Trail of Governors.

Governor # 1: Arthur Calvin Mellette

Field review by the editors.

Pierre, South Dakota

In office 1889-1893

Arthur Mellette ran unopposed and became South Dakota's first governor in 1889. That promising start ended disastrously as Mellette's state treasurer, William Taylor, essentially took the treasury with him and fled to Mexico. Mellette, humiliated, gave up his entire fortune and all of his property to help replace the stolen funds. Impoverished, he moved out of South Dakota and died three years later.

Sculptor John Lopez's 2012 statue of Mellette, the first to be unveiled on the Trail of Governors, does not dwell on his sad end. Instead, Mellette, dressed like a rugged homesteader, stands with one foot on a rock at the spot formerly occupied by the South Dakota's first capitol building. He leans forward as if anticipating a bright future for the state, one that he never lived to see.

Also see: Trail of Governors

Governor # 1: Arthur Calvin Mellette

Address:
104 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD
Directions:
On the north side of E. Capitol Ave., at its intersection with S. Pierre St.
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Nearby Offbeat Places

Governor # 6: Coe I. CrawfordGovernor # 6: Coe I. Crawford, Pierre, SD - < 1 mi.
Governor #22: Archie GubbrudGovernor #22: Archie Gubbrud, Pierre, SD - < 1 mi.
Governor # 4: Charles Nelson HerreidGovernor # 4: Charles Nelson Herreid, Pierre, SD - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Governor #24: Frank Leroy Farrar, Pierre, SD - < 1 mi.

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