Unified Judicial System
500 East Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501-5070
For Immediate Release
January 6, 2013
When a back panel on an old metal bookcase came loose on the balcony of the Supreme Court Law Library in the Capitol Building it revealed faded paint colors and a covered stenciling pattern that is original to the Law Library and Capitol Building. Painters have now begun working to uncover remnants of the historic patterns and colors hidden under years of paint. The balcony area is believed to have been added in the 1920s, but it is unclear when the stenciling and original paint were either covered or painted over.
The patterns that have been discovered appear unique to the Law Library and are not known to exist anywhere else in the Capitol Building. One surprising discovery is that names of territorial justices once lined the Library, but those too had been lost to history until recently. The idea of restoring the Law Library to its original condition is both an exciting and daunting task. Because the Law Library is considered a “private” area of the Capitol Building finding old photographs has been difficult. After consulting with other state government officials and historians, it does not appear there are any photographs of the law library prior to the 1930’s. The lack of such documentation makes the restoration task difficult, but not impossible.
As a result, the Chief Justice is issuing an unusual appeal to anyone that may have pictures that predate the modern look of the Law Library: “If anyone has pictures of the Law Library before 1930, we would love to see them.”
If there is anyone that has such pictures they are asked to contact Gloria Guericke at 605-773-3474.
The hidden artwork that started the restoration
View of the first section of artwork and names uncovered
Uncovering the first legible name