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Interpretive Sign Proposal

The South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office as part of a Preserve America Grant has offered the Clay County Historic Preservation Commission the opportunity to acquire 10 interpretive signs at no cost to the Commission.  The signs are produced by a sign company in Michigan based on designs and material submitted by the State Preservation Office.  The signs are ½” by 24” by 36” and may use text, pictures, maps and graphics.  It is suggested that there be no more than 200 words of text at an 8th grade level.

At the CCHPC meeting on March 9, the decision was made to utilize this opportunity to celebrate the history of the county in the broadest possible fashion rather than to use the signs to present and interpret the history of particular buildings or sites.

The locations selected include:

Hub City/Dalesburg

Main Street at the top of elevator hill (below the bluff)
Curve on Canby Street (below the bluff and existing residential)
Prentis Park
Downtown (pocket park at Market and Main)
Bliss Site (archeology and Native American)

The state preservation office has a general template that they use for the signs.  They would appreciate any help we could give them with research, potential text, photos, plans, maps and any other information or design assistance.  They pay, they set the parameters, but our contributions would form the basic information and provide the direction we want to go.

There is huge potential to produce a county driving tour brochure based on these signs and additional points of interest and existing interpretive signs.

If you have advice or want to provide input to the project please Contact Us.

Cemetery Inventory Presentation

The Clay County Historic Preservation Commission (CCHPC) is pleased to announce the completion of the 2008 Cemetery Inventory. Compiled by Nancy Carlsen of Vermillion, this remarkable nine volume work contains a variety of information about the twenty-eight formal cemetereis and all known Native American and territorial Era unmarked graves and cemeteries located within Clay County.

A special event to dedicate and distribute the Cemetery Inventory will be held Tuesday, December 8, 2009, at 10:30 am, in the County Commissioners' Room at the Clay County Courthouse in Vermillion. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Five complete sets of this nine-volume work have been prepared. To make the information more easily accessible to people throughout the county sets will be available for research at the Austin Whittemore House in Vermillion and a both the vermillion and Wakonda Public Libraries. The CCHPC set will be housed at the office of the Register of Deeds at the Clay County Courthouse under the supervision of the Clay County Commissioners. A fifth set, prepared for the South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office in fulfillment of the funding obligation, will be located at the South Dakota State Archives in Pierre.

At the December 8th ceremony, the CCHPC will deliver complete sets of the invenvtory to representatives of each of these organizations, and formally dedicate the work to Cleo Erickson and to verla and Stanley Knudson for their untiring efforts to "preserve the past for future generations."

Volume 1 of the Inventory contains miscellaneous Introductory Material, including the table of contents, cross-references to various names used for county cemeteries and churches, townships, indexs and maps and a directory of current sextons or contact people. A copy of Rick harnois's entire 1991 cemetery report to the Clay County Historic preservation Commission and a copy of the Olds-Grosse Funeral Home Records are included primarily as research tools for descendants and genealogists. Delected statutes and regulations governing cemeteries and human remains and a partial bibliography complete the Introductory Material.

In Volumes 1-8, a spearate "chapter" is devoted to each of the the county's twenty-eight formal cemeteries. The documentation for each cemetery includes a locational map, a compilation of writings with direct quotes from historical texts, alphabetical burial lists composed by Verla and Stanly Knudson and/or others and miscellaneous resource material. 1989 surveys by Rick Harnois consisting of plats, deeds and drawings of each stone are included for six of the cemeteries. Unmarked graves and cemeteries are treated in the final chapter of Volume 8.

Volume 9 consists of maps and photographic panoramas for each cemetery within its environment during the four years covered by this study.

In preparing the Inventory, Nancy Carlsen researched and compiled many of the existing written records, wrote compiler's notes,created numerous maps, photographed and prepared the panoramas, designed and layed out the presentation, typed and printed much of the material, and assembled the volumes. The exceptionally attractive and detailed work is the result of a labor of love. As a descendent of pioneers who settled near Spirit Mound, and withmembers of five generations buried in Clay County cemeteries, Nancy considered it a privilege to work with this material for the benefit of everyone interested in local history or a genealogy of local families.

Preparation of the Inventorywas partially funded by a grant from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, through the South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office.

For additional information please contact Jim Wilson, CCHPC Chair, at 605-62404579, or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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