County Capitols: The Courthouses of South Dakota by former circuit court judge Arthur L. Rusch, will be released at the South Dakota Festival of Books on Friday, Sept. 26, in Sioux Falls, S.D. Rusch’s book details the history and architecture of the state’s current justice buildings and is the fifth volume in the Historical Preservation Series from the South Dakota State Historical Society.
“County Capitols is a fitting title for South Dakota’s 125th anniversary of statehood. Filled with dozens of images, it is a wonderful resource for architects, historians and those interested in the building of South Dakota,” says Jay D. Vogt, director of the South Dakota State Historical Society.
Dreaming of great things for their communities, the pioneer town-builders who settled southern Dakota Territory took extreme measures to ensure that their communities would become commercial and industrial centers. One way to secure the survival of a town was to acquire the county seat. Using county records, period newspapers and other resources, Rusch shows how the “courthouse fights” between rival communities turned into outright battles, including bidding wars and midnight forays to steal county records and even buildings. In an opening essay, Jason Haug outlines the development of these county capitols and their architectural styles over time.
“Arthur Rusch has written a significant book on the building of South Dakota’s sixty-four current courthouses and their predecessors,” says Nancy Tystad Koupal, director of the South Dakota Historical Society Press. “In County Capitols, he details how the development of these important buildings was a matter of three key factors: functionality, style, and survival.”
Arthur L. Rusch of Vermillion received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of South Dakota and served as a judge in South Dakota’s First Judicial Circuit for seventeen years. An avid local historian, he has given numerous presentations and won awards for his work.
Jason Haug worked for the South Dakota State Historical Society’s Historic Preservation Office for eight years, serving as Historic Preservation director from 2007 to 2012. He currently lives in Willmar, Minn.
County Capitols will be available for $29.95 plus shipping and tax and may be purchased from most bookstores or ordered directly from the South Dakota Historical Society Press. Visit http://www.sdshspress.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (605) 773-6009. Pre-orders are currently being accepted.
More information about Arthur Rusch’s participation in the South Dakota Festival of Books can be found by contacting the event’s sponsor, the South Dakota Humanities Council, at (605) 688-6113, or by visiting http://www.sdbookfestival.com.