PIERRE — Shady Lawn School No. 8, located in Kingsbury County, was added in late June to the National Register of Historic Places, according to the South Dakota State Historical Society.
The National Register is the official federal list of properties identified as important in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and culture. The State Historic Preservation Office of the State Historical Society works in conjunction with the National Park Service, which oversees the National Register program, to list the properties.
“South Dakota’s history is rich in American Indian culture, pioneer life and change,” said Jay D. Vogt, state historic preservation officer and director of the State Historical Society. “Properties listed on the National Register are important for their role in South Dakota’s culture, heritage and history. And when properties get listed, it shows that their owners take pride in their role in preserving that culture, heritage and history.”
Buildings, sites, structures and objects at least 50 years old possessing historical significance may qualify for the National Register, according to Vogt. Properties must also maintain their historic location, design, materials and association. Listing on the National Register does not place any limitations on private property owners by the federal government.
Shady Lawn School No. 8 was built in 1891. This one-room school house located in rural Kingsbury County is typical of the late 19th century education system of the plains. Significant features include its rural location and setting and the retention of original siding and fixtures. The interior has original floors, tongue-and-groove beaded wainscoting, closet spaces, hooks, and blackboard. It also retains several artifacts that add to the understanding of the school. These include the glass fire extinguishers, the globe, the benches and desks, the teacher’s desk, the cabinet of rolled up maps, the pencil sharpener, and the piano.
The school has had minimal alterations since its construction and has excellent integrity of location, setting, design, workmanship and materials which add to its integrity of feeling and association. In 1924, ten feet were added to the west side of the school. The original windows are covered with aluminum storm windows, a common alteration to rural one-room schools.
The property is listed under the Schools in South Dakota (1999) Multiple Property Listing for historic significance in the context of education. It represents the development of rural education and is recognized for design and construction as an excellent statewide example of an early rural schoolhouse constructed at the end of the 19th century.
Shady Lawn School No. 8 is currently owned by the Spirit Lake Presbyterian Church, who purchased it when the school closed in 1968. Properties owned by religious institutions are usually not eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. However, the school was built on the grounds before the church and served as a school from 1891 until 1968.
Other properties recently listed in the National Register are the Gale Buildings in Canton, the Pierre American Legion Cabin, and the East Side Fire Station and Branch Library in Sioux Falls.
For more information on the National Register or other historic preservation programs, contact the State Historic Preservation Office at the Cultural Heritage Center, 900 Governors Drive, Pierre, SD 57501-2217; telephone (605) 773-3458 or website history.sd.gov/Preservation, and click on National Register of Historic Places in the right column.