Constructed in 1884 when South Dakota was not yet a state, the Austin-Whittemore House was once the most prominent piece of frontier architecture in the area. Tall windows, an elaborate cornice, a steamboat gothic porch , & a crowning cupola distinguished Horace J. Austin’s house from the surrounding frame cottages & sod dugouts. The house passed through a number of hands over the next sixty years & diminished in importance as Vermillion grew up around it.
By the 1960’s it had fallen into disrepair & was being eyed for removal to make way for a parking lot. In stepped the Clay County Historical Society & a troupe of happy volunteers. For nine years they labored nights, weekends, & off days to restore it to its original appearance. The restored Austin-Whittemore House is now home to the Clay County Historical Society & once again serves as a focal point of community life. Best parts? That cuppola! Also, that steamboat gothic porch!
More info & a current photo of the here.
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