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Pennington County


Pennington County is named for John L Pennington, who was the Governor of the Dakota Territory from 1874 to 1878. 


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Lawrence County and Meade County

E – Haakon County and Jackson County

S – Jackson County, Shannon County and Custer County

W – Weston County, Wyoming


Created:  January 11, 1875                    Map of South Dakota highlighting Pennington County

County Seat:                

Sheridan    1877 – 1878

Rapid City  1878 – present


County Courthouse – Rapid City


Location:  315 Saint Joseph Street / 3rd Street

Built:  1922 – 1923

Style:  Beaux Arts

Architect:  William Earl Hulse of Hutchinson, Kansas

Contractor:  A Sugarman Construction of Des Moines, Iowa


Description:  The building faces north and is a three story gray colored stone and concrete structure. The building is located on the landscaped grounds of the Courthouse Square in the center of Rapid City. On north front there are eight stone columns rising from the first to second story and three large arched windows, one of which is above the center entrance. On the third story there is a balustrade and no windows. The interior features marble work, bronze grilles and bronze doors. The County Circuit Court courtroom is located on the third story. The building houses the County Circuit Court of the 7th Judicial Circuit and the County Magistrate Court. On the east side is the modern annex constructed in 1990 in the same style. The architect was Lund Associates and TSP Architects and the contractor was Corner Construction Company.


Note:  During construction of the courthouse, The W D Reed Construction Company of Kansas City, Missouri was awarded the plumbing contract for $42,850 and Castle Electric Company of Sioux City, Iowa was awarded the electrical contract for $14,965. J C Ewing served as the supervising architect and Robert Wartnaby served as the superintendent of construction. Monroe Benbrook Company of Chicago furnished the moveable equipment and fixtures for $49,820. Pauley Jail Company of St. Louise furnished the new jail cells for $14,780.


See:  The 7th Judicial Circuit includes Custer County, Fall River County and Shannon County.


History:  The county was created in 1875 and Sheridan was selected as the county seat in 1877 when the county was organized. The first courthouse was a small log cabin. In 1878, the county seat was moved to Rapid City. The county rented rooms on the second floor of a commercial building. The second courthouse was built in 1882 to 1883 on the Courthouse Square at a cost of $12,000. The courthouse was destroyed by fire on April 25, 1897. The third courthouse was built by Thomas Sweeney, Hugh McMahon and Mike Whealen in 1897 but fire destroyed the courthouse on November 10, 1897.  The fourth courthouse was constructed in 1898 using the same builders. The fifth and present courthouse was constructed in 1922 to 1923 at a cost of $415,000. The Courthouse Annex was constructed in 1990.


Note:  The highest point in South Dakota is Black Elk ( Harney ) Peak at 7231 feet ( 2204 meters ) which is located in the county.



County Courthouse – Rapid City

















County Circuit Court courtroom







Photos taken 2007 and 2015