National Historic Register Plaque program announced The Clay County Historic Preservation Commission (CCHPC) has begun a historic plaque initiative within Clay County. Heavy bronze 8" x 11" exterior building signs reading "THIS PROPERTY HAS BEEN PLACED ON THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES BY THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR" will be made available for up to 50 historic property owners.
The CCHPC will provide the plaque and installation for National Register Historic Properties at a total cost to the property owner of $40. This program is partially funded with a grant from the South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office in Pierre.
National Register properties are located in the Vermillion Historic District, the Forest Avenue Historic District and the Downtown Vermillion Historic District.
There are also several other individually listed properties not located in any of the three mentioned districts. Some of these properties already have plaques attached, which were purchased in full by the property owners.
Complete information with addresses and photos of all National Register properties within Vermillion can be found in the Clay County Historic Preservation Plan booklet for 2002. Copies are located at the Vermillion Public Library and the Austin-Whittemore House.
The first plaque under this new program was installed at the home of Holly Straub at 104 Court Street, known as the Willey House.
Construction of the Willey House at began in 1895, when E. H. Willey commissioned Andrew Pickett to build the structure.
It and the Austin-Whittemore House at 15 Austin are two of the few remaining examples of Pickett's work. E.H. Willey was the owner and editor of the Dakota Republican newspaper from 1883-1903.
He was known as an outspoken and influential editorial writer, and the Dakota Republican was considered the conservative voice in regional and state politics. The home was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Historic property owners interested in participating in the CCHPC plaque program are encouraged to contact Dan Christopherson at 670-2114, or send their $40 payment to the CCHPC, c/o Austin Whittemore House, 15 Austin Avenue, Vermillion, SD 57069.