South Dakota Magazine features area dome builder

South Dakota Magazine features area dome builder During the Vietnam War, Terry Hill made himself a promise. If he got home, he would do for the rest of his life what he could enjoy.

He's kept that promise. In Clay County where he lives when a job or other fun doesn't take him elsewhere, many have seen an unglamorous room of their home transformed by Hill's hands. But it is for something more unique that he is known. He is South Dakota's foremost builder of one-of-a-kind domes.

Managing editor Jerry Wilson tells the story in "Terry's Domain," complete with color photos, in the November/December issue of South Dakota Magazine.

The seed of dome building took root in Hill's mind when he was a student of Termesphere creator Dick Termes at Black Hills State University. Then, famed engineer and building designer Buckminster Fuller, the father of the geodesic dome, came to Spearfish to speak.

Hill would never be the same.

In the three ensuing decades, Hill has built and lived in several domes of his own, once wintering in a dome that consisted of a parachute stretched over a lath frame. He currently lives in rural Clay County in his 20-sided icosahedron. Over the years, he has built domes for Termes, in Clay County and at Custer, Nemo, Rochford, Little Eagle and as far away as Fairbanks, AK.

Not only is every Hill dome unique, he also works in unusual ways, often with salvaged lumber.

He likes reusing what would otherwise be burned or thrown away, and the quality of 50-year-old boards is generally superior to what is available today.

"Plus I buzzed off about a hundred thousand logs in my lumbering days in the Black Hills," he said. "I've got to atone for that."

South Dakota Magazine is a statewide magazine, published bimonthly in Yankton. It is available on newsstands throughout the state and by subscription at (800) 456-5117 or at www.south dakotamagazine.com.

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