Drivers crossing South Dakota's wide-open spaces pass abandoned grain elevators and seemingly unused white clapboard school houses. Some travelers might wonder about the grain once stored there or how the children who sat at the schoolhouse desks, but many just pass the buildings by without considering their place in history. In Picturing the Past, Vogt and Rogers offer reasons for preserving these buildings as symbols of the memories and emotions of life on the Great Plains. Myers's vivid black-and-white photographs capture the serenity of the Harding School alone on the plains in Corson County and the decrepit dignity of Appleby Atlas Elevator slowly submitting to ruin in Codington County.
As people walk through the cities of western, central, and eastern South Dakota, they stroll past the quiet majesty of turn-of-the-century brick buildings. The authors of Picturing the Past observe that the Buell Building in Rapid City, the Carnegie Free Library in Watertown, and the Stock Growers Bank Building in Fort Pierre still stand, but no longer serve their original purposes. Instead, modern users recycle their unique architecture to house new businesses, preserving the exterior that has stood against the elements for so long. Myers pries these grand old buildings out of their urban camouflage and presents them in all their glory.
Seven chapters examine these and other historic preservation issues alongside nearly 80 wonderfully evocative photographs of the familiar and the obscure, the small and the large, the detail and the vista. Picturing the Past provides a modern look at South Dakota's physical links to the state's history. It contains appeal for residents familiar with the places shown, students of historic preservation, and those with an eye for artistic photography.
Vogt is director of the South Dakota State Historical Society at the Cultural Heritage Center and the state historic preservation officer. Rogers is director of the society's historic preservation office.
Available for $29.95 plus shipping and tax, Picturing the Past can be purchased from most bookstores, or ordered directly from the South Dakota State Historical Society Press, (605) 773-6009 or firstname.lastname@example.org.