Johnson honors Vermillion on anniversary

Johnson honors Vermillion on anniversary U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) recognized Vermillion on the 150th anniversary of its founding this month. Johnson entered a statement in the Congressional Record honoring the community. "Communities like Vermillion are the cornerstone of our state. As someone who has grown up in this part of the state, I am honored to highlight this milestone for the community with a statement in the Congressional Record," Johnson said. Full text of the Congressional Record Statement from Johnson below: Mr. President, I rise today to recognize the 150th anniversary of the founding of one of South Dakota's great cities, Vermillion. Sitting atop a bluff on the Missouri River in the Southeast corner of the state, Vermillion is the county seat for Clay County. With its growing economic development, strong work force, and diverse demographics, Vermillion has an exceptional quality of life and I am proud to call it my hometown. Deriving its name from the Sioux word for "red stream," Vermillion was founded in 1859 after first being visited by French fur traders. Just three years later in 1862 the University of South Dakota was founded, making it the state's oldest institution of higher education. After a harsh winter, the city of Vermillion faced what would later become known as the Great Flood of 1881. By the flood's end, over one hundred buildings were destroyed, and transportation was stalled for months due to damage to railroads and bridges. The town's businesspeople quickly responded and rebuilt the town on top of the bluff. After relocating, the city continued to flourish with the advance of technological innovations at the turn of the century. In 1895, the Vermillion Milling Company received a franchise to operate an electric utility and provide electric lights. In 1902, Vermillion saw the installation of a city sewer system and steam powered automobiles on its streets. Throughout its rich and colorful history, Vermillion has continued to grow and prosper.  Today, Vermillion boasts a wide variety of educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities. It is home to many places of interest including the Shrine to Music Museum, founded in 1973. This national music museum is one of the greatest institutions of its kind in the world. The facility holds many instruments from renowned collections and has been recognized as "A Landmark of American Music" by the National Music Council. Additionally, the city's attractions include the Austin-Whittemore House, the Oscar Howe Gallery, the Dakota Dome, the W.H. Over Museum, Spirit Mound and beautiful riverside trails. Vermillion is celebrating its sesquicentennial with a variety of events including tours of the newly completed Vermillion City Hall, a community barbeque, school reunions and dances, a 5K Fun Run/Walk, an air show, and a concert by Ratingen Youth Wind Orchestra from Vermillion's Sister City of Ratingen, Germany. These activities will serve as a reminder of the shared history of the community and bring the tight-knit people of Vermillion even closer together. Vermillion is holding a flag design contest to pay additional tribute to this historic milestone. The city has previously unveiled its official sesquicentennial logo, designed by Erin Helsa, a 2006 graduate of Vermillion High School. As a native of Vermillion, I am pleased to publicly honor the achievements of this wonderful South Dakota community as they reach this juncture. I congratulate the citizens of Vermillion on their accomplishments over the last one hundred and fifty years and look forward to seeing their future endeavors.

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