Stockgrowers Bank

34 E Main St, Fort Pierre

Stockgrowers Bank

The Stockgrowers Bank is the single example of Romanesque Revival architecture in Fort Pierre. The building represents an interesting and well-executed adaptation of the style to the needs of the small frontier community and is the most important commercial building erected in Fort Pierre during the 20th century. The bank symbolizes the commercial development of Fort Pierre during the early 20th century as the business center for much of western South Dakota’s cattle raising activity. The two-story, brick building dominates the center of town on its site at the corner of Deadwood and Main Streets. The cut sandstone foundation, polygonal corner tower with ornamental festoons, decorative brickwork and arched windows with brick keystones set it apart from the other buildings in town.

Charles L. Millett and his wife settled in Fort Pierre in 1890 when the Great Sioux Reservation opened to white settlement. They established squatter rights for their residence in April of that year and officially incorporated a banking enterprise at the corner of Deadwood and Main Streets, the future site of the Stockgrowers Bank. In 1903, Millett, along with Gaylord E. Sumner and James (Scotty) Philip, constructed the building and began the Stockgrowers Bank and a chain of associated banks in Midland, Philip, Kadoka, Cottonwood, and Milesville.

Among the first officers of the bank were Anton and Frank Fischer, originators of what was the oldest general store under continuous management in central South Dakota. Other officers included the owner of the first lumber yard in Fort Pierre Gaylord Sumner, Reverend Thomas L. Riggs, and rancher James (Scotty) Philips.

The Stockgrowers Bank quickly became the most prestigious office and commercial building in Fort Pierre. In addition to the bank itself, other tenants included the Lynch Barber Shop; Phillip, Young & McPherson Land Office; the first telephone exchange in Fort Pierre; Binder & Borst Hardware Store; Hargesheimer Drug Store; the Webb-Lambert Attorney’s Office; and the offices of Doctors Lavery, Walsh, and Morrissey.