1935 – Hughes County Court House, Pierre, South Dakota

Architect: Hugill & Blatherwick


The Hughes County Court House was designed in the Public Works Administration in a Moderne style with Art Deco features by the architects Hugill and Blatherwick and constructed by the Henry Carlson Company, all out of Sioux Falls. This governmental interpretation is a simplified version of the exuberant Art Deco style that appealed to a nation in the midst of the Great Depression. The uninterrupted square massing of the building and vertical bands of windows separated by decorative-patterned brick spandrels provide the only historical references to the style. The building’s utilization of Art Deco and Moderne design elements is typical of South Dakota’s county courthouses constructed during the period. While the building’s level of architectural detail is minimal by many standards, the courthouse remains a relatively large and visually striking example of architecture in Pierre and Hughes County and the seat of county government.

Work on the new courthouse began in early 1934. The previous autumn, the county received a citizens’ petition asking that the new courthouse include a facing of native stone. This was not only for aesthetic reasons, but because the use of the stone would result in greater employment of local labor and the expenditure of more of the money in the local community. The walls are cut South Dakota stone, while the trim is Hot Springs, South Dakota sandstone.

The interior contains such details as brushed aluminum stair rails with floral motifs at the top. The rooms of the courthouse are accessed through T-shaped corridors. The fourth floor once held the jail, which is now abandoned.