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South Dakota's Great Faces Archive

South Dakota has been and is home to a variety of influential people who have had a tremendous impact on the state. This weekly series focuses on the people who have shaped South Dakota by highlighting many of those who have left their mark. Each week brings a new story of one of the Great Faces of South Dakota.

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South Dakota’s Great Places: Black Hills Playhouse

Heading into the “backwoods” doesn’t usually involve high quality theater productions performed by professional actors and artists; but at the Black Hills Playhouse, that is exactly what theater-goers discover. 


South Dakota's Great Faces: Leonel Jensen

Leonel Jensen’s contributions to South Dakota’s citizens and his efforts toward wildlife conservation make him one of South Dakota’s Great Faces.


South Dakota’s Great Faces: Paul Besselievre

Paul Besselievre’s dedication to the tourism industry and the Black Hills of South Dakota makes him one of South Dakota’s Great Faces.


South Dakota's Great Faces: Sitting Bull

Hunkpapa Lakota leader, warrior and holy man Sitting Bull was respected for his bravery and insight. After the Battle at Little Big Horn, Sitting Bull became known around the world, and he is one of South Dakota’s Great Faces.


South Dakota's Great Faces: DeWitt Booth

Dewitt Clinton (D.C.) Booth arrived in Spearfish, S. D., in July 1899, as the youngest superintendent in the U.S. Fishery Corps. During his 40 years of government service, Booth established the historic D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery in Spearfish, as well as hatcheries in other states and foreign countries, making him one of South Dakota’s great faces


South Dakota's Great Faces: Governor Richard Kneip

The late-Gov. Richard F. Kneip was known as a man who loved people, politics and business. He served South Dakota as a state senator and as Governor. For this, he is one of South Dakota’s Great Faces.


South Dakota's Great Faces: Ben Black Elk

He’s known as the “fifth face on the mountain” for his dedicated service at Mount Rushmore. But Ben Black Elk’s work to preserve the Lakota culture stretched far beyond the national monument. That makes him one of South Dakota’s Great Faces.


South Dakota's Great Faces: Oscar Howe

Widely known for representing the rich heritage of his Native American people through unique artwork, Oscar Howe is recognized as one of South Dakota’s Great Faces.


South Dakota's Great Faces: Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse was recognized among his people as not only a legendary warrior, but also a leader committed to preserving the traditions and values of the Lakota way of life. He is still a sacred figure to modern Native Americans and is one of South Dakota’s Great Faces.


South Dakota's Great Faces: Korczak Ziolkowski

Korczak Ziolkowski, often referred to as the Storyteller in Stone, was the force behind a dream of Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear. Together, they dedicated Crazy Horse Memorial on June 3, 1948.


South Dakota's Great Faces: Rose Wilder Lane

Rose Wilder Lane began her life on the prairie of South Dakota and urged her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, to pursue a writing career. It is because of that encouragement that the “Little House on the Prairie” series was born. For that, Lane is one of South Dakota’s Great Faces.


South Dakota’s Great Faces: Almon “Hoadley” Dean

Promoting western South Dakota and serving on many organizations throughout his life are what make Almon “Hoadley” Dean one of South Dakota’s Great Faces.

South Dakota's Great Faces: John Boland

Many have heard of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, but not nearly as many have heard of the man who helped manage the Memorial’s finances and kept it from overspending. John Boland’s work for the very first Mount Rushmore National Memorial Commission makes him one of South Dakota’s Great Faces.


South Dakota's Great Faces: James "Scotty" Philip

James “Scotty” Philip is known as the man who helped save the American bison from extinction in the 1900s. For this, he is one of South Dakota’s Great Faces.


South Dakota's Great Faces: Harvey Dunn

South Dakota-born artist Harvey Dunn, a nationally recognized illustrator, teacher, Army artist and painter of the South Dakota prairie, is one of South Dakota’s Great Faces.


South Dakota's Great Faces: Spotted Tail

Spotted Tail was a Brule Sioux Chief who was a notable warrior and skilled diplomat. Spotted Tail continuously worked for the good of his people. He is not only a Great Face of South Dakota, but is remembered among great men of our nation.

South Dakota's Great Faces: Mattie Goff Newcombe

A hero and idol of young cowgirls, Mattie Goff Newcombe was an equestrian legend and rodeo champion. For that, she is one of South Dakota’s Great Faces.


South Dakota’s Great Faces: Hugh Glass

Bravery, determination and a wilderness survival tale of beating all odds are the reasons Hugh Glass is one of South Dakota’s Great Faces.


South Dakota's Great Faces: Arndt Dahl

The achievements and generosity of South Dakota businessman Arndt (Art) Dahl, including his donation of the DahlArtCenter in Rapid City,


South Dakota's Great Faces: Charles Badger Clark

A love for the Black Hills and the ability to speak and write in creative and innovative ways are the reasons Charles Badger Clark is one of South Dakota’s Great Faces.


South Dakota's Great Faces: Ted Hustead

It was the Great Depression and Ted Hustead (HYOO’-sted) had just started a business in a town that was said to be “godforsaken.”


South Dakota's Great Faces: Arne Larson

With a passion for music and collecting, Arne Larson compiled one of the greatest collections of musical instruments, including some of the rarest in the world. For that, Larson is known as one of South Dakota’s Great Faces.


South Dakota's Great Faces: Laura Ingalls Wilder

One of South Dakota’s best known Great Faces is Laura Ingalls Wilder, a woman who charmed the world with her stories of life on the prairie.


South Dakota's Great Faces: Sacagawea

Not only was Sacagawea the only female member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, but she was a key resource in the success of the Expedition. Serving as an interpreter and continuously proving her bravery, Sacagawea is known as one of South Dakota's Great Faces.


South Dakota's Great Faces: Casey Tibbs

Casey Duane Tibbs was known as “the Babe Ruth of Rodeo,” winning championships across the nation. His rodeo skills and success in the film industry make Tibbs not only a South Dakota Great Face, but a great face throughout the world.


South Dakota's Great Faces: Frank Cundill

Photography that captures the people and lifestyles of South Dakota is why Frank Cundill is one of South Dakota’s Great Faces.


South Dakota's Great Faces: Abraham Blumenthal

Abraham Blumenthal of Deadwood, S.D., is known for being the Chairman of the Black Hills Roundup Rodeo. Blumenthal was also an active member of communities throughout the Black Hills, and is one of South Dakota’s Great Faces.

South Dakota's Great Faces: Earl Brockelsby

Kadoka native Earl Brockelsby, founder of Reptile Gardens just south of Rapid City, is truly one of South Dakota's Great Faces.


South Dakota’s Great Faces: Phil Anderson

When developer Phil Anderson set out to develop a plat of land on the southwest edge of Hot Springs in 1974, he had no idea he was about to find one of South Dakota's greatest fossil treasures.


South Dakota's Great Faces: L. Frank Baum

Although L. Frank Baum only lived in South Dakota for three years, the footprint he left behind makes him one of South Dakota’s Great Faces. His most famous work, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, has connections to South Dakota


South Dakota's Great Faces: Josef Meier

Josef Meier became an actor when he was 10 weeks old. Therefore, it's fitting that he established the Black Hills Passion Play in 1939, transplanting a custom of his native Germany into a well-known tradition in South Dakota.


South Dakota's Great Faces: James Madison

James Russell Madison Jr., professional cowboy, spent the majority of his life living the Wild West lifestyle in western South Dakota.


South Dakota's Great Faces: Arthur Mellette

Arthur C. Mellette was the only man to serve as both Governor of Dakota Territory and Governor of the State of South Dakota. His enthusiasm and advocacy for South Dakota's statehood make him one of South Dakota's Great Faces.


South Dakota’s Great Faces: Joseph Koller

Joseph Koller received many awards honoring his commitment to photography and writing in South Dakota.


South Dakota's Great Faces: Frederick Evans

Frederick Evans is remembered as the man who developed Hot Springs, S.D., into a health resort destination. He capitalized on the area's warm mineral waters, creating a town still known for its healing atmosphere and historic significance.


South Dakota's Great Faces: Jake Herman

Jake Herman is best remembered as a rodeo clown, but also had the ability to ride broncos, trick ride and rope, ride bareback, and entertain audiences as an outstanding comedian. These combined talents make Herman one of South Dakota’s Great Faces.


South Dakota's Great Faces: Peter Norbeck

South Dakota recognizes Peter Norbeck as one of South Dakota’s Great Faces because of his dedication and commitment to the state’s tourism industry. Norbeck was South Dakota’s ninth governor and long-time public official.  


South Dakota's Great Faces: George Hunter

George Robert Hunter of Deadwood was a prominent businessman his entire life, and his support and contributions to two major landmarks in South Dakota also make him one of South Dakota's Great Faces.

South Dakota's Great Faces: Clarence Jurisch

Clarence Jurisch was born and raised in Southwestern South Dakota, and always had an affinity for the Badlands.


South Dakota's Great Faces: Bud and Doris Livermore

Bud and Doris Livermore of Fort Pierre were among the organizers of the official South Dakota Hall of Fame.


South Dakota's Great Faces: Oscar Micheaux

Oscar Micheaux was one of the first African American filmmakers in the United States, and one of the first African American settlers in South Dakota.


South Dakota’s Great Faces: John Gutzon Borglum

Gutzon Borglum (John Gutzon Borglum) is most notably known in South Dakota as the man who directed the carving of Mount Rushmore National Memorial. While making his mark both on South Dakota history and the visitor industry, he was known for other artistic works as well.