YANKTON, S.D. — Efforts are underway in a southeast South Dakota city to memorialize former Gov. William H. McMaster.

A statue honoring the former Republican governor is on track to be unveiled in Yankton this June, the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan reported . McMaster, who moved to Yankton in 1901, served as the state’s governor from 1921 to 1925, and later served in the U.S. Senate. He also served in the state Legislature and as lieutenant governor.

The Yankton County Historic Preservation Commission is working with a local business to make the memorial unique. The marker will be attached to the Meridian Bridge because McMaster helped build bridges across the Missouri River. McMaster also presided over the dedication of Meridian Bridge, which will be noted in his marker.

“The marker is being made as we speak,” said Bernie Hunhoff, a member of the commission. “Instead of just sticking (the plaque) on a metal pole, we’re going to do something a little more creative.”

Yankton officials have been trying to honor McMaster for the past three years.

Tony Venhuizen, the current governor’s chief of staff, said some of South Dakota’s former governors were honored with historic markers in their hometowns, while others were not.

“It was really just a matter of whether a given town had taken the initiative and put it up or not,” Venhuizen said.

The county’s historic preservation commission voted unanimously in May to memorialize McMaster and fundraise between $2,000 and $3,000 for the project.

Hunhoff said commissioners nearly met their fundraising goals to pay for the marker, though they could still use donations to cover final expenses. He said local residents have been very giving.

“It’s not surprising,” Hunhoff said. “Yankton is a community that is, first of all, always generous, and secondly, very interested in preserving the community’s history.”


Information from: Yankton Press and Dakotan, http://www.yankton.net/