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The current, familiar tower of the Capitol in Bismarck replaced the original Capitol after it burned down in 1930. However, on this date in 1953, the Devils Lake Journal reported that the building’s innards needed help again.

Walter Zellmer, secretary of the board of administration, said four different leaks had developed in the galvanized pipe system, and the plumbing was difficult to access in the Skyscraper of the Prairie. On top of that, the electrical equipment was aging and all the telephone cables were in use—even the “spares”—so no new telephone extensions could be added.

After only two decades, the 19-story Art Deco Capitol was showing its age.

Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker


The Devils Lake Journal, Oct 27, 1953