Historical Sites and Museums

Historical Sites and Museums in Yankton, South Dakota

Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel
1005 W. 8th St.
(605) 668-6000
A distinctive Yankton landmark built in 1950; Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel is considered one of the country’s best examples of western architecture. Saints depicted over the front doorway include Saints Gertrude the Great, Lioba, Scholastica, Benedict, Gregory, Anselm and Bede. At the back of the Upper Chapel is a plaque on the east wall that commemorates the loving memory of the deceased Sisters of the Benedictine Convent of Sacred Heart Monastery. Open daily from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tours available Monday-Friday or by appointment. Gift shop items are available in the Sacred Heart Monastery.

Christ Episcopal Church
517 Douglas Ave.
(605) 665-2456
You will be captivated and inspired by the memorial stained-glass windows, the powerful rich sound of the organ and the warm, mellow woodwork in this over 150 year old church. Tours of the church are available by calling the church office.

Cramer-Kenyon Heritage Home and Dorothy Jencks Memorial Garden
509 Pine St.
(605) 665-7470
Completed in 1886, by the Secretary of the Dakota Territory, this stately home is the tallest Queen Anne home in South Dakota. Unique features of the home include heavy double doors in the front entry, high coved ceilings, combination gas and electric chandeliers and replicated wallpaper in the parlors. The home remains in its original 1880s décor with oil paintings by Alice Bullfinch Cramer decorating the walls. Open for guided tours from Memorial Day through Labor Day, Wednesday – Sunday from 1–5 p.m. During the off season, the home is open by appointment. Admission is free will donation.

Dakota Territorial Capitol Replica
Riverside Park (Intersection of Douglas Avenue and Levee Street)
(605) 668-5234
The capitol replica symbolizes Yankton as being the first capitol of the Dakota Territory from 1861-1883. The replica is patterned after the original Dakota Territorial Capitol built in Yankton in 1862 and torn down in 1886. Displays in the building include photographs of old Yankton, maps of the Dakota Territory, a gallery of former Dakota Territorial governors and a tribute to the local St. John’s Masonic Lodge. Visitors will want to view the quilt highlighting Yankton landmarks, made by the four Yankton Quester chapters. For rental and viewing of the capitol contact the Parks and Recreation Department.

Dakota Territorial Museum
610 Summit St.
(605) 665-3898
Take a step back in time as you enter the Dakota Territorial Museum. The museum holds a large collection of rare memorabilia of early life in the Dakota Territory. Some of the exhibits include the musical instruments of Felix Vinatieri, the band leader for General George Custer’s 7th Calvary band, a Max Copper Vintage Boat Motor and fishing collection, Great Northern railroad caboose, 1870s log house and one-room country school. Summer hours include May 1 through Sept. 30, Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday from Noon – 4 p.m. Winter hours are Oct. 1 through April 30, daily from Noon – 4 p.m. and by appointment year-round. Admission is free will donation.

Gavins Point Dam
Four miles West on Highway 52
(402) 667-2546
Gavins Point Dam, located on the Missouri River, was completed in 1957 as part of the Pick-Sloan Plan. The dam and powerplant are operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Tour the powerplant and learn how it operates. See the generators in action! Open Memorial Day through Labor Day, Friday – Sunday and holidays tours begin at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tours are available to groups off season by appointment. No purses, bags, cameras, cell phones, food or drink allowed in the powerplant. IDs are required for those 17 and older.

Historic Downtown Yankton
Between 2nd and 5th Streets & Linn and Burleigh Streets
(605) 665-2263
Stroll through the downtown area and browse many individually owned and operated businesses and unique shops. You will discover specialty gift, clothing and antique shops. As well as art galleries and a variety of home furnishings, decorating, business services, food, drink, entertainment, and overnight accommodations to suit your needs. Historic Downtown Yankton offers small town charm, unique architecture and area attractions and events all year-round. Located along the Missouri River – featuring the Meridian Walking Bridge – just blocks away from historic neighborhoods, sites, museums and community parks.

Historic Homes Brochure
Walk or drive by the many different historic homes in Yankton. This brochure shows the address and a short description. Historic Homes Brochure

Historic Yankton Tour
Take a tour of the past! Incorporated in 1862, Yankton is a riverboat city rich with history and charm. Many of the original homes date back to the 1870s and are a wonderful collection of the architecture of that time. A tour book is available for purchase at the Yankton Chamber & Visitors Center and Dakota Territorial Museum. The book is divided into walking and driving tours.

House of Mary Shrine
142 Drees Dr. (Seven miles West on Highway 52)
(605) 668-0121
On a hillcrest overlooking Lewis and Clark Lake, three giant crosses stand as a reminder of the life and death of Jesus Christ. Down the slope a bell tower, statues, shrinettes, the Way of the Cross, the Living Waters, the Rosary Way and St. Joseph’s Chapel are tucked among the trees. The House of Mary Shrine began in 1972, and continues to grow and inspire those who come and take advantage of the serene peaceful atmosphere. Cabins are available for a quiet inspirational retreat. The Shrine is open year-round for private prayer and touring. Special tours in the summer by appointment. Masses are held every Saturday at 9 a.m., and from April – October on Monday at 8:30 a.m. The Rosary is prayed each Sunday at 4 p.m. The gift shop is open summers daily from 1-4 p.m.

Ice House
101 Capital St.
(605) 665-2631
Built in 1928 by John Keller, the Ice House was the first artificial ice plant in the area. The individuals who were supposed to purchase the business lost their financing with the onset of the Great Depression, and so it ended up in the hands of Keller’s son-in-law, Iner Anderson. Shortly after Prohibition, beer was sold there, and it became a fixture of Yankton. It is one of the only bars in the country with carhop service. However, most people prefer to sit on the “dock” in front of the Ice House while enjoying a beverage and partake in the tradition of smashing empty bottles against the brick wall beneath it. The Anderson family still runs the business and Jim Anderson is known for his ability to smash cans with his feet at an unprecedented pace. He once appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman to display this skill to a national audience.

Meridian Bridge
Walnut Street
The Meridian Bridge, a landmark in Yankton since 1924, is the result of hard work and determination of local citizens. The bridge closed to vehicle transportation in October 2008, but opened in November 2011 to foot traffic.  The bridge welcomes both foot and bike traffic.  Spanning over 3,029 feet, the Meridian Bridge is the longest pedestriam bridge connecting two states, Nebraska and South Dakota. (For further trail information, visit our trails page.)  It officially opened on October 11, 1924 and was the first permanent bridge crossing the Missouri River.  This unique bridge is a “double-decker” with one lane positioned above another.  It was constructed as a lift-span bridge to allow riverboat traffic to traverse the river.  Up until 1953, it was operated as a toll bridge.

Mount Marty College
1105 W. 8th St.
(855) MtMarty (686-2789)
Mount Marty College is a beautifully maintained 80-acre campus along the bluffs of the Missouri River. The college offers Bachelor degrees, Associate degrees, pre-professional studies and Masters Programs. Students at Mount Marty are surrounded by excellent academics, strong values and many ways to stay involved. Attractive financial aid packages and scholarships make a Mount Marty education a tremendous value. Founded in 1936 by the Benedictine Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery, the college is named in memory of Martin Marty, a Benedictine missionary and the area’s first Catholic Bishop.

Yankton College Office
1801 Summit St., Door 9
(605) 665-3661
Yankton College was the first institution of higher learning in the Dakota Territory, providing a quality liberal arts education to thousands before closing in 1985. Among its distinctions are the Conservatory of Music, School of Theology, Clark Observatory, the first Shakespearean outdoor Garden Terrace Theatre, several Rhodes Scholars, influential faculty and a record breaking athletic program. Student records, historical documents, college memorabilia and merchandise are available at the administrative office located at the north end of the Summit Activities Center. Open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. or by appointment.


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