The Verendrye Museum in Fort Pierre is named for Louis and Chevalier Verendrye, two French brothers who explored the upper reaches of the Missouri River.
Sansarc Country School Museum
Located behind the Log Cabin Visitor Center, downtown Fort Pierre
The Sansarc School was built in 1910 and used actively as a school until 1969. Purchased and moved to Gene Stoeser ranch in 1973. Gene then brought schoolhouse to Fort Pierre to be used as a museum in 1975. Restoration of roof and interior in 1999 to prevent deterioration of building by Verendrye Museum and Stanley County School Board, guided by Gene Stoeser and Mary Beth Stoeser Fravel. The original teacher cottage built next to the school and used actively until 1969, and original swing set were located in April 2014. In 2014, Deb Stoeser Schiefelbein guided cleaning, furnishing, improving appearance and functionality of building, and it was open as an interpretive museum in June 2014.
In the original location on Sansarc Road in northern Stanley County, the teacher cottage next to the school was 17 feet wide and 20 feet long. It had three rooms: a living room with heater, a kitchen with sink and stove, and a bedroom. There were 6 windows, and one entrance door. The bathroom was one of the two school outhouses.
The one room school is 18 feet wide and 23 feet long and has 6 windows on South and 2 windows on East, a front entry with interior door and transom window to the room and outside entrance. The entry is used for hanging coats, storing water cooler, keeping balls and bats, lunch pails, boots. In the school there was a potbelly stove in the rear that used wood and coal, and later an oil stove. There was a cistern near the front entrance, dipping a bucket to get the water and eventually using a hand pump, and flagpole between the two buildings. Phone service began in 1960.
Books from 1st to 8th grade curriculum, maps, globe, teaching aids, and blackboards are in place. On the walls are framed pictures of Presidents Lincoln and Washington, Lord’s Prayer, The Lord, YCL (Young Citizens League) banner and certificates.
The school was also used as a polling site and has the original ballot boxes.
The first Sansarc school house was built along Sansarc Creek. There were Sans Arc Indian tribes in the area of Cheyenne River. Sans Arc can mean “no bow” or “unmarked arrows”. The Sans Arc Indians did not mark their arrows so they would all share the meat, rather than have all the meat go to only the brave who killed the bison. It is also thought they used spears instead of bow and arrows.
The Sansarc school house is currently located behind the Log Cabin Visitor Center in downtown Fort Pierre; ask for a tour by calling 605-223-7761.