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Pierre and Fort Pierre, South Dakota

Karcher Block

Karcher Block
Karcher Block
State Archives of the South Dakota State Historical Society(left) South Dakota State Historical Society (right)

Built during Pierre’s second building boom, the Karcher Block was one of the first brick commercial buildings in the city. Commissioned by Henry Karcher and constructed in 1884, the block is in the popular Commercial style with Italianate features. Karcher was instrumental in providing permanency to the present downtown business district of Pierre.
At the time, it was unclear whether the center of the business community would be in East or West Pierre. According to Karcher’s diary, Mr. Wells, who owned most of what was then called East Pierre, offered Karcher $6,000 not to erect his “mammoth double brick building” in West Pierre.  Karcher rejected this offer, and West Pierre went on to become the center of the business community.
The Karcher Block provided for two retail spaces on the main floor, including a post office, and a second floor used as a public hall. Construction of the Karcher Block and the Central Block, another major downtown building, at the same time guaranteed that West Pierre would be the focus of the business district. The Karcher Block was considered one of the most desirable business locations in the city because of its central location on the northeast corner of Pierre Street and Dakota Avenue. In continual use since its construction, the building served as the home for many thriving downtown businesses including retail stores, doctors and lawyers offices, real estate agencies, an immigration and employment bureau, the Dakota Poster newspaper, and the Pierre City Railroad Company. The block stayed in the Karcher family until 1989.

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The Karcher Block is located at 366 South Pierre St. in Pierre. It is currently occupied by a business in one retail space while the other is for lease. It is open to the public during regular business hours. The upper level is private.

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