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Bridgewater site added to historic register

The First Presbyterian Church in Bridgewater, pictured here, was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. (Photo courtesy of State Historical Society)

PIERRE — The First Presbyterian Church in Bridgewater was recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places, according to the South Dakota State Historical Society.

The National Register is the official federal list of properties identified as important in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and culture. The State Historic Preservation Office of the State Historical Society works in conjunction with the National Park Service, which oversees the National Register program.

The First Presbyterian Church in Bridgewater was listed for its architectural significance within South Dakota. The congregation that built the church in 1928 first started meeting in 1879 and was officially recognized by the Presbyterian Synod in 1881. It remained active until 2011.

The church is a significant work of religious architecture in the Prairie Style first popularized by Frank Lloyd Wright. Designed by Mitchell architect Walter J. Dixon, the church exemplifies the Prairie aesthetic of emphasizing the landscape horizon and creating a balanced design through spatial relationship instead of extensive ornamentation. At a time when traditional Gothic and Classical churches proliferated, the Prairie Style was a modern and relatively rare choice for congregations to make. First Presbyterian’s exterior architectural design retains excellent integrity to its date of construction. The historic layout of the interior has also been preserved with a large open auditorium, woodwork that includes heavy panel doors, hardware and lighting fixtures.

The other South Dakota structure recently added to the National Register is the Hansen-Hagedorn Barn in Tea.

Source: State Historical Society