History of the Carpenter Building

Historic Carpenter BuildingCharles C. Carpenter was an Eastern banker with money to invest, he headed for Dakota in 1888. Better known as “C.C.” he soon put his money to work. He invested along with other early Dakotans in the Sioux Falls Stock Yards built in south Sioux Falls by Richard Pettigrew. Frances Carpenter, C.C.’s wife, was a sister to Artemus Gale and Helen McKennan, early Sioux Falls pioneers.

After C.C.’s death, Frances Carpenter built the Carpenter Hotel on South Phillips Avenue. She built it to be fire proof, an important factor since other hotels in Sioux Falls had experienced devastating fires. The hotel, costing $250,000, was the first masonry hotel built in South Dakota. October 25, 1912, a grand opening was held for the brand new Carpenter Hotel in downtown Sioux Falls, South Dakota. When the hotel opened, it boasted 150 rooms, 80 with private bath and a high class café. Dodge and Crocker from Minneapolis were the proprietors.

Facts:

  • In the early years, farmers taking their livestock to the yards would drop off wives downtown where they could get lunch, shop and even see a movie at one of the 6 downtown theatres.
  • The very first Stewart Beauty salon called “Gordon’s” opened on the second floor.
  • Several well known Sioux Falls patrons made their homes, on the 5th and 6th floors of the building, including: the Tuthills, the Shrivers and the owners of the Argus Leader, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Day.
  • When KSOO began broadcasting in 1926, its studio was located on the 6th floor.
  • When the Sioux Falls air base was built in 1942, the population of the city doubled to almost 80,000.
  • During WWII, five railroads brought in troop trains of GI’s for 6 weeks of radio training and the hotel became home away from home for the men stationed here.
  • During the war, the basement billiard hall was converted into a dormitory. Individual cubicles were built and cost $0.50 a night.
  • Well known guests included: Bob Hope, Prince Olaf and the Queen of Norway, Alfred and Lynn Fontanne, Lillian Gish, Katherine Graham, Benny Goodman, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Bob Chesterfield and Tex Beneke.
  • The Carpenter was owned for a time by the Sheraton Companies and once was called The Sherwyn.
  • In the 1970′s the hotel rooms were converted into dormitory rooms for the Nettleton College, but ended around 1982.
  • The Carpenter was placed on the National Register of Historic Places August 13, 1986.
  • In 1992 the vacant Carpenter Building was nearly torn down, but the cost to do so was too expensive.

The summer of 1994, David Dyke, local businessman, purchased The Carpenter. He replaced the roof, more than 80 windows and removed tons of rubbish. The upper floors had been vacant since 1982 and the main floor since 1991. The city of Sioux Falls then partnered with Dyke to replace the front windows and restore the facade. Since 1994, Mr. Dyke has worked to restore the entire building into the gem it is today.

In March of 2015, the Scherschligt Family purchased the Carpenter. They are continuing Mr. Dyke’s vision of downtown restoration and betterment.