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Verendrye Monument


PIERRE, S.D. – In 1743, Louis Verendrye and his brother marched over the South Dakota prairie searching for the Northwest Passage, thinking there would be a river that would take them across North America to the Pacific Ocean. However, a mountain range, perhaps the Black Hills, blocked their path. On their way back, they buried a lead plate on a hillside overlooking FortPierre and the Missouri River to claim the land for Louis XV, King of France.

Roughly 170 years later, in 1913, the lead plate was accidentally found by a group of school children. This plate marks the oldest, continuous white settlement in the South Dakota area. A monument marks the spot where the plate was discovered, while the actual plate sits on display at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre.

The Verendrye brothers were traders who built trading posts near Lake Superior where they traded guns and other goodsfor beaver, fox, otter and muskrat pelts. 

The Marks of History series is a project of the South Dakota Office of Tourism designed to highlight historic markers all across South Dakota. Click on the special “Marks of History” link at to access the complete list of articles.

The Marks of History series is part of Goal 1 of the 2010 Initiative to double visitor spending in South Dakota and Goal 4 to enhance history and arts as a tool for economic development and cultural tourism in South Dakota.
The Office of Tourism serves under the direction of Richard Benda, Secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development.


Please Note: The South Dakota Office of Tourism is not responsible for the text included on these markers. Some of the language used at the time of production may not be appropriate by today's standards. Please view the markers at your own discretion.