You are here

Old Watertown Post Office

-A A +A
1908–1909, James Knox Taylor, supervising architect; 1933 addition. 26 S. Broadway.
  • (Photograph by Michelle Dennis)

The northeastern South Dakota city of Watertown was founded in 1879 as a rail terminus for the Chicago and North Western Railway. It prospered as a transportation hub and grew into a regional commercial center. During the early twentieth century, there was a movement to build new, freestanding post office buildings, and South Dakota was no exception. Post offices were constructed in Yankton (1906), Watertown (1909), Mitchell (1910), Huron (1912), and Rapid City (1913), all designed in the Beaux-Arts classical style favored by the supervising architect of the U.S. Treasury, James Knox Taylor.

Watertown’s Classical Revival post office was identical to that in Yankton, completed three years prior. The two-story building sits on a stone foundation and is clad in limestone. The ground-floor features large, round-arched windows (the glass itself was replaced at a later date), while the upper story contains smaller, square windows with four-over-eight sashes. Classical detailing includes keystones on the round-arched windows, bracketed sills on the upper windows, dentils, a rooftop balustrade, and a large eagle sculpture on the roofline above the round-arched main entrance, located in the center bay on the front (west) elevation.

A 1933 addition on the rear facade features a compatible design with similar materials and classical detailing. In the 1970s, the post office moved to a single-story brick building about a half a mile east on Kemp Avenue. Since that time, the original building has housed a variety of professional offices.


Erpstad, David, and David Wood. Building South Dakota. Pierre: South Dakota State Historical Society Press, 1997.

Gerloff, Scott, “Watertown Post Office,” Codington County, South Dakota. National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form, 1976. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.

Writing Credits

Michelle L. Dennis



  • 1908

  • 1933


What's Nearby


Michelle L. Dennis, "Old Watertown Post Office", [Watertown, South Dakota], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.