PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota recognizes Peter Norbeck as one of South Dakota’s Great Faces because of his dedication and commitment to the state’s tourism industry. Norbeck was South Dakota’s ninth governor and long-time public official.
Norbeck brought Gutzon Borglum, carver of Mount Rushmore, to South Dakota and persuaded Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Franklin D. Roosevelt to provide federal funding for Mount Rushmore.
Developing the Black Hills area as a tourist location was a Norbeck passion, and he encouraged development of Iron Mountain Road and Needles Highway. He was convinced that a road could go through the area when no one else dreamed it possible. Norbeck also contributed to development of Sylvan Lake, Custer State Park, Badlands National Park and Wind Cave National Park.
Norbeck was born in 1870 in a dugout on an acreage near Vermillion. He began his political career in 1908 when he ran for a South Dakota State Senate seat in Spink County.
Coe Crawford, sixth governor of South Dakota, invited Norbeck to join his inner circle. During that time, Norbeck was encouraged to run as a candidate for lieutenant governor of South Dakota and accepted the position in 1914.
He was elected as governor in 1916, serving from 1917 to1921 – making him the first South Dakota governor to be born in the state. Norbeck was elected a United States Senator in 1920. He served in the U.S. Senate for the next sixteen years until dying in his third term.
South Dakota’s Great Faces weekly press release series is a project of the South Dakota Office of Tourism, designed to highlight people who have had significant impacts on South Dakota, particularly in the visitor industry. Click on the special “South Dakota’s Great Faces” link at www.MediaSD.com to access the complete list of articles.
Information for this release was obtained from the South Dakota Hall of Fame Web site.