Mellette House, Watertown, South Dakota
About the Mellette Memorial Association

The Mellette Memorial Association came into existence as a result of a meeting held on August 7, 1943, shortly after the property was condemned.  A group of concerned Watertown citizens held a meeting  at the Grand Hotel to discuss the future of the house.   The Mellette Memorial Association was formed on  August 18, 1943.   Raising money was the number one priority of the organization.  An option to buy the house was eventually secured from the estate that owned it.   By August of 1944, the purchase price of $500.00 was raised.

Stained Glass Window in Tower
Stained Glass window in tower.

The appalling condition of the house cannot be overemphasized.     One of the first purchases of the Association was $3.25 for nails and boards to nail up the house.   There was little money, and much work to be done.  By  June 2, 1945 , the first public function was held when the Daughters of the American Revolution gathered for a picnic luncheon.  In October of 1945,  electricity was restored .   

In August of 1949, the first of the Mellette possessions arrived.  Two oil paintings done by Maggie Mellette - one of herself as a young woman and one of the four Mellette sons - were sent by the two living sons, Charles and Anton. 

In 1953, after the death of Maggie Mellette and Anton, two Mellette Memorial Association members traveled to Pittsburg, Kansas to view furniture, silver, documents, photographs and other Mellette family items that had at one time been in the Mellette House and arrange for their shipment to Watertown. 

The restoration work has been ongoing and never ending.

Governer's Desk in Library
The Governer's Desk in the library.
Mellette family original bedroom furniture.
Mellette family original bedroom furniture.

Today the house is still owned and operated by the Mellette Memorial Association.   The volunteer Board of Directors proudly continues the commitment of the  past and endeavors to build on the accomplishments of the those who saved the Mellette House from destruction.  

We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  We invite you to help secure the future of this treasured historical house with your tax deductible donation.  Contributions can be sent to:

Mellette Memorial Association
P. O. Box 212
Watertown, SD 57201

605-886-4730                                                                                                                      Copyright 2006, Mellette Memorial Association.. All Rights Reserved.
 421 5th Ave NW, Watertown, South Dakota, USA