The Dakota Territorial Legislature met in February of 1889. While in session, they passed a bill establishing the Dakota Soldiers’ Home to be located in Hot Springs, South Dakota. The bill carried an appropriation of $45,000 for construction. The object of the Home was to provide the care and subsistence for veterans and their wives and widows who meet eligibility requirements for admission to the Home.
The cornerstone of the first building was placed on November 11, 1889. This building remains in service and houses the Home’s administrative offices and recreational facilities.
The Veterans Home grounds cover approximately 193 acres. This offers a serene setting carved out of the beautiful Black Hills. By preserving the old and adding conveniences of the new, a true home environment exists. The three major structures are for residents alone with a central heating plant, laundry, and maintenance shop.
On October 3, 1998, Governor William J. Janklow and Major General Philip Killey dedicated the South Dakota Veterans Home to Medal of Honor Recipient “Michael J. Fitzmaurice.” Michael received the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity of action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a Specialist Four, United States Army, Troop D, 2nd Squadron, 17th Calvary, 101st Airborne Division at Khe Sanh, Republic of Vietnam, March 23, 1971.
In 2010 staff began working with federal and state officials to secure funding to construct a new state veterans home. Building Four was dismantled in 2013 and a groundbreaking ceremony was held in September of 2013 to construct the new home.
The newly designed Michael J. Fitzmaurice South Dakota Veteran's Home is a 133,000-square-foot stacked two-story building with a lower level walkout main entrance. The 100-bed facility is used to serve South Dakota veterans and will contain 76 skilled nursing beds on the main level and 24 non-skilled living beds on the upper level. The living spaces are broken into eight neighborhoods housed in eight wings. Each neighborhood includes a living room, dining room and kitchen area that provide a home-like environment to the 12-13 occupants housed in each neighborhood. The design incorporates residential type furnishings and finishes, and warm, welcoming colors to give the spaces a more comforting feel.
The facility contains energy efficient heating and cooling systems, low flow-fixtures to reduce water consumption, as well as many windows to bring natural light to the interior spaces. The biomass boiler system uses local wood chips as a fuel source which will reduce the annual fuel cost.
In January of 2016 residents were moved into the new home and a groundbreaking ceremony was held in March. Building three came down in March of 2016.
Michael J. Fitzmaurice State Veterans Home Endowment Fund
The goal is to build a permanent endowment from which investment income will be used for activities, programs, and equipment to enhance the quality of life for the residents of the Michael J. Fitzmaurice State Veterans Home.
Click here to learn more about the foundation.
To make a donation scroll up to the top of the page and click on the red "M J Fitzmaurice Endowement Fund" button in the top right hand side of the page.