Have you seen the concrete USD letters? They can be found by going to lower Vermillion and turning east on Burbank Road. The letters are in the vicinity of the golf course.
This project “ … was a successful effort by the Vermillion Association of Women’s Clubs (Civic Council) to construct large white USD letters on the hillside east of town, visible from the railroad and main highway. By means of a jubilee celebration during commencement week of 1921 and other activities, the women netted $1,200. On June 9, 1922, therefore, they proudly presented the completed letters to the school. That fall, a yearly tradition was born when the upperclassmen rounded up freshmen from the campus and marched them in the dark to the hill where they applied a fresh coat of paint, finishing about midnight.”
Quote from Cedric Cummins’ The University of South Dakota, 1862-1966. Vermillion, SD: Dakota Press, 1975. Pages 169-170.
USD Archives, in its Buildings, Other Structures, and Utilities collection, has an architectural drawing of the concrete letters.
Image by William Ranney.
For information on other hillside letters, see Evelyn Corning”s Hillside Letters A to Z: A Guide to Hometown Landmarks. Mountain Press Publishing Company. 2007