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The Story Behind South Dakota’s Flaming Fountain Is Bizarre But True

Have you ever seen a fountain of water that was constantly on fire? It sounds impossible, but believe it or not, it isn’t. The state capitol grounds in Pierre, South Dakota have a unique feature that once drew the curiosity of many. Unfortunately, in recent years this fire has mostly burned out, but for decades it lit the grounds with a strong blaze.

The Flaming Fountain Memorial lies right next to Capitol Lake, feeding water into it down a series of waterfalls from where it bubbles up. The memorial is dedicated to the war veterans of South Dakota. The Flaming Fountain was the most popular stop for decades, where the fire would burn over the water endlessly. This gave it the name of the “Eternal Flame.” Despite the fact it was burning on top of actual water, it would not extinguish.

So what caused this? The fountain is actually made from an artesian well deep in the earth that heated the capitol building. Joseph Landrum further explains in this video and demonstrates what the flaming fountain looked like in its prime:

 

Do you remember when it was still burning constantly? What an awesome sight! It would be amazing if it was still like that today, but there are currently no plans to attempt to restore the fountain to its former glory as it would be a fairly large and expensive undertaking. Here is what it looks like normally today:


South Dakota is full of unusual places like this with even weirder phenomena. We featured 9 bizarre natural locations in South Dakota like that here.

Leah
Crazy old cat lady in training, includes enthusiasm for knitted sweaters. Farm livin', film lovin', pasta cookin', graphic artist and writer from the good ol' midwest!