Rapid City's "M" Hill 100 years old - KOTA Territory News

Rapid City's "M" Hill 100 years old


For a century the "M" on "M" Hill has been a well known symbol in Rapid City. "We're proud of it and it represents our school," said Civil Engineering Professor M.R. Hansen.

So when around 200 people gather to celebrate the M's birthday, they can't help but think about all the work that was put into its construction. "They carried rocks up in wagons and it was a big ordeal," said American Society of Civil Engineers President Tony Kulesa.

With the help of some state of the art equipment of the time the civil engineering students of 1912 plotted and planned "M" Hill from over two miles away. "12,150 feet exactly," said Hansen.

It was on the 3rd floor of the McLaury building that 100 years ago students decided where to put the "M" on "M" Hill. They used a piece of equipment called a transit to shoot out the window, but it would be done a lot differently these days. "We could just plan it out ourselves on the computer and then walk up there and survey in the corners of it and then we could just pour concrete easy enough," said Kulesa.

While today's technology would make the job easier, Kulesa says it wouldn't improve "M" Hill in any way. "It would probably look the same though so aesthetically they did a great job back then for a hundred years ago," said Kulesa.

Students still carry on the traditions of "M" Hill. "100 years ago the students in a lot of ways are similar to the ones we have here now," said Hansen.

Professor Hansen says hard work ethic and high standards are still evident in school of mines students, and projects like "M" Hill reflect that.

One of the next big projects for civil engineering students at the School of Mines is to construct a new Wily the Whale from Story Book Island. Work on the whale will start in the next couple of weeks.



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Rapid City, SD 57701

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