Arthur C. Mellette was the last Governor of Dakota Territory, having been appointed by President Benjamin Harrison in 1889. Although the capital was Bismarck, the Mellettes maintained their home in Watertown. Born and raised in Indiana, Mellette owned a newspaper and practiced law before moving to Dakota Territory in 1878, where he was appointed Registrar of the Land Office at Springfield. When the Land Office moved to Watertown in 1880, the Mellettes followed.
A territorial politician, Mellette was instrumental in bringing Dakota Territory to statehood, both through a regional campaign and through his influence with national leaders. He is remembered most for his honesty and integrity both in and out of public office. His credo was the Sermon on the Mount.
From an architectural standpoint, Mellette House is an Italianate villa which was built for Arthur and Margaret Mellette in 1883. Planned by the Mellettes and a German craftsman, the home was a showplace where many elegant gatherings were hosted during the frontier period. Its beautiful Victorian furnishings are examples of what was the most fashionable decor in the territory.
THIS BUILDING AND SITE ARE LISTED ON THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES BY THE UNITED STATE PARK SERVICE. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
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