Britton Mayor Clyde Fredrickson congratulated Britton native and former governor Frank Farrar at the unveiling of a historical marker located at the Britton Swimming Pool to commemorate Farrar’s service to the state.
Unveiling Marks 50-Year Anniversary For Farrar
The City of Britton unveiled a historical marker honoring Britton native and former South Dakota governor Frank Farrar on the 50th anniversary of his election during Harvest Days activities on Saturday.
Erected at the entrance to the Britton Swimming Pool Park, the marker is part of a recognition program for former South Dakota governors promoted by the South Dakota State Historical Society. Since 2014 markers have been erected in the hometowns of Joe Foss, Nils Boe, Harlan Bushfield, Andrew Lee, and Bill Janklow, but Farrar is the first living former governor to be honored.
Farrar was elected in 1968 and served as the state’s 24th governor from 1969-1970. He holds the record for living the longest after leaving office in state history at 48 years. He was the fourth youngest to ever be elected to the governor’s office at age 39, ranking behind Richard Kneip at age 37, and Janklow and Foss, also 39.
“It was a wonderful experience to be governor of South Dakota,” said Farrar at the unveiling ceremony. “I really think South Dakota is the number one state in the nation, and Britton is the number one town in South Dakota. Thanks you to everyone for the support you’ve given me.”
Britton Mayor Clyde Fredrickson was the emcee for the event. He talked of Farrar’s contributions to the state and to the Britton area and read the inscription on the plaque that was erected just inside the fence on the east side of the pool bathhouse.
The following words are inscribed on both sides of the plaque below the state seal:
Frank Farrar: 24th Governor of South Dakota
Frank Leroy Farrar was born in Britton on April 2, 1929, son of third generation Marshall County homesteaders. He was an Eagle Scout and Boys State governor and graduated from Britton High School. Farrar then earned business and law degrees from the University of South Dakota where he was student body president. In 1953, he married Patricia Henley and they had five children.
Farrar served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He was a tax examiner before opening a law practice in Britton, where he served as county judge and state’s attorney. At age 33, Farrar was elected the state’s youngest attorney general.
Farrar was elected governor in 1968. He focused on consumer protection and modernizing statutes for banking and insurance. Farrar signed a narcotics law to address illegal drugs. He recruited 3M to Brookings and Aberdeen, EROS to rural Minnehaha County, and Big Stone power plant to Grant County.
After leaving office in 1971, Farrar returned to Britton and owned several banks. Farrar became known for physical fitness, participating in triathlons and Ironman competitions into his eighties. He was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 2006.