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South Dakota's Atlantic Crossing Connection

Norwegian Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Martha.

Caught up in PBS Masterpiece Atlantic Crossing fever? The PBS Masterpiece show is an epic drama based on the World War II relationship of Franklin Roosevelt and Norwegian Crown Princess Martha.  

Did you know Sioux Falls was a stop on the real-life royal tour? Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Martha arrived in South Dakota via train on the morning of June 14, 1939.

An announcement of the royal couple's visit to South Dakota. Credit: Old Courthouse Museum

Following a breakfast at the Carpenter Hotel, the prince and princess were lead participants of a parade, which was viewed by an estimated 20,000 people. The royal couple were then treated to individual luncheons, and Augustana College hosted an afternoon ceremony and bestowed an honorary degree of doctor of civil laws on Prince Olav. Then Sioux Falls showed off its finest with a sightseeing tour featuring Sherman and Terrace parks, the Japanese gardens, Sioux Valley Hospital, the penitentiary, city hall, Washington High School and First Lutheran Church.

A ticket to the evening banquet for the Norwegian royal couple. Credit: Old Courthouse Museum

The pinnacle of the royal visit was an evening banquet at the Coliseum, where Augustana’s president, Dr. C. M. Granskou, was the toastmaster. More than 1,700 were in attendance, and it was the second largest event on the tour. Prince Olav and Princess Martha bid the city “ha det bra” (goodbye!) and boarded the 10:30 p.m. train for Duluth.

If you haven’t yet tuned into PBS’s Masterpiece production of Atlantic Crossing, PBS Passport members can binge it in its entirety here:

A special thank you to the Old Courthouse Museum Facebook page for sourcing and posting this content and allowing SDPB to reproduce it on our website.  Follow their Facebook page here.

Watch a preview for Atlantic Crossing here:

Atlantic Crossing: Official Teaser