This past Saturday I went to Czech Days with my Mother. It had been a few years since I went, so I needed to get refilled on gravy.

We visited the Blachnik Museum which sits in the backyard of my Mom’s cousin’s place. My Mom’s parents were Blachniks. I found out from my Mom’s cousin that the Blachniks are likely of German heritage and NOT Czech. When borders were moving quite a bit back in the day, they think the Blachniks left Germany on the border of Czechoslavakia at that time and embraced the new culture. My grandma was originally a Blaha, which is ALL Czech.

Below is inside the museum. My grandpa’s uncle Emil built it. And it is fascinating.

The cousin also filled me in on Bob Blachnik, my Grandpa’s nephew. Bob was a very well known architect in this area and worked for Spitznagel remotely in the late 50’s and early 60’s (he lived in California and would ship his drawings back.)

As you can see from his portfolio he designed many well known structures in Sioux Falls and across the country;

Blachnik illustrated buildings that we are familiar with on campus, including the ID Weeks Library and the Fine Arts building. Blachnik also designed other buildings around Southeastern South Dakota: apartments, other college campus buildings, public schools, hospitals, religious buildings, office buildings, and shopping centers – even the visitor’s center at Mt. Rushmore – all these first came to life through his hand-drawn illustrations and watercolors.

As you can see from his portfolio he did a ton of stuff. KELO TV building, McKennan Hospital, YMCA, Eastway Bowl, Mount Rushmore visitor center. He also helped design the Midland National Life building downtown and the Arena. Too bad my cousin Bob wasn’t around to design the Denty. Maybe would have went with a better siding.

I had learned about cousin Bob when I was a kid (he died in 1988) but kind of forgot about all the buildings he designed in Sioux Falls. If I can track down his actual building resume and portfolio it would be fun to go see what the buildings look like today. KELO hasn’t changed much at all.

By l3wis

4 thoughts on “Czech Days and Family History; Robert ‘Bob’ Blachnik”
  1. Fascinating! I love the KELO building. Scott, you should draw a more modern version of the KELO sketch with a food truck out front. Also, I once rappelled off the ID Weeks Library building with Paul Erickson. (ROTC days!)….

  2. Czechs that are actually Germans. That was Chamberlain’s attitude, too.

  3. I like the glass wear (which was just painted acetate). Only the best crystal at the last supper.

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