Simplified: Lori Kent, aka "Local Lou," started a local history podcast as a way to get outside in the early days of the pandemic. Now, she's working to find ways to add more – and more inclusive – historical markers

Why it matters

  • Minnehaha County has around 225 to 250 historical markers, according to Rick Lingberg, president of the county's historical society. Many of those markers were a direct result of the work of local historian Bruce Blake, who died in 2017 at age 85.
  • As she researches the markers for her "Local Lou Podcast," Kent said she's seeing some gaps and areas that were maybe missed because so many markers came largely from one historian's perspective.
  • She doesn't harbor any resentment or ill will for that fact. But – though she's the first to tell you she's not a historian – she does want to bring a new perspective to the way Sioux Falls looks at its own history.
"I just feel like there's room in there to tell other people's stories, too," Kent said. "My perspective's going to be my perspective, so I'm also going to try really hard to be really fact-based."

Tell me more about this podcast

The Local Lou Podcast shares local history using local historical markers as a jumping off point for research and discussion.

Kent started the podcast as a way to try a new hobby in the early days of the pandemic. She saw it as something safe she could do by herself that would also get her outside.

"I'm not a historian," she said. "I'm just a girl that's interested in learning our history and sharing it with people who find it interesting."

So far, Local Lou has more than a dozen episodes.

Oh! And her dad wrote and performed the twangy theme song that plays at the start of each show.

Tell me more about historical markers

If a person wants to erect a historical marker, they'd want to start with the Minnehaha County Historical Society.

  • Often, new markers are initiated by an organization looking to recognize a certain historical spot or person, Lingberg said.

The society – of which Kent is a new member – helps facilitate the process, which involves raising funds, writing the text for the marker, having it cast and setting up a dedication ceremony.

The whole ordeal costs about $3,000, Lingberg added.

What happens next?

Kent said she has big goals for herself when it comes to historical research and finding ideas for new markers.

As for the podcast? She's happy keeping it a hobby she does at her own pace, and she's grateful for the hundreds of listeners she's reached.

"I'm cool with keeping it chill," she said.