With a little financial help from Charles Coughlin, a 1909 electrical engineer graduate, the Coughlin Campanile was completed at a cost of $75,000. Construction began in the fall of 1928 using white Indiana limestone, red brick, concrete, and steel. In 1929, the Campanile was finished and measured 165 feet tall. Locals and visitors alike challenge themselves to climb the 180 steps for the gorgeous landscape view of Brookings. Coughlin paved the way for others in the community to donate funding to help build, restore and beautify the campus of South Dakota State University.
The key to the Coughlin Campanile may be checked out at the SDSU Alumni Center on Medary Avenue. Climbs must be made during daylight, as lighting in the tower is minimal.