Sioux Falls, SD....
Sep 20, 2013
|We arrived in Sioux Falls late this afternoon and immediately headed to Falls Park while there was still enough light to try and capture a few photos. The park features a three-tier waterfall where a five-story, 50 ft. Viewing tower offers a breathtaking, panoramic view of the park and city. The observation tower was free and we were the only ones up there today. We were surprised to learn that this beautiful park covers over 123 acres. There is a wonderful paved walking path available & we would have walked a lot more of it had it not started raining. Did you know that an average of 7,400 gallons of water drop 100 feet over the course of the Falls each second. Beautiful!
After visiting the viewing tower and walking the path for a bit we crossed over to the other side of the river to check out the remains of the seven-story Queen Bee Mill, a brainchild of Richard Pettigrew. In the fall of 1878 Pettigrew decided Sioux Falls needed its own mill so farmers could avoid the cost of shipping wheat to Minnesota or Wisconsin. Pettigrew acquired the land and then traveled east to locate an investor, New Jersey capitalist George I. Seney.
The mill opened on Oct. 25, 1881, and consisted of a seven-story main structure built of Sioux Quartzite quarried on site. Nearly $500,000 was spent on the construction of the state-of-the-art mill and its supporting structures. At the time of its construction, the mill was one of the most advanced in America. The mill could process 1,500 bushels each day. However, by 1883, the mill was closed - a victim of inadequate water power and a short supply of wheat.
Several companies tried in vain to make the mill a success in succeeding years. In 1929 it was converted into a warehouse. On Jan. 30, 1956, fire swept through the structure, destroying the wooden roof and interior floors. The upper walls were later knocked down to prevent them from falling.
The quartzite building, also on the east bank, is the Sioux Falls Light and Power Company building, completed in 1908. The building housed three 500-kilowatt hydroelectric generators and used the dam and the millrace from the Queen Bee Mill. In subsequent years the plant added additional coal-fired steam generators. The plant was abandoned in 1974 and donated to the city in 1977. Before remodeling took place to create the Falls Overlook Cafe, the building was in similar condition as when it was first constructed.
Originally constructed to provide power for the Queen Bee Mill in the 1880s, the dam was raised in 1908 to supply power to the hydroelectric plant. Today the millrace is a viewing platform.
In front of the Visitor's Center stands the 'Monarch of the Plains' Statue. Beautifully sculpted from a 12-ton piece of mahogany granite mined in the Milbank, SD, area, Monarch is a work of art created by Darold Bailey.
And right in front of the Visitor's Center is the American Farmer Sculpture created by Sondra Jonson of Cambridge, NE. This bronze sculpture won Best of Show in Sculpture Walk 2004. American Farmer focuses on the patriarch of a rural home. I thought it looked like 'The Thinker'...LOL
Well, hope you enjoyed our visit at Sioux Falls. We certainly did & are glad we decided to stop for the night. Tomorrow we move on, traveling through a small portion of Minnesota before dropping south into Iowa. We're on our way to visit cousin's Chris & Fred for the weekend. So we'll see you on down the road....