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Cataract Hotel

Founded by Harry Corson in 1871, the Cataract Hotel, located at Ninth Street and Phillips Avenue, was the place to stay and eat in Sioux Falls. A brick structure, designed by Wallace A. Dow, was erected in 1878 next to the original, wood-framed building. Since most important meetings took place at the hotel, it soon became regarded as the center of the town. As a result, when a system of house numbering was established in 1886, the numbering started at the intersection of Ninth and Phillips. This structure, destroyed when fireworks in a hotel store window ignited in June 1900, was replaced in 1901 by this elegant stone building. The hotel fire gave impetus to the establishment of a full-time fire department in August of 1900.

Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad Depot

The railroad was the single most important contribution to the development in the growth of Sioux Falls. Later owned by the Rock Island Line, this B.C.R. & N.R.R. depot (c. 1886) was located at Tenth Street and First Avenue. An attractive, quartzite-faced, two-story building, it was abandoned in 1970 and later renovated into a restaurant.
Central School

Built in 1878, Central School was the first brick school building in Sioux Falls. It was razed in 1935 to make room for the west wing of Washington High.

Fort Dakota

The original site of Sioux Falls was abandoned in 1862 because of the Dakota War in Minnesota. It was not reoccupied until 1865, when Fort Dakota was established to assure settlers of their safety. This view of Fort Dakota shows the various structures situated along the banks of the Big Sioux River. The fort remained in existence until spring of 1869. The following year, the new city of Sioux Falls arose from the abandoned fort buildings. C. K. Howard, a merchant from Sioux City, built a frame addition to the fort hospital at about Tenth Street and Phillips Avenue and opened a store. R. F. Pettigrew and a few others lived in the old barracks. The last fort building was demolished in 1873.


Officers’ Quarters, Fort Dakota

In this close-up photo (c. 1866), the commander of Fort Dakota sits outside of the officers’ quarters. The quarters were used by Dr. J. L. Phillips and his family as their home when they came to Sioux Falls in 1870. Phillips, a former member of the Western Town Company, laid claim to the quarter-section that included Fort Dakota and present-day downtown Sioux Falls. During the winter of 1870-71, Phillips laid out several streets and lots.

Irving High School

The predecessor of Washington High School, Irving was originally built in 1890, at the corner of Eleventh Street and Spring Avenue, as St. Rose Academy, a Catholic school for grades one through twelve. It closed in 1895 and was purchased by the Sioux Falls School District, which added the stone veneer seen here. In 1901 it was renamed McKinley High School in memory of the assassinated president. In 1907, when the north wing of Washington High was completed, Irving was converted to an elementary school. It was razed in 1935-36 when the present Irving Elementary School was built.

Main Avenue in 1895 (Looking South from Eighth)

Looking south from Eighth Street and Main Avenue, the Syndicate Block appears on the right, with horse and carriage in front. Designed by Wallace Dow and built in 1890 in an effort to promote Main Avenue as a business street, the Syndicate Block was purchased in 1909 by Joe Kirby and became known as the Western Surety Building. It was razed in 1962 to make room for the First Bank of South Dakota.

Main Avenue in 1904-05
(Looking North from Ninth Street)


This view of Main Avenue shows the Metropolitan Block on the left. Built in 1886, this building housed the Minnehaha National Bank. Next door, to the north, is the Ramsey Building, built in 1900, and beyond that the single-story Argus Leader Building. The Syndicate Block is at the end of the block, with the County Courthouse tower in the distance. Running down the middle of the street, which had been paved in 1892 from Third to Thirteen Streets, are trolley tracks. The close-up photo of Main shows a parade turning east on Ninth Street.


Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad Depot

Built in 1894 at Fifth Street and Phillips Avenue, this is the passenger depot of the Milwaukee Road as it looked in 1907. Some have speculated that the Midwestern depot, with its low, swooping roofline, was the inspiration for Frank Lloyd Wright’s prairie-style architecture.

Queen Bee Mill

Richard F. Pettigrew convinced eastern investor George Seney in 1879 to finance the construction of the seven-story, twelve-hundred-barrel-per-day flour mill. Opened in 1881, the mill closed in 1883, its owners unable to obtain enough wheat at reasonable prices to keep it running profitably. The mill was purchased by the United Flour Milling Company of Minneapolis in 1911, converted the mill to electric power, and operated it until 1916. It was reopened by the Larabee Flour Company in 1917 and closed permanently shortly after World War I.

Sioux Falls Post Office (Federal Building)

As a U.S. Senator, Richard F. Pettigrew was able to convince Congress to appropriate funds to construct the Federal Courthouse and Post Office building at Twelfth Street and Phillips Avenue—and he insisted that it be built of Sioux Falls quartzite. When it was originally constructed, in 1895, it was two stories in height. In 1913 a third floor was added, and in 1933 the eastern annex was built in response to the increase in postal and court business.

Main Avenue in 1895 (Looking South from Eighth)
Looking south from Eighth Street and Main Avenue, the Syndicate Block appears on the right, with horse and carriage in front. Designed by Wallace Dow and built in 1890 in an effort to promote Main Avenue as a business street, the Syndicate Block was purchased in 1909 by Joe Kirby and became known as the Western Surety Building. It was razed in 1962 to make room for the First Bank of South Dakota.

Minnehaha County Courthouse
Designed by Wallace Dow and completed in 1889, the Minnehaha County Courthouse is today known as the “Old Courthouse Museum,” a program of the Siouxland Heritage Museums. Located at Sixth Street and Main Avenue, it was used for county offices and court rooms until the completion of the new courthouse in 1962. In 1965 the Argus Leader ran an editorial calling for its demolition in favor of public parking space. The building to the right is the Minnehaha County Jail, built in 1881-82.

Sioux Falls Hospital
From 1894 until 1901, hospital care in Sioux Falls had been limited to large rented homes, such as the Cameron residence. Erected in 1901 at Nineteenth Street and Minnesota Avenue, this building was the city’s first hospital building, forerunner to Sioux Valley Hospital. The original impetus toward having a hospital building in Sioux Falls came after residents returned from the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition, where they had seen exhibits of medical care that caused them to want the same for Sioux Falls.

 

 

South Dakota State Penitentiary
The penitentiary was designed by Wallace A. Dow and constructed in 1882. The warden’s residence, seen at right, was completed in 1884. In the 1890s, prisoners quarried stone to build a wall to enclose the prison yard. The penitentiary is the subject of Sioux Falls’s most persistent urban legends, that Sioux Falls chose the penitentiary over the university because the state would always need a jail, but it is not true. As territorial delegate to Congress (1881-82), Richard Pettigrew lobbied for and succeeded in getting a federal appropriation to construct the jail in Sioux Falls, which can be seen from the Big Sioux River in the accompanying photo.

The photos in this exhibit are from the Ann Berdahl Collection, Center for Western Studies. Captions for these photos are derived, in part, from Sioux Falls, South Dakota: A Pictorial History, by Gary D. Olson and Erik L. Olson, New and Enlarged Edition (2004), available at the Center for Western Studies. For additional information about the history of Sioux Falls and other South Dakota cities and towns, see also A New South Dakota History, the first new history of the state in forty years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



For comments/questions contact:
lisa.brunick@augie.edu

Last modified: August 21, 2006

Mikkelsen Library
Augustana College
Sioux Falls, SD 57197
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