Sioux Falls Trivia

Trivia header banner

Sioux Falls History Trivia

Louisa Gale (wife of Artemus Gale) began a library over the Williams Brothers store (Ninth Street and Phillips Avenue) in 1875. It was free to all Sioux Falls residents.
Bishop William H. Hare, and he was also instrumental in getting the residency laws changed in 1908 that ended the divorce business in South Dakota.
In 1882 the prisoners quarried the stone and built much of the facility. They also made shirts and twine and started making license plates in 1926.

The election was held on April 3, 1883, and Jacob Schaetzel Jr. was elected the first Mayor of the City. He served the community until 1885.

The suburb of Galesburg was developed by Artemus Gale (brother of Helen McKennan). It was located south of 14th Street and east of Phillips Avenue.
The plat is described as “Map of Sioux Falls, Dakota Territory,” later described as “J. L. Phillips Sioux Falls” to avoid confusion with subsequent plats. It consisted of nine blocks extending from Sixth Street to Ninth Street and from Phillips Avenue to Minnesota Avenue.
In 1876, under contract from the county commission, the Eighth Street bridge was built by Richard F. Pettigrew. It was swept away by the flood of 1881.
Dakota Land Company of St. Paul, Minnesota
Western Town Company of Dubuque, Iowa
Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Omaha reached Valley Springs on June 1, 1878, and reached Sioux Falls in December 1879
The first newspaper in Minnehaha County was “The Democrat” which was published in 1858 and 1859. It was published whenever sufficient material was at hand.
The first Post Office was in the “Old Barracks” at Fort Dakota. It opened in 1865 with Edward Broughton as postmaster.
The first bank chartered in Sioux Falls was Minnehaha National Bank. Edwin A. Sherman was president and G. E. Lathrop was cashier. Starting capital was $50,000.
Drake Polishing Works was located below the Falls near the old NSP building. It was erected in 1883 at a cost of $75,000. Colonel Drake also opened the first stone quarry that same year.
The Electrical Light Company was located on the east side of the Sioux River near Eighth Street. D. L. and C. E. McKinney started the company in 1884 with capital stock of $75,000.
Meredith Hall was the original building of Sioux Falls University. It was named after the first president and built in 1883.

2,164

Figures prior to 1880 are taken from historical sources:

1856 — 5
1857 — 17
1858 — 35
1860 — 40
1873 — 593

The first fairgrounds was located near East 26th Street and the Big Sioux River. Clark G. Coats purchased 540 acres and developed "Coats Fairgrounds" in 1883. It was also the site of the state fair in 1895 and 1898.

In 1910, the first airplane appeared at the racetrack in Coates fairgrounds.

In 1929, a privately owned airport was constructed by 41st Street and Western Avenue by Soo Skyway Inc. It provided private passengers’ service, flight training, and mail service.
The first club, Minnehaha Country Club, was located east of McKennan Park. It was founded in 1905 and remained in business until 1914.

The zoo began in 1963. The Brockhouse family, who had displayed some animals at West Sioux Hardware, developed the collection.

The USS Battleship South Dakota Memorial was erected in 1969. It includes parts of the battleship that were salvaged.
After much fundraising, the YMCA building was built in 1921. The YWCA was constructed to the east of the YMCA facility in 1936.
The Japanese Gardens were laid out in 1928. They were vandalized during World War II but restoration began in 1986 to preserve these beautiful gardens.
The bike/pedestrian trail system was started in 1977. The trail was completed from downtown to Falls Park in the early 1980s.
Under Mayor G. W. Burnside, Spitznagel and Schwarz designed City Hall which opened its doors for business in 1936. The cost of construction was $420,000.

1971—clearance occurred for the location of the new public library and parking area.

The pedestrian mall was introduced in 1973. It was then removed in three phases; 1984, 1986, and 1989.
On March 6, 1934, the gang robbed the bank and took five hostages who were released when their car was disabled. They escaped in another vehicle and were never apprehended.
The fire occurred in 1956. The walls were knocked down to first floor level in 1961 for safety reasons. The flour mill, built in 1879–81, only ran about a dozen years.

Shrivers first moved into the Western Mall in 1979 and later into the New Town Mall. It closed business in 1986.

Made of beautiful quartzite stone, the Fire Station was built in 1912.

Howard Wood Field was first in Nelson Park at Tenth Street and Cliff Avenue. A new field was constructed in 1957 at its current location.
Built in 1884, All Saints School was originally a girls’ school offering programs through high school.

Thanks to R. F. Pettigrew, the Populist party held its convention in Sioux Falls to nominate William Jennings Bryan as a presidential candidate.

E. A. Sherman
In 1910, he donated 52 acres to the City of Sioux Falls for the establishment of a park. Later, he became chairman of the first Park Board.

In 1903, a library was built at Tenth Street and Dakota Avenue with a $30,000 total gift from the Carnegie corporations.

Mayor George W. Burnside
The Sioux Falls Coliseum was constructed in 1917 and an annex was added in 1932.

The Woolworth Store constructed in 1941, between Ninth and Tenth Street on Phillips Avenue, was the first store to have air-conditioning.
The Sioux Falls Traction system was an electric street car system started in 1908. The Electric Street Car Company started the business. It was in service until 1930 when it was replaced by motor buses.
Started in 1922, the first radio station was WFAT. It was owned by the Argus Leader but later sold to Joseph Henkin. The call letters were eventually changed to KSOO.
The Powderhouse blast. A gang from Sioux City, shot two of their members and blew up Larson’s Hardware powderhouse storage to cover up the crime. Over $20,000 worth of glass was broken all over Sioux Falls. Windows were broken as far away as Dell Rapids.

The Milwaukee Railroad’s “Arrow” passenger train left Sioux Falls for the last time in 1965.

The Columbus College was a catholic boys’ school built in 1921. The land and buildings were purchased by the federal government during World War II and became the Sioux Falls Veteran’s Hospital.

In 1934, Drake Springs opened. The Army and Air Force (in cooperation with the Park Department) constructed the second pool in Terrace Park in 1943.

Since state statute established only a six-month period for residency, Sioux Falls was a popular place for divorce. Other states were one year. In 1905, the state changed it to one year.
The Civic Fine Arts Center started in 1961.
A giant slide extending from the bluff to the river bottom below was opened at Sherman Park. It was considered too dangerous and removed one year later.
The end of World War II brought many GI personnel who used government funds for education. The colleges were also able to acquire former buildings from the Radio Training School at minimal cost which allowed them to expand their facilities.
The Pathfinder Nuclear Generating Plant was built adjacent to Brandon Road/East Rice Street. It was used for only one year.
The smallest park in the City is a triangular tract at the juncture of Fourth Street and Highland Avenue known as Winona Park. It was donated by Mr. and Mrs. William H. Lyon in 1928. It contains less than one-fourth acre of ground.

In 1927, the City built a sewage treatment plant for its citizens. River dumping was then prohibited.

Overlooking downtown, the first church was built at the northeast corner of Eighth and Dakota. Now the public library occupies that area.

Thomas Fawick gave the David statue to the citizens in 1971. The dedication of the park where it was erected was held in October of 1973.
The block on Second Avenue between 11th and 12th Street was cleared for the new post office building.
R. F. Pettigrew started the company and was president of the company until service ended in 1899. The horse-drawn cars were stored in a barn at the northeast corner of 11th Street and Dakota Avenue.
Private companies provided electric streetlights in 1884. A gas company provided gas lights from 1886–1906.
Van Brunt building on Phillips Avenue north of Eighth Street.
Albert Hotel on southwest corner of Sixth Street and Phillips Avenue.
Soo Hotel on southwest corner of Sixth Street and Main Avenue.
Illinois Central Railroad Depot on East Eighth Street east of river.
Kuehn Warehouse on northwest corner of Sixth Street and Phillips Avenue.

In 1917, the City purchased from the Phillips sisters a large portion of Covell Lake and adjoining land. Subsequent purchases occurred in 1926, 1927, and 1929 from Larson and Fernyhough.

At the facility’s peak use in 1942, there were 20,000 military and civilian personnel at the municipal airport.

This three-story structure located at Ninth Street and Phillips Avenue was completely destroyed on June 30, 1900.

In August 1900, the City Council passed Ordinance No. 261 to provide full-time fire protection for Sioux Falls.

Businesses in South Sioux Falls included a large packing plant, a woolen mill, a soap factory, a starch factory, a grease factory, and a hotel.
In 1898 an ordinance passed that required portland cement or stone sidewalks. In 1901, officials also approved brick or tile and prohibited the further use of wood.

In 1888, Phillips Avenue from 5th to 12th Street was paved with quartzite blocks.

In 1890, construction started on a wood plank bridge on east 14th Street over the river which accommodated the trolley car, the horse and wagon, and pedestrians.
In 1930 and 1934, the Tenth Street bridge was replaced with the viaduct and named Rushmore Bridge.
All residents hastily gathered up what property they could carry and abandoned their settlement on August 28, 1862. For many of them, their five-year struggle to establish a new life in Sioux Falls had seemingly come to a tragic end.
In 1918, following a Lutheran Church merger, Augustana College was moved from Canton to its current location. The united schools became Augustana College.
Located at Eighth and Reid Streets, the Phillips House Hotel was owned by Hattie Phillips.
In 1884, a private company supplied water to the citizens of Sioux Falls from a stone building on the west side of the Sioux River near Eighth Street. In 1907, the City of Sioux Falls started pumping from City wells provided by the new Water Plant.
An 1895 expansion was completed in 1911 which added a third floor. A WPA annex addition was completed in 1933.

Contact

224 W. Ninth St.
Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Hours of Operation

M-F: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.