I started my day in Sioux Falls, South Dakota by having biscuits and gravy for breakfast. It seemed hearty meals were called for in this part of the country.
My first stop was the Cathedral of St. Joseph. Its story began when Catholic missionary priests journeyed into what would become the Dakota Territory. The first of these was Father Pierre Jean De Smet, who began ministering in the region in 1838.
After numerous moves and changes, construction of the new Cathedral got underway by 1915. World War I hindered progress by creating a shortage of skilled workers and materials. The cathedral was finally completed and dedicated on May 7, 1919. The first Mass had already been celebrated in the unfinished cathedral on December 8, 1918.
There was a 9:00 Saturday mass in progress, so I slipped into the back and waited till the church had almost cleared out, then I took some photos.
I had a brief walk in the St. Joseph’s Cathedral Historic District. In 1974, this neighborhood became the first historic district in South Dakota to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This old Sioux Falls neighborhood contains approximately 220 structures. Of these, 46 percent were built before 1900, and 85 percent were completed by 1920.
At a fenced yard a dog was barking viciously and flung himself at the high fence, his head popping up at the top. One board was missing from the fence; I was afraid he’d get out through there, so I hightailed it out of there.
I arrived at Falls Park Visitor Information before they opened at 10:00. I went up to the five-story, 50-foot tall observation tower, then walked all around the 123-acre Falls Park. It was incredibly gloomy, but at least it wasn’t raining – yet.
The Big Sioux River has been flowing in its present course here for over 10,000 years. Native Americans were the first to visit the falls and bring stories of them to European explorers. The Falls have been a highlight of recreation and industry since the city was founded in 1856. Many Sioux Falls historic buildings were made from the Sioux Quartzite including several buildings at Falls Park. The “pink rock” is the hardest rock second to diamond. The Sioux Quartzite is among the oldest rock exposed in South Dakota. It is very resistant to erosion.
Each second, an average of 7,400 gallons of water drop 100 feet over the course of the falls.
A man was saying rude things to people walking by, and it was disconcerting. He was causing a disturbance. Later, three police (two men & one woman) came and led him away, holding him on either side by his arms.
Another guy was using a remote control pick up truck on the rose quartzite.
I walked around the remains of the seven-story Queen Bee Mill, built between 1879 and 1881 under the guidance of politician Richard F. Pettigrew. It cost $500,000 and it processed 1,500 bushels of grain each day. By 1883, the mill closed due to inadequate water power and a short supply of wheat. In 1956, fire destroyed the wooden roof and interior floors. The upper walls were later knocked down to prevent them from falling.
After leaving the Falls, I passed the Silver Moon Bar & Lounge on my way into downtown Sioux Falls, where I walked down Phillips Avenue for the SculptureWalk Sioux Falls, the largest annual exhibit of public sculptures in the world. The art is displayed all year throughout downtown Sioux Falls.
I popped into Zandbroz Variety, which sells soaps, books, pens, fine papers, cards, baskets, jewelry, gourmet foods, and many quirky things displayed charmingly in antique cupboards and vintage cabinetry from drug-store days. It was very colorful. The back area was once a soda fountain and coffee bar but at that time offered used books and vintage items for sale.
It was starting to rain by this time, so I went to the Old Courthouse Museum. The restored 1800s quartzite building featured three floors of regional history exhibits and sixteen historic murals.
Let’s Ride: Vintage Motorcycles took a look at the history of motorcycles while featuring a variety of bikes from numerous manufacturers. By the 1910s, the motorcycle boom reached Sioux Falls.
World War I: The Great War was considered a war to end all wars. The Great War created many advances in technology, the medical field, and shaped military strategies. Local communities such as Sioux Falls became vital arteries in helping with the war effort. World War I became an unprecedented catastrophe that affected an immeasurable amount of people and shaped the modern world.
The Tornado Tree showed the powerful effect of tornadoes. When a tornado went through the southern part of town, it destroyed the bridge that went over the river near 41st Street and the Mall.
The Fawick Flyer was a two-door model car built by local inventor Thomas Fawick.
The Norwegian Style Loom is a four harness, counter-balanced, direct tie-up loom. It was hand-built by Anders Sorken and Rasmus Elgaaen. The loom was donated to the Siouxland Heritage Museum’s collection in 1988.
Tonics and Tools of Medicine examined early Sioux Falls medicine and the instruments that helped keep its citizens healthy. The people of 19th century Sioux Falls relied on doctors, drugstores, and some home remedies to get better, but without twenty-first century technology, early medical professionals relied on basic tools and different practices to treat their patients.
Theaters: Stage to Screen showcased the many theaters that once were in Sioux Falls. Many of them were built or remodeled for both stage and screen. Hollywood’s “Golden Era” in movies exploded, and America was mesmerized by film. These theaters flourished.
I especially loved the motorcycle exhibit and the Toys exhibit: it exhibited toys from the 1800s to the 1990s: Ouija Board (called Mystic Soothsayer), Barbies, Lincoln Logs, GI Joes, erector sets, matchbox racetracks, checkers, Clue, Lotto, Felt-o-gram, toy musical instruments, Tinker Toys, pull toys, wooden finger puppers, a pinball machine, Spirograph, Basic Microscope, Junior Doctor Kit, Chinese Checkers, Battleship, PacMan, Raggedy Ann and Andy, Pound Puppies, Mr. Potato Head, Pet Rocks, and Chatty Cathy. 🙂 There were so many toys I recognized from my childhood.
The artist who did the murals was Ole Runing, born in Norway in 1874; he immigrated to the U.S. in 1906. He spent two years on the sixteen murals and was only paid five hundred dollars. The murals depict the falls of the Big Sioux River in Sioux Falls and the Palisades rock formation near Garretson, South Dakota. Late in the project, he was aided by his son Elmer.
This was a truly fascinating museum.
Information from the Courthouse Museum is taken from a pamphlet distributed by the Old Courthouse Museum.
I headed to the Japanese Gardens at Terrace Park, but it was raining and I was hungry, so I went to Burger King for a Whopper Junior with cheese, fries, and a Diet Coke.
I drove east 30 minutes to Palisades State Park, passing Tucker’s Walk Vineyard. By then it was really raining, so I just went to the Balancing Rock Overlook then walked on the very short King and Queen Rock Trail.
The Split Rock Creek, which flows through Palisades State Park, is lined with Sioux quartzite formations varying from shelves several feet above the water to 50-foot vertical cliffs. Geologists estimate the Sioux quartzite spires in the park are 1.2 billion years old.
I drove over the 1908 Palisades Bridge. The steel bridge rests on natural abutments of Sioux quartzite.
On the way back from Palisades, I listened to “Big Foot” by Johnny Cash about Wounded Knee. I seem to vaguely remember a book or movie titled Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, that was required reading in high school or college. I felt I should read it again.
As I drove back, I worried that the Corn Palace wouldn’t be open the next day because it was a Sunday. I passed Augustana University: The Place for Possibilities. A sign said WRANGLE UP SOME RINGNECKS (whatever that meant!).
Then I decided I’d try to go back to Sioux Falls to the Washington Pavilion. However, they had all the roads around it blocked off for a big fair: The Sidewalk Arts Festival. I got tired of driving around looking for parking, so I drove out of the town and stopped at the Terrace Park and Japanese Gardens. The area known as Terrace Park is located on a bluff overlooking an ancient part of the Big Sioux River’s System of oxbows and overflow flood plain. This bluff is part of a series of bluffs that form the east side of the Big Sioux River valley.
It was pleasant enough but I wasn’t feeling good so decided to return to my hotel to rest.
I had stomach cramps for much of the afternoon, so I wasn’t yet hungry. I returned to my hotel to rest before dinner.
Later, I went to the colorful Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant, where I had my favorite chili relleno, a tamale, refried beans, rice and a Corona.
Back at the hotel, I talked to Mike, as I did every night of my trip.
Here are my journal pages from this day.
*Drove 73.5 miles; Steps: 12,449, or 5.28 miles*
*Saturday, September 7, 2019*
Wow what an amazing place love the photos and sounds like a great day
There was so much to do there! I enjoyed it. 🙂
More great writing and photos… Do you have any time to sleep these days? – You must be blogging and reading blogs 24/7 (and that is not a complaint:-)
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Thanks, Albert. I always get my sleep, but I am doing a lot right now, as I’m trying to get caught up on all my posts before December 16, when my WordPress subscription expires. Plus I’m doubling up because of some traveling I’m planning to do. As for reading blogs, I don’t have as much time for it as I’d like. 🙂
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Won’t you be renewing your subscription? I hope your content will not be disappearing? I just have the free WordPress account at present but recently I have been increasing the number of pictures in my posts so may have to consider a paid account at some time in the future to get more space.
No, Albert, the content doesn’t disappear when you don’t renew, but you can’t add any more media. I’ve had a number of blogs on which I’ve discontinued the subscription, and they are still out there. I use a LOT of pictures in my posts, so I pay for the business account, and it costs a pretty penny. I just want a break from blogging for a year or more, and since I feel compelled to blog while I’m paying, I don’t plan to renew.
Glad to hear it doesn’t disappear.. that would be a travesty. I think everyone needs a break now and then otherwise it could become an unejoyable chore in which case, why bother? For sure it is the pictures that chew up space but these days many people prefer pictures to words!
That would be a bummer, for sure, Albert. You’re right, people often don’t read my blog, although I spend a lot of time writing. They mostly just look at the pictures. It’s not worth all my time and energy. 🙂
I enjoyed that city and the falls park.
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We enjoyed it in 2017 [https://is.gd/1tDm8P].
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I’m glad you liked it too, Theresa. I did too, except for the gloom and the rain. 🙂
Great post, Cathy! And now I know what all we missed when we were there in 2017 on our “Solar Eclipse Road Trip” [https://is.gd/1tDm8P]. 😉 But we thoroughly enjoyed our stay there, too – especially the Falls – of course – but also all the sculptures.
I remember your road trip well, Pit. As a matter of fact, your trip was part of my inspiration. You are mentioned here: https://wanderessence.com/2019/08/22/call-to-place-the-road-trip-to-nowhere/
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I’m glad I could inspire you! 🙂
Usual great post and images, Cathy and you obviously got a lot out of the trip. Sometime, maybe you could explain to me what biscuits and gravy are. I know biscuits aren’t cookies, but what are they exactly, and what sort of gravy is served with them?
Thanks so much, Mari. I really loved this entire Road Trip to Nowhere, and I especially liked Sioux Falls. There was so much I learned that was interesting. Biscuits and gravy is a common U.S. breakfast. Here’s a recipe for one: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/216391/easy-sausage-gravy-and-biscuits/
The biscuits are definitely not cookies, but savory warm bread baked in round shapes. The gravy is usually sausage gravy. It’s very common, especially in the midwest and south. I love it every chance I get, but probably can’t eat it any more because of my chronic reflux issues. 😦
Love those falls and all that thundering water, Cathy! Shame about the weather because Pallisades Park looks lovely too. 🙂 🙂 Is Sioux pronounced Sue? I always wondered. That Johnny Cash song 🙂
Will you start a new blog when this expires then? You are good! I ended up paying and I looked at creating a fresh blog but couldn’t find the time or energy. 🙂
It really was a shame about the rain that day, Jo, because it was a cool town and the Palisades Park was beautiful too. Yes, Sioux is pronounced “Sue.” You’re right!
I don’t plan to start a new blog, I just wanted to take a year (or more) off from blogging, and when I pay for the blog, I feel compelled to get my money’s worth. Hopefully, if I decide to come back to blogging after a year, I can just pay for it and keep on going. I’ve been blogging now for 10 years, and it’s time to do something else for a while, or maybe forever! 🙂
I’ll miss you, hon. You’ve posted some wonderful stuff down the years. Any idea what direction next?
I’ve run mine for 9 years next month and just signed up for another year, but the enthusiasm isn’t really there. I’m just too lazy to do anything else. I’ve told myself this is the last but I think I said it last year too. At least you’ve reinvented yourself a time or two 🤗💕💕
Thanks, Jo. I don’t know what I’ll do next. I’d like to work on my novel, which always gets put on the back burner when I’ve got the blog schedule. I’ll be happy to be free of the blog for a while. Or maybe just lie around and read, or relax more, or something, anything different. 🙂
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