Saturday, June 12, 2021

We're Always Up for a Waterfall and Art! - Saturday, June 12, 2021

Our intent was to get up early and start the Big Sioux River Volksmarch as soon as possible. The temperature was already in the mid-70s when we started the walk at 7:30 a.m. Both of us were excited about seeing Sioux Falls.

The walk started along city streets with lots of art and proceeded to Falls Park. Here is the part of downtown Sioux Falls we saw on our way to the park along Phillips Avenue.

We couldn't walk on this part of the 
Greenway because it was under construction.

The Arc of Dreams across the 
Big Sioux River.

The old Orpheum Theater.

Close-up of the Orpheum facade.

Downtown Sioux Falls, SD.

Courthouse and Warehouse
Historic District.

"Dialogue," by Serge Mozhnevsky of
British Columbia, Canada --
part of downtown's SculptureWalk.

Sioux Falls SculptureWalk has new sculptures placed annually on May 1. So if you go next year after May 1, you will see entirely different sculptures!

The Sioux Steel Company, 
family owned since 1918.

This way to Falls Park. 

R. F. Pettigrew, Sioux Falls 
Early history of R.F. Pettigrew, 
the other side has more history.

A beautiful bas relief on an 
entrance pillar to Falls Park.

Levitt at the Falls.

Interactive sculpture--you can play music.

Sculpture of a conductor directing
those of us who want to play music.

Old Courthouse Museum.

We continued walking on Phillips Avenue to Falls Park. Our walk instructions said to go to the top of the tower, see the view of the park and falls, and then leave the park. 

Not so fast, we said, we came here to see the falls and the park! So, we added 2k to our walk and explored most of the trails here, read historical markers, and looked at ruins along the way. We spent a good hour to 1-1/2 hours exploring Falls Park. 

The Falls of the Big Sioux River.

The tower was constructed, in part, with native Sioux quartzite stone, the same stone that forms the falls.

The park observation tower.

"Monarch of the Plains," by sculptor
Darold Bailey (1999). It is made of 
South Dakota mahogany granite.

Here's where we took off following paths
throughout the park.

This whole falls area has been developed and mined throughout the years. What started out as a natural river with a recreational island, became developed into a millrace to provide electricity, along with providing power for industry. Rocks were quarried from the cliffs to construct buildings in the city. The whole face of the natural falls disappeared.

The former Sioux Falls Light & Power
Hydroelectric Plant.

The building above is the former Sioux Falls Light & Power Plant. More recently, it was called the Northern States Power (NSP) building. The plant began generating power for Sioux Falls in 1908. In addition to providing electricity for street lights, the hydroelectric plant generated power for the city's streetcars.

Water for the plant was stored in the old Queen Bee Mill pond. The level of the water in the pond was raised by building a longer, taller dam. This provided the "head" or pressure necessary to run the hydroelectric plant's turbines.

Demand for electricity outgrew the hydroelectric plant's ability to generate enough power using water. Five years after it was built, the plant was enlarged and a new source of energy--coal-fired steam generators--became the main source of electricity. The water-powered generators were maintained as a back-up power source until the late 1940s.

Even though these falls were forever
changed by early industry, they're
still incredibly impressive.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

We also learned about the earliest "Euramerican" who recorded his visit to the falls in 1832: Philander Prescott.

Queen Bee Turbine House.

Back to the Queen Bee moniker: Sioux Falls' nickname was The Queen City. The Queen Bee Mill stood at the most powerful point of the Falls and was a center of activity in the 1880s. The Mill was unusually large and its equipment was the most advanced available. 

Completed in 1881, the Mill included a seven-story (!) building which housed the milling machinery, a 100,000 bushel grain elevator, a warehouse that could hold 10,000 barrels, a turbine house, a gate house, and a cooper shop (where barrels were made). It was equipped to produce 1,200 barrels of flour a day, which was about four times the amount made by a typical Midwest flour mill. Because of either too little water or too little wheat, the mill never made the amount of flour expected. It closed after two years of operation.

The building burned in 1956, leaving only a charred shell. The top five floors were later removed. The first two stories stand as a reminder of the ambitious vision of Sioux Falls' early business leaders.

Remains of the Queen Bee Mill.

Remains of the Queen Bee Mill.

We then walked up to the overlook at the other end of the park from the tower. Lots more history markers were on display there. Most of them deal with the city's Sioux quartzite and early recreation on Seney Island. 

View from Falls Park overlook.

Info on quartzite quarries.

Info on Seney Island from the early days
of Sioux Falls before industry took over.

A zoomed in view looking back toward
the tower and the Turbine House.

After all of our "extracurricular" walking over and above the walk directions, we finally headed back to the Tower. 

"American Farmer," by 
artist Sondra Johnson (part of the 
SculptureWalk). This was Best in 
Show in 2004.

The view of Falls Park from the 
top of the tower.

Looking out from the other side of the
tower, we could see the Farmer's Market.

I finished up in Falls Park by buying postcards in the Tower's Gift Shop. We then resumed our walk instructions.

As we were walking back into town from Falls Park, a huge group of walkers was coming toward us. Wow. We didn't know there was a big, organized walking event in town today! Hmm. The Volksmarch group should have been involved in that! There must have been about 200 walkers out. [NOTE: I looked it up. It was the Sioux Falls Kidney Walk and it raised $45,172.42 for the National Kidney Foundation! Where were the Volksmarchers??? I saw lots of people in "Step Forward" shirts and it looks like they had THEIR event scheduled for the next weekend. Missed opportunities for Volksmarchers!]

This part of the walk took us back the other way on Phillips Avenue from 5th to 18th Street. We walked through more of downtown Sioux Falls and saw lots more sculptures and artwork.

The impressive Old Courthouse

Art panels.

Baseball sculpture. I was 
across the street, so I 
didn't see the artist's plaque.

Security National Bank building.

Downtown Sioux Falls cityscape.

"Psychedelic Ruin," by Neil J. 
Wiffill/Shelby Nower of 
Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

Here is a note from Neil Wiffill & Shelby Nower, the artists of "Psychedelic Ruin."
Neil built this piece as a stylized take on the classic female figure, shaping the form in a way that brings to mind the Greek and Roman ruins. To give the work new life, Shelby brought her ultra-colorful style into the mix putting a bright pop of color onto a classic figure."
Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science, 
formerly Sioux Falls High School (1906).

The Paladine Hohm Sculpture
Garden at the Washington Pavilion.

The Paladine Hohm Sculpture
Garden at the Washington Pavilion.

"Garden Gate," by Bob Natz.

The Paladine Hohm Sculpture
Garden at the Washington Pavilion.

The Paladine Hohm Sculpture
Garden at the Washington Pavilion.

The Paladine Hohm Sculpture
Garden at the Washington Pavilion.

The Paladine Hohm Sculpture
Garden at the Washington Pavilion.

You might be able to tell that I love art!

This is also part of the 
Washington Pavilion.

Now for more of the Sioux Falls buildings, architecture, and parks. Our walk continues into more of downtown and neighborhoods.

Little Free Library.

Wow! What style is this?
Some type of Tudor?

"The Potato Man" at McKennan

This is a rather unique Lady
Liberty. Read the historical
markers below to find out why.

lso in McKennan Park are the "Pillars of the Nation." There are four pillars that display the gems and rocks of each state. It's fun to look at them all.

One of the four "Pillars
of the Nation."

Close-up of one of the pillars. These
might be Arizona or New Mexico gems.

Bob and the four pillars.

We're amazed by all the different things we're seeing on this walk. It's so interesting to have local clubs make up these walks! Thank you to the Prairie Wanderers Volkssport Club for showing us the highlights of the city. 

Next, we headed back to downtown Sioux Falls. As the day wore on, the city  came alive. It's lunch time and the streets are alive with people. This is no dead, frumpy downtown. Bob and I love that it's so vibrant. The restaurant business was booming. People were walking around with shopping bags in hand. 
The Government Building. There was a
political fight early on about where
to locate this building.

"Triangulations," by 
Pati Stajcar of Golden, Colorado.
This bronze sells for $72,000.

"Mr. Bo Jangles," by
Chris Petrocci Hershberger of 
Windom, Kansas. This bronze
sells for $19,000.

"The Cabbage King," by
Larry "Doc" Wiedman. 
Walnut log sells for $7,000.

"Maximus Moose," by Travis Sorenson 
of Belle Fourche, South Dakota.
Recycled stainless steel and 
recycled copper. It sells for $37,500.

"Maximus Moose" is made of recycled stainless steel from a security gate and recycled copper from an old copper pipe."

Temperatures for this afternoon!

"Sundays with Jessie," People's Choice

I have no info on this bald eagle 
sculpture in downtown Sioux Falls.

Another fascinating place was Fawick Park. Who knew that the first four-door car was invented in Sioux Falls, South Dakota? And that there's a replica of Michelangelo's "David" in this park. The hits just keep on coming. 

A unique sundial.

Thomas Fawick was quite
the inventor.

A replica of Michelangelo's 

Fawick Park.

There's a whole wall of mosaic art 
along the Big Sioux River. 

Pedestrian bridge across the Big Sioux
River by Fawick Park.

When we finished our walk, we headed back to the 5th wheel and the Grand Falls Casino in Larchwood, Iowa, where we camped for two nights. 

Grand Falls Casino in Larchwood, Iowa.
To register for the RV park, you have 
to park away from the door, out by the
edge of the parking lot. 

Our site at the casino RV park.

The casino RV park is just a big
parking lot with hookups.

There was a sign on the road to the campground mentioning a "Tri-State Marker" in two miles. We drove up the road to see what that was all about. We almost drove right past it, but there was a family with two boys parked in a very small parking area. They were outside checking out a marker. We turned around and parked next to their van. Here's the marker.

Tri-State Marker between
Iowa, South Dakota, and

The true spot where the three states meet is in the middle of the road. Cars kept hitting the marker in the road, so they moved it to the side for safety. LOL. 

We were hungry by now, of course, so we went to the 5th wheel to have lunch. We showered to freshen up and then went out to explore more. Bob wanted to show me Arrowhead Park, just a few miles down the road from the casino. It looks like it was a rock quarry at one time. Now, it's a place for hiking and wildlife. It was way too hot to hike, so we just got out of the car and looked around.

Bob by the lake formed in an old 
rock quarry.

There were ducks, lots of minnows, 
and probably big fish we couldn't see.

These medium-sized ducklings posed
for me. Mama was very close by!

I have no idea what kind of animal 
this is. It's not a prairie dog.

From Arrowhead Park, we went back into Sioux Falls because I wanted to see the Cathedral of St. Joseph. Bob sat in the truck while I went inside and looked around. Wow!

Cathedral of St. Joseph (side view).

So gorgeous!

And then to cap off our day, the casino was celebrating their 10th anniversary and were serving enough lemon sponge cake for everyone. So we had that. 

At 9:30 p.m., they had a great fireworks show. We watched it from the hot tub. Pretty awesome end to the day. My video of the fireworks grand finale was too large a file for me to post. I can tell you, they did a bang-up job with the fireworks show. 

We sat in the hot tub
to watch the fireworks.

And so ended our day of exploration in and around Sioux Falls. I'd say it was quite successful! Tomorrow, we will be traveling to Fargo, North Dakota, but staying across the border in Moorhead, Minnesota.

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