Wednesday, September 9, 2009

There are Real Falls in Sioux Falls!

Sioux Falls, SD is the largest city in the state (about 150,000 folks) and is a delightful place. This was first settled due to the waterfalls in the Big Sioux River that stopped folks as they traveled upstream. The falls were a focal point of the city for many years and today, there is a wonderful park that has been established so we can see these falls close up.

The river cuts through a solid bar of red granite which is very beautiful, yet rugged. There were several power plants and other mills that were built in the late 1800's to early 1900's to take advantage of the the water power that was available.

Orinda and Cody stand on the pedestrian bridge over the river which gives a great view. You can just see the ruins of the Queen Bee flour mill in the upper left corner of the picture which is now in ruins, but offer a glimpse of the era of 100 years ago.

Here, you can get an idea as to the volume of water passing over the falls, even during the low water period of late summer. In the spring, this is really dramatic given the high volumes of water that flow over the falls.

On our way back to the SD Fairgrounds, where we were camping, we passed the Battleship South Dakota Monument, which is off of 12th Street. The battleship South Dakota was a famous WWII battleship that had the great distinction to be in the only battleship to battleship naval battle in the war off Guadalcanal (in company with the Battleship Washington). The South Dakota was so successful in fighting, that she was referred to as Battleship X to make the Japanese think there was more that just the South Dakota involved.

When the South Dakota was de-commissioned at the end of the war, the state of South Dakota wanted to memorialize the ship. Unfortunately, the Big Sioux River was WAY too small to bring the huge battlewagon up to Sioux Falls. So, a wonderful memorial was constructed with a lifesize outline of the ship which includes many great photos, gun placements, etc. This is a great place to spend a few hours in reflection on this great ship and the men who sailed her.

This shows the bow of the memorial and gives a great idea as to the size of this great ship. If you get into Sioux Falls, be sure to take the 1 mile drive off of I-29 on 12th Street to see the South Dakota Memorial.

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