Sunday, September 5, 2010
Downtown Sioux Falls -- Full of Surprises
Sioux Falls, SD, was still the frontier in 1856 when it was established. The hardy folks at the settlement were raided by the powerful Sioux tribe in 1858 and as you might expect, there was differing opinons regarding the question -- should we stay and fight or get out of here! The upshot of the discussion was the construction of Fort Sod -- literally a fort about 80' square made out of sod (since there were very few trees or lumber available). This was the start of the city we now know as Sioux Falls.
Amazingly, just about 75 years after the Sioux battles, Sioux Falls was one of the first cities with a radio station in the USA. In fact, WFAT was one of the 30 stations nationally that broadcast a version of the 1922 World Series!
Sioux Falls was the site of another interesting historical fact courtesy of the infamous John Dillinger when his gang robbed the Security National Bank on this site in 1934. Apparently, they burst into the bank with Thompson machine guns. robbed the bank of $49,000 dollars (a LOT in 1934) and made their get-away. They had gang members in the street shooting machine guns to keep police and the public at bay. WOW!
Today, things are much calmer in Sioux Falls. Indeed, Phillips Avenue in downtown has been transformed into a beautiful mall-like street full of interesting shops and places to explore.
There are many beautiful pieces of sculpture that make up the "sculpture walk" along the street. We certainly enjoyed strolling along looking at the shops and sculptures on the sidewalks.
Here, you can get an idea of the area and of the sculpture. There are many places to sit and spots to eat as you watch the folks walk by. Makes for a great spectator sport!There is even a low-cost trolly that runs through the downtown area and connects the mall area with the Sioux River Falls park. There is a great way to explore the city and the surrounding area.
Finally, I was very impressed with this interesting cloud formation. We didn't have any rain or bad weather, but these clouds seemed very low and somewhat threatening. A couple hours later, it was clear and beautiful. A typical day on the northern plains.