Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Falls at Sioux Falls -- the Heart of the Old City

We enjoy visiting the Sioux Falls "falls" park which is located near the downtown area. It comes as a surprise to many folks that there really are waterfalls at Sioux Falls, SD, but there are and it is well worth the trip as you can see here.

Sioux Falls has not been around that long, since this was part of the west that was settled in the later 1800's. The Falls was a very attractive feature of the new city as they provided a ready source of power from the falling water. As a result, a large flour mill was constructed to take power from the falls and grind grain into flour. The Queen Bee mill, pictured above, was built with the idea of great profits being generated for its owners, but there was neither enough water (or too much during floods) or enough grain for the mill to be successful. The 7 story mill was sold several times to optimistic owners, but never was successful.

Orinda is standing near the water intake supports for the old turbine feed pipe to the mill, which was several feet in diameter. While the pipe is long gone, the supports are still in place.

This is the old turbine house that served the mill and can bee seen in the original picture above. It is easy to see the large hole where the water feed pipe entered. Pretty cool to see the house that is over 130 years old.

This is all that is left of the Queen Bee mill after a fire in the 1950's destroyed it. This foundation was built of the rose colored stone that makes up the falls area. Imagine cutting these stones and building the mill in the 1880's, before the advent of any power tools, this was a true "labor" project!

The site of the original mill was to the upper left of Orinda. You can see how much the water drops which gives the site its water power potential. While the water no longer is used to generate power, it still provides a great site to enjoy the falls and reflect on how Sioux Falls developed in the early days.


Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Great tour with pictures. Now I wish we had made tome to visit on our way through last time in the area. Thanks!

squawmama said...

Great photos... we were there a few years ago and really enjoyed the area. Go to the Lewis & Clark Interpative Center... Well worth the visit and go to the programs they have. We really enjoyed them!
Have fun & Travel safe

squawmama said...

Sorry that was GREAT Falls... LOL LOL Have fun!