Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Sioux Falls Courthouse Museum

 Sioux Falls is the largest city in South Dakota, but was not settled until 1856. This stone tower was erected in 1949 to commemorate the pioneers who settled the area. The memorial is located on a hill near the Falls of the Big Sioux River.

Downtown is the original Courthouse of Sioux Falls, now serving as a great museum. We have been to the museum before, but learned that they change the displays frequently, so we decided to take a look -- and glad we did!

 When first entering, it seems appropriate to see this buffalo standing in greeting (he is stuffed, fortunately). The displays all around it show the many uses of the buffalo and its parts by native tribes and pioneers.

 Most folks may not realize that Sioux Falls is the spot where the modern hot air balloon was invented back in the early 1960's. Since then, the industry has expanded and there is a vibrate ballooning group in Sioux Falls which is reflected in some great exhibits here at the museum.

Here, Rick is trying out a balloon basket for size. He had a chance to fly in a hot air balloon a few years ago and loved it. 

 There are a number of great exhibits on the early balloons including this pre-cursor to the balloon basket -- a simple aluminum chair. Imagine sitting in this light chair while you cruised a couple thousand feet in the air -- wow!

 This is what the early balloon system looked like -- the small chair and a couple of propane tanks to fuel the balloon. Pretty basic!

 Another major display focused on the American Flag which provided some remarkable insights on the flag and its history.

 Since we are from South Dakota, Rick thought this flag was pretty interesting. This 43 star flag was created when five states, including South Dakota, were admitted to the union.

 We learned that there were many different arrangements for the stars included in the flag, including this "Great Star" flag design flown after California was added tot he Union.

 Of course, this great shot of Buzz Aldrin taken by Neil Armstrong shows the flag on the moon when they landed in 1969. We remember this clearly -- and it sure seems a long time ago now!

 South Dakota also experiences some wild weather, including tornadoes.  On July 9, 1932 a strong twister hit Sioux Falls, destroyed a steel bridge and drove a beam right through this tree.

 Want proof of this tornado hit? How about this -- the real tree and beam from the picture above. Wow -- this must have been some heavy wind to do this.

 A display that Rick got a kick out of dealt with bicycling. Back in the later 1800's, cycling became popular, but not everyone was pleased. Indeed, medical professionals advertised against cycling since it caused injuries caused by crashes, various "nerve" problems, as well as vague biking maladies. The answer? See your doctor, of course!

 Finally, Rick loved this vintage Schwinn cruiser. Now that is a bike! This is a great museum and is sure worth the visit.

1 comment:

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Good tour, that is a scary example of the power of mother nature!