Falls Park – Sioux Falls Namesake

Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

In late September, a family wedding brought us to a small town in South Dakota for the celebration. We arrived a day early and had some time to explore. Just a short drive from the wedding site, the largest city in South Dakota invited us to spend a morning. The city of around 175,000 population has a history with me. Many years ago, while attending college in a nearby Minnesota town, Sioux Falls became a destination for weekend activities.

Sioux Falls gets its name from a series of waterfalls along the Big Sioux River that winds its way through town. Just a short walk from downtown,  the river level drops about 100 feet (30 m). Since the city’s founding in 1856, the falls have been an attraction for both commerce and recreation. Now a park, the city set aside 123 acres for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike.

The first signs of commerce along the river, erected in 1878, the Queen Bee Mill, opened to process wheat. The seven-story structure built to cut shipping costs for area farmers turned out to be a financial disaster and closed after only two years of operations. Eventually destroyed by fire, the stone upper stories were removed to prevent their collapse. The image above includes a view of the remains of the mill and the supporting outbuilding just left of the biggest drop in the falls.

Further down river, a company brought electricity to the city by using the remains of the dam and millrace constructed to support the abandoned mill. To improve the power plant performance, the dam height was raised and the city used power generated by the Big Sioux River until 1974 when the plant was abandoned for power generating purposes. Today the building houses the Falls Overlook Cafe. As it was a cool morning, we were hoping to stop in for a fresh, warm cup of coffee. Our timing was bad, however, as a sign pointed out that they were closed that morning, the reason for which, I don’t recall. The restaurant is closed during the winter months.The visitor center at the park features an observation tower that provides an impressive view of the park and the surrounding city. Other attractions at the park include a historic horse barn, now housing the Stockyards Ag Experience, a museum of regional agriculture. There are many sculptures throughout the park, some of which are documented in the gallery of images I’ve shared below. Also, a large open air shelter provides a Farmers’ Market and space for picnics and other events.

From the top of the observation tower, a bird’s eye view of the park and downtown Sioux Falls are not to be missed. While on the tower, I noticed the double spires of a church. Using my long telephoto lens, I got a nice photo of the church we were to find out from the staff at the Information Center is St. Joseph’s Cathedral, the Catholic parish and seat of the Diocese of Sioux Falls. Next week, our Travel Tuesday post features a visit to this inspiring edifice.

Though we didn’t get the opportunity to stop at night, I could see by the many light posts that the park is well lit at night and would make for an enjoyable summer’s evening visit. During the holiday season, between November and early January, the park becomes a major winter attraction they’ve called “Winter Wonderland.” The gallery of images below feature views of the park. On most browsers, you can click on an image to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery.

John Steiner





Cellpic Sunday – 14 January 2018

San Antonio, Texas.

Followers on my Facebook page know that I feature a daily photo that fits a theme that changes weekly. This week’s theme is “#Framed” and features a daily image that has a frame within the photo where the subject of the image is viewed through that frame. Stepping out of my hotel for a short walk, I passed a mall and I noticed that someone had framed himself perfectly inside the window while he chatted on the phone. Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge – Weathered

The Great Southwest, USA.

This week, Krista Stevens asks us to show the effect of time and the elements. I have some images of old farm equipment and other associated gear that has the patina of old age, maybe measured at no more than a century in time. I even have images of buildings of a certain era that would certainly qualify as meeting the challenge. You can read the entire challenge post hereContinue reading

Fargo Air Museum – Where the Exhibits Take Flight

Fargo, North Dakota.

The Fargo Air Museum is a bit different from most of the air museums I’ve had a chance to visit. Unlike most museums, many of the airplanes on display here might find themselves in the air occasionally. Most of the aircraft are flyable. It might be a fully restored P-51 Mustang or a late model Cessna. Of course, not every aircraft on display is flyable. Some that were flyable had their “wings clipped” (made unflyable) by their previous owner and the donation made to the museum on the condition that the aircraft be used for display purposes only.  Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 7 January 2018

Horace, North Dakota.

On Christmas Day, we were visiting with family and friends at their home in Horace. As sunset approached, I saw that the sun was casting a golden glow on the snow. It was about 8 below zero F. (-22 C.) at 4 PM, about the time when this photo was captured. Though cold, at least the wind was light. The bonus was that I didn’t have to go outside to capture the image. Their view of the sunset from the living room is as good as it gets. Continue reading

San Antonio River Walk – The American Venice

San Antonio, Texas.

The San Antonio River, named in 1691, and the city of San Antonio have been intertwined for centuries. The first bridge across the river at San Antonio connected the Presidio, a Spanish fort built in 1716, to the Mission San Antonio in 1736. Over the centuries, the population growth of the city created flooding issues on a regular basis. By the 1920s, flood control was a major concern and in 1926, a bypass channel was created. You can read more about the River Walk’s early history from a timeline published here. Continue reading