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SIOUX CITY | The obelisk on a Missouri River bluff is one of Sioux City's most distinctive sights, and holds major historical import, too.

In 1960, Mayor George W. Young received a certificate recognizing Sioux City's Floyd Monument as a National Historic Site. The monument was the first landmark in the nation to receive that designation.

The monument that is more than 100 years old is a destination for tourists interested in history, local school field trips and people looking for a good place to watch fireworks.

Sgt. Charles Floyd, a 22-year-old Kentuckian, was the sole Lewis and Clark Expedition member to die during the 1804-06 trek that explored to see what was in the Great Plains and Pacific Northwest area bought by President Thomas Jefferson in the Louisiana Purchase. That trek led to the opening of the West, and following migration led to the creation of new states.

On Aug. 19, 1804, Floyd and other members of the expedition took part in dances with local Indians who visited their camp. He became ill that night. His condition worsened the next day as the expedition moved up the river.

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark ordered the boat to be pulled to a low bank on the shore, where he died with "a great deal of composure," according to Clark’s journal.

Clark wrote: “We buried him on the top of the bluff, one-half mile below a small river, to which we gave his name. We buried him with the honors of war — much lamented. A cedar post was fixed at the head of his grave: Sgt. C. Floyd died here, 20th of August, 1804.”

Historians believe he died of a ruptured appendix.

Following Floyd's initial burial by the Corps of Discovery, he was buried three more times, until the 100-foot-high Egyptian obelisk was erected at the bluff site in 1901.

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County and education reporter

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