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The Bruguier Cabin is believed to be the oldest building in Sioux City. French fur trader Theophile Bruguier, who is considered the first white settler here, built the one-story structure on his farm in 1849.
Bruguier was born in Canada but left his homeland to work as a trader for the American Fur Company in St. Louis. He constantly traveled up and down the Missouri River to Fort Pierre, S.D., where he met the Yankton Sioux Indians and formed a friendship with Chief War Eagle.
Bruguier married two of the tribal leader’s daughters and settled in Sioux City.
He died in 1896. He was buried in the Catholic Parish Cemetery near Salix, Iowa. However, 30 years later, his body was re-interred on a bluff overlooking the confluence of the Missouri River with the Big Sioux, near the graves of War Eagle and his first two wives.
The log cabin was discovered in 1934 by workmen reclaiming wood from old homes. A crew from the Civilian Conservation Corps dismantled the cabin, log by log, and it was painstakingly moved to its present location in Riverside Park, 1301 Riverside Blvd.
Work was finally completed in 1936, and the cabin was set aside for use by the Girls of ’68 Junior Pioneers through a Sioux City Council resolution.
Today, the Bruguier Cabin continues to serve as the clubhouse for the Girls of ’68. The main mission of the civic group is to maintain the hand-hewn log cabin that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Members give tours of the landmark to all kinds of groups, including fourth-grade students learning about Sioux City’s history.
A replica of the cabin is among the permanent exhibits at the Sioux City Public Museum.