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SIOUX CITY | Nestled between Third Street and the Missouri River was a small community known by its former inhabitants as the South Bottoms.
The Sioux City neighborhood has long since been destroyed as a result of the 1957 construction of Interstate 29 and the channelization of the Floyd River in 1962. Hundreds of families were forced to relocate elsewhere.
The South Bottoms was home to mostly poor, working-class families. Workers started moving to the South Bottoms area in the 1880s when the Sioux City Stockyards expanded to include packing houses and railroads.
The neighborhood was a melting pot of nationalities with a majority of the population consisting of European immigrants from Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Scandanavia. Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans also inhabited the area.
The South Bottoms was also the home of seven grocery stores, Hobson grade school, churches, Mary J. Treglia Community House, an ice house and the Wall Street Mission.
In 1997, the South Bottoms Memorial was created in honor of the people who lived in the South Bottoms. The plaque rests on boulders that were salvaged from the old Combination Bridge. The monument reads: "Dedicated in memory of the neighborhood known as South Bottoms where people of all races and religions lived in peace and harmony."
What's more remarkable is that almost six decades after the neighborhood's destruction, the South Bottoms kids still keep in touch with each other and even plan a large reunion once a year.
The "kids," well into their late 70s, 80s and even 90s, celebrated the reunion's 34th year this June. The first reunion was held in 1981 at the Marina Inn in South Sioux City. The organizers of the event sent out nearly 1,000 invitations and about 671 people attended the South Bottoms reunion. Over the years, the number of attendees have dwindled down to about 30 or 40 people.
A committee of dedicated former South Bottoms residents created a quarterly newsletter in 2002 called "The Bugle." The newsletter is in its 12th year of publication and has produced over 40 issues thus far. It's a way for the South Bottoms folk to consistently keep in contact with their childhood buddies and share fond memories of their fallen, but not forgotten, neighborhood.