SIOUX CITY | Have you ever driven around town and wondered, “What’s with that?" or engaged in a debate over the story of some monument, street or building?
I was reminded of those kinds of discussions when driving along Hamilton Boulevard and seeing the gigantic block wall taking shape where the new Walgreens drug store is under construction on the northeast corner with West 19th Street. Why so high?
The answer: The steep hills. The corner wall will be 16 ½ feet tall, with another four feet on top to keep motorists from driving over the edge. Because of the terrain, the parking lot will be the same level as the land at 20th Street, one of the entrances. The wall will be painted.
Question: What does the Prospect Hill Monument at West First and Bluff streets commemorate?
Answer: The monument was built in 1913 to honor three Presbyterian missionaries who prayed at that spot in 1869 to “win the west for Christ.”
Q: What is in the Clocktower Room off the lobby at City Hall, at 405 Sixth St.?
A: The Loren D. Callendar Gallery. He served the longest of any council member in history – 20 years, including three years as mayor. He died soon after being re-elected in 1996.
Q: How big is that flag flying outside the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, at 900 Larsen Park Road?
A: The 30-by-50-foot U.S. flag flies atop a 150-foot flagpole.
Q: Who walked through the ribbon during the grand opening of the city’s first skywalk in 1975?
A: The Shriner’s Prince Ed the “Wonder Horse.” The Arabian trotted through the overhead bridge linking Northwestern National Bank to the city parking ramp at Fifth and Jackson streets.
Q: Who named streets after family members?
A: Dr. William R. Smith, who built Smith Villa in 1874 at 1623 Rebecca St., named nearby streets Remsen (his middle name), Osborne (his wife's maiden name) and possibly Rebecca (wife's first name.) Early day lawyer S.T. Davis named George and Ross streets after his kids.
Q: Where did Hoeven Drive and the Hoeven Valley get their name?
A: From Northwest Iowa congressman Charles Hoeven, a Republican from Alton, who served in the House of Representatives for 22 years. He was instrumental in getting federal funding for the Floyd River Flood Control Project.
Q: What was the first use for the building at 408 Water St. that now houses Hydraulic Sales & Service?
A: Built in 1889, it was home to Sioux City Hose Co. No. 1, with Patty and Prince the horses. The pair set a world record in the hitch, dash and couple event in 1906.
Q: What’s with that castle near 12th and Nebraska streets?
A: The apartment building originally was Central High School, dubbed the Castle on the Hill. It was built in 1893 and closed in 1972 when East, North and West high schools opened.
Q: Who built that little cabin in Riverside Park?
A: French fur trader Theophile Bruguier built it in 1849 as part of a trading post at the mouth of the Big Sioux River.
Q: Is it true there once were trained elk in Sioux City?
A: From 1900-1920, a popular attraction in Riverside Park was a troupe of diving elk, who plunged off a platform into the Big Sioux River.