Landmarks celebrate Siouxland's rich history
The War Eagle Monument is located at the end of War Eagle Drive in Sioux City.

Statue celebrates response of Siouxland to plane crash

One of the latest additions to Chris Larsen Park on Sioux City's waterfront is "The Spirit of Siouxland" sculpture, the centerpiece of a small memorial park just west of the Anderson Dance Pavilion.

The sculpture depicts then Lt. Col. Dennis Nielson of the Sioux City Air National Guard carrying 3-year-old Spencer Bailey, a survivor of United Flight 232 crash at Sioux Gateway Airport July 19, 1989. The sculpture is based on a photograph taken by former Journal photographer Gary Anderson. The image, published the day after the crash in The Journal and in newspapers and magazines around the world, came to symbolize the compassionate response to the crash by the community.

The sculpture is located in a sunken garden described by the architect as similar to an outdoor cathedral. Entry is through a walkway of boulders in descending size and narrowing width. As the visitor walks down the path and around the columns, the sculpture slowly reveals itself.

More than 400 flowers, shrubs and trees have been planted around the circular memorial. Limestone rocks quarried from Mankato, Minn., form a high bank in a sunken garden. Two limestone slabs form the backdrop for the bronze sculpture.

Siouxland's early days on display at museum

Housed in the historic 1893 Peirce Mansion, the Sioux City Public Museum at 2901 Jackson Street features regional history exhibits including natural history, Native American life, pioneer life, and the early days of Sioux City. A new addition to the Museum is an exhibit focusing on the times of John Peirce who built the architectural treasure during the city's boom era. The exhibit highlights the economic, educational, recreational, and social life of peoples living in the Sioux City from 1868 to 1893. This period represents the transition of Sioux City from a river town to a prosperous city before the national depression of 1893.

One of the largest collections of Native American artifacts in the area is housed in the Museum. Many of the articles of clothing and other selections feature early use of quillwork as decoration and later use of beadwork for ornamentation. The works of many of the Plains and Woodlands tribes of this area are represented.

A "hands-on" log cabin along with artifacts from early settlers tell the story of the region's pioneer past. Natural history exhibits feature fossils, minerals, and specimens of native birds and animals.

Youth and adult educational programming, walking tours, and rotating exhibitions provide a wide range of activities available throughout the year. The Museum Store offers a wide variety of books of regional interest as well as unique gift items.

The Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Closed holidays. Admission is free.

For information, call (712) 279-6174.

Monument marks gravesite of famous Chief War Eagle

At War Eagle Park, a steel monument sculpture representing an Indian chief offering a pipe of peace marks the grave of Chief War Eagle, an early friend of the white man in this area. Chief War Eagle died in 1851 and was buried on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River. The site contains his grave and the graves of at least nine friends and relatives.

War Eagle was probably born in Wisconsin about 1785 and after moving to the Missouri River territory, he befriended the early European traders including Theophile Bruguier, his future son-in-law, and Sioux City's first white resident. He remained a friend of the white man until his death. One of the great experiences of his life was a trip to Washington D.C. in 1837.

The site overlooks the juncture of the Big Sioux and Missouri rivers. The monument and park are at the end of War Eagle Drive in Sioux City.

Obelisk monument marks Sgt. Charles Floyd grave

Perched high on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River stands the Sergeant Floyd Monument which marks the gravesite of Sergeant Charles Floyd, the only member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition to perish on the route.

Floyd was a relative of Lt. William Clark. Clark and Capt. Meriwether Lewis were given the task of exploring the new country purchased from France for $15 million.

With 33 soldiers of the United States Army, hunters, interpreters and experienced boatmen, the Corps of Discovery headed up the Missouri River from St. Louis. They traveled in three boats, a keelboat 55 feet long and two pirogues constructed of hollow logs. Floyd was appointed one of three sergeants. He was placed in charge of the officers' quarters and the supplies. The first entry in his diary was made on May 14, 1804. After two months of travel the expedition reached Iowa. They met with the Indians at a place they named Council Bluff and later continued their journey past a mound on top of a bluff on what is now the Nebraska side of the river. The mound is known as Blackbird's Grave where the king of the Omahas was buried.

On the fifth of August, they camped south of what is today the town of Sergeant Bluff. It was here that Floyd took ill. One day's journey later Sgt. Floyd died. "We carried him to the top of a bluff below a small river to which we gave his name and he was buried with the honors of war, much lamented. A cedar post with the name Sergeant C. Floyd died here 20th day of August, 1804, was fixed at the head of his grave," wrote Capt. Clark in his journal.

By 1857 the river had eroded and undermined the bluff causing most of the grave to slide into the river. A group of interested citizens from the new town of Sioux City, retrieved many of the bones, including the skull which was found at the river's edge and reburied the remains 200 yards east of the old site. Wooden markers were placed at the grave. In 1894 the publication of Floyd's journal revived interest in the grave which had been trampled by cattle and the markers carved away by souvenir hunters. The grave was reopened, the remains identified and reburied on Aug. 20, 1895 in sturdy urns and the site was marked by a marble slab three feet wide and seven feet long. Later the Floyd Memorial Association was formed and began the task of raising funds for a permanent monument.

The money was raised and the corner stone was laid on Aug. 20, 1900. The remains of Floyd were unearthed for the fourth time and buried in the base of the monument. The monument, an Egyptian obelisk of white sandstone 100 feet tall, was completed and dedicated May 30, 1901. In 1960 it became the first National Registered Landmark in the United States.

The monument is located on Highway 75 south in Sioux City.

Interpretive Center tells story of Lewis & Clark in Siouxland

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is Sioux City's latest riverfront attraction. This $4 million center has drawn people from every state in the nation and many foreign countries since its opening last summer.

The center focuses on a day in the life of the Lewis and Clark expedition (1803-1806) as it traveled through what is now the Sioux City area.

At the entrance is a 150-foot flag pole flying the 15-star, 15-stripe flag the expedition carried. A larger-than-life bronze statue of Lewis and Clark and their dog Seaman, guards the entrance along the winding pathway to the center. The human aspects of the expedition are explored through murals, artifacts and displays. Among the favorite exhibits are the animatronic mannequins of Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. The center has developed a full schedule of programming, presentations and workshops.

Easily accessible from Interstate 29 North and South via the Hamilton Blvd. Exit near downtown Sioux City, the Interpretive Center is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Admission is free. For more information, call (712) 224-5242.

Riverboat provides look at early transportation

The historic role of the Missouri River in the development of the West is told through exhibits of artifacts displayed in this unique riverboat which carved its own niche in the history of the river. Also serving as an official Iowa and Nebraska Welcome Center, the Sergeant Floyd River Museum and Welcome Center is a popular stopping spot for I-29 travelers.

Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except major holidays. Exit 149 off I-29, Hamilton Boulevard to Larsen Park Road.

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