SIOUX CITY | Long before there was a "Sesame Street," "Canyon Kids Corner" was a neighborhood that generations of Siouxland children wanted to visit.
And holding court in this televised playground was a diminutive man with a weird accent and a penchant for badges pinned to his vest.
Between 1953 and 1985, Jim Henry, the titular star of KCAU-TV's "Canyon Kids Corner," estimated he played host to approximately 70,000 children on a show that still is considered one of the longest running programs of its kind in U.S. television history.
Following a 32-year run at KCAU, Henry moved to KTIV-TV, where he became host of the station's "Around Siouxland" from 1989 to 2006, before retiring after a 53-year career in front of the camera.
Which is surprising since the only child of Florence and James "Al" Henry couldn't even land a role in a school play in his native Brooklyn, N.Y.
Instead, Henry's flair for entertainment came from his grandfather, Hi Henry, who dazzled audiences by flying hot air balloons, doing a trapeze act while suspended, before parachuting safely to the ground.
Henry enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps following his high school graduation. As World War II raged, he trained in bombardier school in Carlsbad, N.M., then came to Sioux City, home to the Sioux City Army Air Base, now called the Iowa Air National Guard 185th Air Refueling Wing.
Following his war stint, Henry returned to New York before landing a job with Weatherwax's, a men's clothing store in Sioux City. Looking for a more creative outlet, he helped found the Sioux City Community Theatre, starring in its first production in 1948.
Honing his performance panache, Henry soon answered a call from KVTV, the forerunner of KCAU, who was looking for a children's show host.
Noting that such stars as Hopalong Cassidy and Roy Rogers were the rage in the early days of TV, station execs went wild for Henry's cowboy-inspired Canyon Kid.
Five days a week, Henry (along with puppet co-stars Sam the Snake and The Old Timer) entertained a television audience as well as some lucky in-studio guests, which included his future wife Karen Henry, who won a half-gallon of ice cream for submitting on "Canyon Kids Corner" when she was 12 years old.
Henry, 89, died Jan. 30, surrounded by family members at an assisted living facility in Midland, Mich.
SIOUX CITY | UnityPoint Health -- St. Luke's is one of two hospitals in the city.
In 1966, Lutheran and Methodist hospitals consolidated to create St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center and construction began on one central building. The central medical building, 2720 Stone Park Blvd., welcomed its first patients in 1972.
St. Luke's joined Iowa Health System in 1995 -- a grassroots partnership of hospitals in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo and Dubuque. Expansion followed in 2003 with Same Day Surgery and the Physician Center across the street from the central medical building.
The doors of a newly constructed and renovated Birth Center, equipped with a neonatal intensive care unit, opened in 2005. Nearly 2,000 babies are born at St. Luke's each year.
The hospital moved some of its services and providers and added new ones across town when Unity Point Health - St. Luke's Sunnybrook Medical Plaza opened in the fall of 2013, after 14 months of construction.
The two-story, 86,000-square-foot glass and brick building, at 5885 Sunnybrook Drive, offers coordinated medical care in an open, modern space equipped with the latest technology.
The building, budgeted at $26.7 million, is home to a new family medicine, internal medicine and urgent care clinic; St. Luke's Imaging and Breast Screening Center; a cardiology clinic with adjacent cardiac rehabilitation; an additional location for occupational medicine; and a site for physicians in various specialties, including pulmonary medicine and nephrology.
SIOUX CITY | Sacred ground lies on the bluffs above Sioux City. Overlooking the converging point of the Missouri and Big Sioux rivers stands the War Eagle Monument.
It honors Wambdi Okicize. Born around 1785, he worked as a riverboat guide along the Mississippi River and a messenger for the American Fur Co. on the Missouri River.
Although his name translated to "Little Eagle," he was called "War Eagle" by the settlers he befriended. Despite the fierce new name, he was known for his amicable nature. Throughout his life, War Eagle sought to maintain a peaceful relationship between his people and early American settlers.
In 1837, War Eagle was invited to Washington, D.C., where he was awarded a silver medal by then-president Martin Van Buren.
War Eagle died in 1851. He and at least nine of his friends and relatives are buried near the monument.
War Eagle’s legacy is preserved by War Eagle Park, which contains 27 acres. The monument was erected in 1922. It includes a concrete foundation and a tall steel statue of War Eagle offering a peace pipe, wearing a feathered headdress that hangs to the ground.
The view from the War Eagle Monument is serene. Rolling hills and flowing waters surround the area, reminding visitors of Siouxland’s early days.
Through the decades and through the generations, the War Eagle Monument is a testament to Siouxland’s beauty and a reminder of the area's rich history.
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.
SIOUX CITY | Finding a place to let cramped canines get some exercise doesn’t have to be a stretch. In fact, Sioux City has a large dog park readily available for public use.
Located within Bacon Creek Park, 5015 Correctionville Road, the Lewis and Clark Dog Park is a mecca for mutts -- and purebreeds -- looking for exercise or some new grass to sniff off-leash. The park is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The park's grand opening was held in May 2005 with a Newfoundland dog march in honor of Lewis and Clark’s dog, Seaman, and a leash-cutting at the park gate. Land for the park was set aside by the city and money for a fence was raised by the Siouxland Off-Leash Association (SOLA).
The park features separate areas for smaller and larger dogs, benches for pet owners who prefer to spectate, a sheltered area to protect them from the elements, a message board and water spigot.
There is also plenty of grass to play fetch in or simply graze for the more peaceful pooch.
For the more able-bodied dogs, the park added agility equipment this spring. Dogs can go through weaves, jump through hoops and get a good workout at the dog park’s playground.
The money for the agility equipment was raised through the annual Pooch Paddles that take place at Riverside Pool.
At the end of each swimming season, pet owners are invited to bring their dogs to the pool for a swim. The money made at the event then goes directly into maintenance and equipment for the dog park.
According to the Sioux City Parks and Recreation Department, the Pooch Paddle brings in between $500 and $750 each year.
Dog park etiquette dictates that pet owners pick up their dog's waste, keep a close eye on their dog in case it becomes aggressive, keep their dog current on vaccinations and refrain from bringing more dogs than they can handle.
SIOUX CITY | The Romanesque-style home once inhabited by John Peirce wows Sioux City residents and visitors alike.
The Peirce Mansion, at 2901 Jackson St., served as the site of the Sioux City Public Museum from 1961 to 2011 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Real estate developer John Peirce began construction on the mansion in 1891. Charles P. Brown, who designed the 1890 Corn Palace, served as the mansion's architect. The 21-room house's exterior walls are composed of South Dakota quartzite.
A library and main room are located on the first-floor. Shelves are lined with antique china and glass work, while black-and-white photographs and painted portraits adorn the walls.
The second floor has a bride's room, which is equipped with a fireplace and painted light pink. The nursery is filled with vintage dolls and toys. It also houses a groom's room and master bedroom.
The third floor is a spacious ballroom with a wood floor and colorful stained glass windows.
Peirce ended up raffling off the house in a rigged lottery. He left for Seattle after losing his fortune.
The Junior League of Sioux City purchased the house for $10,000 in 1958. In 1959, the organization donated it to the city to use as a cultural building. Volunteers from the Sioux City Museum and Historical Association renovated the mansion's interior.
The mansion is open to the public for quarterly open house events and it also serves as a venue for weddings, receptions, family gatherings and private parties. Up to 200 people have attended each open house.
SIOUX CITY | For 100 years, Jolly Time Pop Corn, the nation's first brand-name popcorn, has called Sioux City home.
Company founder Cloid Smith harvested the first ears of popcorn in the fall of 1914. As legend has it, Smith got into a dispute with a grain buyer over the price for his crop. So, he and his son, Howard, hauled their corn to Sioux City, where they shelled, cleaned and packaged the kernels in the basement of their home.
Cloid Smith started out by personally selling Jolly Time to small grocers and street cart vendors.
Today, Jolly Time products are sold in all 50 states and 40 foreign countries. Unlike its top competitors, the company remains family- owned and operated. First cousins Garry and Carlton Smith are the fourth generation to head the business, which maintains its corporate offices, grain storage facilities and microwave popcorn plants in Sioux City's Leeds neighborhood.
For decades, large popcorn cribs bearing the Jolly Time name were visible to motorists along Highway 75.
In the 1920s, Jolly Time revolutionized the industry with the invention of the first hermetically sealed cans, which preserved the kernel's moisture and increased its quality, leading to the company's well-known "Guaranteed to Pop" slogan.
One of the first brands to introduce microwave popcorn in the 1980s, Jolly Time re-energized its brand in 1997 with the launch of "Blast O' Butter." The heater-style buttery flavor quickly became the top-selling microwave brand.
In most recent years, Jolly Time has seized on the demand for more health-conscious microwave popcorn. In 2008, Jolly Time's Healthy Pop 94 percent Fat Free products won an exclusive endorsement from Weight Watchers. And last year, Jolly Time rolled out microwave varieties made with Smart Balance's unique blend of heart-healthy cooking oils.
SIOUX CITY | During the Great Depression, a group of garden enthusiasts organized the Municipal Rose Garden Association, and established a colorful display in Grandview Park in 1937.
The association worked with the city's commissioner of parks to form a backdrop for the Grandview Park Band Shell, at 24th Street and Grandview Boulevard.
The city's only official garden was designed by landscape architect Newell F. Guernsey, and at one time the garden had 1,500 rose bushes.
Jackson and Perkins, the nationally known rose-growing company, began using the garden to test varieties of rose bushes. Eventually, the city took over maintenance of the garden.
A local favorite for weddings and outdoor celebrations, the garden is home to more than 900 rose bushes and flaunts over 100 different species of roses, showcased with arching trellises.
In 2002, the garden was renovated and brought back to its former glory. The end result of the $300,000 project was a two-terraced garden, relaxing fountains and a musical theme on the garden’s east end.
The original renovation plans included a second water attraction for the garden, but it was decided that a stage within the garden would allow the area to host more events, opening the park up to a larger audience.
Now, the garden can accommodate between 60 to 100 people for any type of event, be it a concert, fundraiser, wedding, birthday or anything in between.
Though winter isn’t the season for rose bushes, the garden doesn’t take a break. City employees decorate the area throughout the seasons and have been awarded the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce’s Star of Siouxland Award in January for decorating the garden through the holidays.
SIOUX CITY | Before the Sioux City Community Theatre was the host of musicals like "Legally Blonde" and "Les Miserables," it was a year-round ballroom known by another name: Shore Acres.
It was the home to acts like Lawrence Welk, Louis Armstrong, The Beach Boys and The Everly Brothers. But the area's history dates back to 1905 when a section of land along the Big Sioux River was leased to build the Commercial Men's Boat Club. Despite the name, its members included both men and women.
The building, at 1401 Riverside Blvd., included a large open dance hall, smoking rooms and parlors on the first floor. The second story had card and billiard rooms and bathrooms. Outside of the building were tennis courts, croquet fields and canoe docks.
It was the place to be until 1911 when a fire destroyed the whole building. However, determined club members rallied together and built a new structure in 60 days and named it Shore Acres Boat Club. This time is was a single-story structure and remained in business until bankruptcy hit in 1928.
In 1935, a man named Tom Archer remodeled the building to use as a dance hall. A couple of years later, he added a revolving stage and an outside dance floor. Using both the inside and outside dance floors, Shore Acres could accommodate more than 1,000 people at a show.
In the 1940s, Shore Acres Ballroom was the home of many big name acts of the time like Skitch Henderson, Glenn Miller and Count Basie. In 1955, the building was remodeled extensively to be used year round. More than 3,000 feet of neon lighting was installed along with extending the dance floor to 9,000 square feet to house 1,450 people.
When the wave of rock 'n roll finally hit Sioux City, Shore Acres hosted acts like Chubby Checker and Conway Twitty, whose performance was so rowdy he was told not to come back.
Archer and promoter Eddie Skeets kept the ballroom hopping until Archer's death in 1963. Shore Acres Ballroom closed its doors in 1965. Archer's widow sold the building to the Sioux City Community Theatre a year later.
The ballroom was recognized and inducted into the Iowa Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.
SIOUX CITY | One of TV’s favorite kids got his start in Sioux City.
Jerry Mathers, the star of “Leave it to Beaver,” was born June 2, 1948, in Sioux City.
His father, Norman C. Mathers, also born in Sioux City, was an East High School sports standout. He played basketball at Morningside College, interrupted his studies to serve in the Army Air Corps, then returned to get his bachelor’s degree in history and physical education. In 1947, he married Marilyn Bright and they moved to Rock Rapids, Iowa, where Norm taught. Jerry, however, was born in Sioux City.
Shortly thereafter, the family moved to California where dad got his master’s degree in education from the University of Southern California and later worked in school administration.
That storied acting career? It began when Jerry was 2. He appeared in a Pet Condensed Milk commercial with Ed Wynn on the “Colgate Comedy Hour.” That led to more work in television, then his film debut in 1954 in “This is My Love.” That led to a featured role in the Alfred Hitchcock film “The Trouble With Harry,” starring John Forsythe and Shirley MacLaine.
In 1957, Jerry landed the title role in “Leave it to Beaver.” The show ran for six seasons and became a cornerstone in sitcom history.
A 1982 TV movie, “Still the Beaver,” did so well in the ratings a new edition of “Beaver” was launched. Called “The New Leave it to Beaver,” the series lasted 108 episodes and helped Mathers diversify into directing.
In 2007, Mathers made his Broadway debut in “Hairspray” as Wilbur Turnblad.
Since then, he has been a spokesperson for diabetes awareness, PhRMA and its Partnership for Prescription Assistance program and the state of the American family. Additionally, Mathers does personal appearances, commercials and radio shows.
He last appeared in Sioux City in 2012 to speak at the Sioux City Diocese's Bishop's Dinner for Catholic Schools.
The development helped usher in a wave of other businesses in the area around South Lakeport Street and Sergeant Road.
The 791,000-square-foot mall today has about 100 stores, with major tenants being JCPenney, Sears and Younkers. It is owned by Washington Prime Group.
The centerpiece is a Venetian carousel that opened in September.
Influenced by the Italian "carosellos"of the 19th century, the ride is covered in murals hand-painted by Italian artists, floored with Brazilian oak and lighted by 570 tiny electric bulbs. It features charging horses, dolphin-drawn chariots and giant spinning teacups.
Today, about 15 percent of the nation's super regional shopping centers operate carousels.
Island Carousel, of Marco Island, Fla., was contracted to install the ride in Scheels Court. The company has provided carousel installation and operation services in malls across the nation since 1985.
The carousel operates in the space where a children's play area formerly was located. A larger play area opened in the Café Court.
SIOUX CITY | They crisscross the city and are packed on sunny days.
They're our trails -- a favorite of bicyclists, runners and people out for a leisurely stroll. They get us moving and staying healthy.
The building period began in the early 1990s after the Missouri River area was converted to have more recreational options. Two early trails were the riverfront trail and the Floyd River Trail.
City officials, Siouxland Trails Foundation members and others recognize that connecting and expanding the region's trail system creates a valuable quality-of-life asset for the area.
Sioux City Public Works Director Jade Dundas said trails are an important part of infrastructure around the city.
In 2013, crews began work in the former stockyards on a long-proposed trail link connecting two riverfront parks. Dirt work for the 1.5-mile connection from trails in the southern Chautauqua and westerly Chris Larsen parks was done near the Floyd Boulevard exit on Interstate 29.
Construction will coincide with the Iowa Department of Transportation's expansion of I-29. That connection could be open by 2016.
When the trail connecting the two riverfront parks is complete, pedestrians will be able to bike or walk from Chautauqua Park in the Singing Hills area to the city pool on the north edge of Riverside Park.
More recent developments include research into linking the Floyd River Trail north to Le Mars, Iowa.
Additionally, the Siouxland Trails Foundation is working with Sioux City officials to determine which streets will be designated as bicycle routes. A few of those streets will have bike lanes painted on them.
SIOUX CITY | Jay “Ding” Darling won two Pulitzer Prizes as an editorial cartoonist, but he got his start as a cub reporter at the Sioux City Journal in 1900.
As his fame grew, he went on to produce 16,000 cartoons, and his efforts helped launch the conservation movement in the United States.
Although he left Sioux City, where the family had moved in 1886, to live in bigger towns, he never lost his affection for Iowa.
According to a documentary released in 2012, "America's Darling: The Story of Jay N. 'Ding' Darling," Darling was assigned by the Journal to cover a trial and told to take a photograph of one of the lawyers. Instead, the guy chased him down the street, swinging his cane.
Undaunted, Darling drew a cartoon of what had happened, and the Journal published it. Although he had drawn since he was a child, that incident launched his career.
After he married Genevieve "Penny" Pendleton, daughter of Judge Isaac Pendleton, in 1906, he went to work for the Des Moines Register. He moved to New York several times but returned to Des Moines each time. Eventually, his cartoons were syndicated in 150 newspapers around the country.
He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1924 and in 1943.
In addition to the biting political and social commentary evidenced in his cartoons, Darling started the Federal Duck Stamp Program, began the agency that evolved into the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and founded the National Wildlife Federation.
The film, includes recordings of Darling speaking, showcases many of his outrageously stinging cartoons and the gorgeous vistas of nature he loved so much, including the wildlife refuge that bears his name on Sanibel Island, Fla.
And where did Darling get the nickname Ding? He abbreviated his last name, using the first and last three letters to sign his cartoons, “D-ing.” Eventually, he became known as Ding.
He died in Des Moines in 1962 at the age of 85 and is buried with other family members at Logan Park Cemetery in Sioux City.
SIOUX CITY | For 122 years, the Castle on the Hill has educated students and provided shelter for Siouxlanders.
Castle on the Hill, 610 13th St., opened as The High School in 1893 and became Central High School in 1924 after East High School opened.
Originally constructed for slightly more than $100,000, an addition was added in 1913 to accommodate an influx of students. The building received its moniker due to the exterior’s stone walls and towers on each corner.
The school served Sioux City students until 1972 when it was shut down in anticipation of the construction of three new schools. In 1973, the structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places and in 1976, the Castle on the Hill Association, a not-for-profit organization, was formed to preserve the history and physical uniqueness of the structure.
The Castle on the Hill Association purchased the building in 1976 from the Sioux City school district for $1.
In 2003, the Castle on the Hill opened its doors to the public once again, but this time, the classrooms and labs served as apartment units for residents near northside of Sioux City.
Subsequently in 2003, the Castle on the Hill Association assumed responsibility of the auditorium and “dungeon” and began restoring and renovating both areas. Later that year, the Castle on the Hill gift shop and Central museum opened to pay tribute to the school that served students for nearly 80 years.
The museum contains warm-up and letterman jackets from former athletes and band uniforms with furry hats, photos of past students and other relics when the building operated as a school.
The Castle on the Hill Association continues to make sure the spirits of the students and teachers who frequented the halls of Central High School are not forgotten.
SIOUX CITY | Initially Ken Peterson felt his work of art -- a coat rack placed on the corner of Fourth and Nebraska streets -- would serve as furniture for Sioux City’s homeless population. Since, after all, the streets of the town, in a way, serve as their living room.
But since the coat rack’s introduction in 2008, the work of art has become something else entirely.
“One day I went Christmas shopping and I bought an extra pair of gloves and hung them on the coat rack and they were gone the next day,” Peterson said. “That was kind of my hope, or idea, that people over time would feel that it was a trading post. If you don’t want it, leave it here.”
Now, Peterson’s coat rack has morphed into a monument to Siouxland’s caring nature. It's now in front of City Hall, at 405 Sixth St.
Hats, coats, gloves, shirts, pants and groceries all have found their way onto the coat rack at one point, as an offering to the less fortunate.
The rack is an example of ready-made art, Peterson said, a form pioneered by French-American artist Marcel Duchamp. At its core, ready-made art utilizes manufactured items and displays them in such a way that changes their meaning.
Peterson said every town should have something like the coat rack, bringing awareness to the homeless population and providing an opportunity for citizens to offer up a good deed in an anonymous fashion.
“It’s that sort of selfless altruism that doesn’t have anything attached, it’s not even a tax write-off,” he said. “I like the fact that it surprises people that there are so many kind people around.”
NORTH SIOUX CITY | Ted Waitt and his friend, Mike Hammond started a personal computer business on the Waitt family farm near Sioux City in 1985.
The upstart company, called Gateway 2000, adopted a folksy advertising campaign that featured cows, paying homage to the cattle business owned by Waitt's father. Gateway also began plastering a black-and-white, Holstein-like pattern on its logo, boxes and exterior of its buildings.
The cow spots became synonymous with Gateway -- as ubiquitous as Nike's swoosh or Amazon.com's smirk -- and brought global attention to the place where South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska meet.
The distinct black and white markings on the network of five large metal, machine shed-like buildings that once housed Gateway's offices and manufacturing and warehouse space in North Sioux City serve as a testament of the homegrown company's glory days. At its peak, Gateway sold more PCs than any other direct U.S. marketer, and employed more than 5,700 locally.
After years of decline, the company was sold in 2007 to Taiwan-based computer maker Acer Inc. Today, just a handful of Gateway workers remain, maintaining computer servers in Main, the first cow-spotted building constructed in North Sioux City.
Main and four other buildings -- which Gateway called Mexico, Pacific, Peru and Argentina -- contain more than 746,000 square feet of office and manufacturing space, roughly the equivalent of 20 football fields.
More than half the space is leased to other companies, which includes FIMCO, a North Sioux City-based manufacturer of agricultural equipment that has space in the Peru building, and Alorica, a Chino, Calif.-based contractor of customer service that operates a call center in the Argentina building.
SIOUX CITY | Sioux City's Statue of Liberty, one of 200 copper replicas donated by the Boy Scouts of America between 1949 and 1952, used to sit outside the Sioux City Auditorium, now Long Lines Family Rec Center.
The statue, which stands 8 1/2 feet tall, was put in storage when the Tyson Events Center opened in 2003. It's now on display at Liberty Elementary School in Sioux City.
The eventual placement of the statue came on the heels of many conversations with the city to find a new, permanent home.
The Junior League of Sioux City suggested moving the statue to Cook Park, 505 Market St., as part of park improvements the league funded, but the plans never materialized.
In 2004, Mayor Dave Ferris asked about plans to relocate the statue, but nothing came of those either.
In 2006, Councilman Brent Hoffman proposed the statue be placed in Chautauqua Park on Harbor Drive or by the Sgt. Floyd Riverboat Museum & Welcome Center on the riverfront. Mayor Craig Berenstein said at the time his first choice was to return the statue to the parking lot.
A decade later, it found a permanent home at Liberty Elementary School, 1623 Rebecca St.
When the statue was dedicated in 2013, Superintendent Paul Gausman said that an elementary school was a particularly appropriate place for the statue because the district's students would get an extra dose of history lessons.
SIOUX CITY | For more than 100 years, people have marveled at the beauty of Stone Park nestled in the Loess Hills in the northwest corner of the city.
The park combines wildflowers, prairie, rugged woodlands, secluded ravines, wildlife and hilltop vistas of Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.
Nationally recognized as an urban wildlife sanctuary, it's home to wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, coyotes and red foxes, as well as a variety of birds and rare butterflies.
In 1912, a Stone family heir gave about 400 acres to the city for a park. The city then acquired another 400 acres from another Stone family member. The park now covers just under 1,600 acres in both Woodbury and Plymouth counties.
Since the land was designated a park, it has provided a wide range of activities and memories for visitors.
Others are drawn to what is now Stone State Park, at 5601 Talbot Road, to look for indigo buntings and bluebirds, prairie flowers and rare butterflies or more elusive animals such as red foxes.
Visitors could find more exotic animals in the Stone Park Zoo, which operated in the early part of the last century. The zoo featured anteaters, bear, badgers and small primates.
In the early 1920s, both the Boy and Girl Scouts built camps, which have since closed and relocated. The Salvation Army once ran a youth camp.
By the 1930s, the city didn’t have the money to pay for the park’s upkeep. On July 25, 1935, the city gave the park to the state. During the Great Depression, Civilian Conservation Corps crews set up camp in the park as part of national public work relief projects.
From 1935 to 1939, up to 200 men built the ranger’s home, the rustic Stone Lodge, storage buildings, roads, the east and west entrances and the brick pillars at those entrances
Last August, Stone State Park expanded after more than $300,000 was raised to purchase properties north and south of the site. The nature areas included a 55-acre addition to the Spirit Knoll Preserve just north of the park, while two additions totaling 52 acres were added into the park on the south border.
Today, visitors can use 30 campgrounds, three picnic shelters, two cabins and miles of trails for horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. The park is operated by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Some Ponca remained in Oklahoma, where they founded the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma. But others, including Chief Standing Bear, refused to stay.
In honoring his dead son's wishes, Standing Bear led a group back to Nebraska so he could bury his son in his homeland.
He and approximately 30 others were arrested and jailed as a result.
Standing Bear argued in court that he was held illegally, a battle he won.
The case, Standing Bear v. Crook, would establish that American Indians are people with rights and freedoms under the U.S. Constitution.
The decision on May 12, 1879, in Omaha, found that American Indians are "persons within the meaning of the law."
The Poncas were allowed to return to Nebraska, but the struggles were not over.
In 1966, the tribe lost its dwindling landholdings when it lost federal recognition. In the 20 years prior, the federal government began removing American Indians and their land from the federal trust to cut down on services and money required through treaties.
Tribal members fought for reinstatement. They were rewarded with federal recognition as the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska in 1990.
The tribe has no reservation. It has several regional offices to provide services to members, including in Niobrara and Sioux City.
ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa | At the turn of the 20th century, crowds started turning out at the Arnolds Park Amusement Park for a day of fun with the family. Almost 125 years later, the park is still drawing them in.
The 124-year-old theme park is a living homage to the family vacations of America's past, marketing itself as the place "where good, clean fun never grew up."
The park boasts a collection of retro attractions — like Legend, one of the nation's oldest roller coasters, or the Ferris wheel that overlooks the shores of Lake Okoboji.
Aside from the log flume and the old-fashioned bumper cars, some patrons might show up just to grab a Nutty Bar. The Arnolds Park staple is a simple, but popular treat, comprised of a block of vanilla ice cream rolled in milk chocolate and covered in nuts.
The park also serves as host to the "Live at the Lake" concert series every summer, running from early June to the end of August.
Regular maintenance projects have made sure the park hasn't suffered from over a century of wear and tear.
The Legend roller coaster reopened this year after a $1 million renovation saw much of its track and support structure replaced. The Majestic Pavilion event space also received some touch-ups, like a new façade and upgraded kitchen for caterers.
The park, at 37 Lake St., in Arnolds Park, Iowa, opens for the season every May and closes in September.
SIOUX CITY | Millions of people outside Sioux City likely knew the nation's advice columnist Ann Landers separately from her equally famous sister, Dear Abby.
For years, most newspapers published one column or the other, but not both. It was a different story in Sioux City. Ann and Abby always were known as "the twins" -- Esther "Eppie" Pauline Friedman (Ann) and Pauline "Popo" Esther Friedman (Abby). You couldn't say one's name without mentioning the other's.
That was because the sisters grew up at 1722 Jackson St., went to Central High School and attended Morningside College, where they usually were in the limelight and always together.
The twins even got married in a double ceremony on July 2, 1939, at Shaare Zion, where they wore identical wedding gowns.
The point of their togetherness seemed to be well taken by a reporter for the Washington Post who covered Central High's 50th class reunion in 1986. The stars of the gathering? Eppie Lederer and Popo Phillips.
In an article published June 23, 1986, the reporter noted they were known as the Friedman twins, "as nearly everyone calls them here. ... Classmates kept asking, 'When are the twins getting in?'"
People remembered both women after Abby died 2013 in Minneapolis after a long struggle with Alzheimer's disease. She was 94. Ann died in 2002 in Chicago from cancer.
Eppie and Popo often said they were proud of their Sioux City roots, visited through the years and gave a number of interviews to Journal reporters.
They were feisty, frank and funny.
In a story that ran on their 80th birthday, July 4, 1998, in the Journal, Ann attributed her good health to working out, eating right, continuing to work and never drinking or smoking. Abby said she never dwelled on age and credited "good genes."
SIOUX CITY | For more than six decades, Siouxland children have been thrilled by the high-flying acts and trained animals of the Abu Bekr Shrine Circus in Sioux City.
The Shrine Circus has become a Sioux City tradition, celebrating its 64th year in town this past April. Every spring, the circus comes to town, drawing children and their parents from throughout the region to see human cannonballs, trapeze artists, clowns and elephants, tigers and lions.
No matter the obstacle, the crowds make it to the show, whether it's in the Tyson Events Center, or the old Sioux City Municipal Auditorium before that.
In 1961, the circus was delayed after the Auditorium's stage curtains caught fire and damaged the building. The fire caused cancellation of two performances of the Shrine Circus that day, but the circus was continued the rest of the week. The fire broke out in the morning only three hours before the building would have been filled with happy youngsters watching the circus.
This year, it was navigating downtown street construction and finding a place to park as street construction companies had taken up a part of the Tyson Center's parking lot for construction staging and storage. A late-season snowstorm also made travel challenging during one of the circus' 10 shows.
Despite the inconvenience, three of this year's shows performed to sold-out crowds of 3,000 people each.
It showed the loyalty of longtime circus fans who turn out no matter what, David Krogh, Abu Bekr past potentate, said at the conclusion of this year's circus.
"For many people, it's something they look forward to all year," he said.
Shriners have no intention of seeing this Siouxland icon go away.
"As soon as the circus leaves town, we're already planning for the next one," Krogh said.
SIOUX CITY | Most cities don’t get a catchy theme song. But Sioux City landed “Sioux City Sue” in 1943 and it still continues to be sung.
Dick Thomas, who wrote the song’s chorus, said he wasn’t inspired by a visit to the community. “It was just a cute ditty,” he told The Journal in 1984. “I wanted songs that had a chance of selling well. But I never dreamed it would do what it did.”
The song became a hit for Gene Autry. Bing Crosby rode it to the top of the Hit Parade for 14 weeks and everyone from Kate Smith to the Hoosier Hot Shots had a release of it.
Autry even turned it into a 1946 movie with the same name.
Surprisingly, Ray Freedman, a Philadelphia announcer who helped Thomas write the song, thought it was corny and changed his name on the credits.
“Max (Freedman’s real name) didn’t want to be kidded about writing a hillbilly song,” Thomas said.
Thomas didn’t mind. “I tell people I was writing hillbilly music before it was a disgrace.”
Because “Sioux City Sue” held in so long, a Sioux City Sue pageant (searching for a woman with red hair and blue eyes) was launched and Thomas was invited in 1946 to be a judge. It was his first time in the city.
Buoyed by the song’s success, he wrote a sequel – “Sister of Sioux City Sue” – that also got chart time.
When the pageant was revived in 1984, Thomas was asked to return but family obligations prevented him from attending the event.
Autry, who gained a solid reputation as the singing cowboy, said it was one of his favorite songs to sing. “I was in Sioux City many times,” the actor told the Journal in the late 1980s. “The song just fit.”
Today, “Sioux City Sue” continues to be sung – particularly by artists performing at Sioux City’s Orpheum Theatre. Both Porter Wagoner and Willie Nelson offered their renditions during concerts.
An exhibit at the Sioux City Public Museum lets visitors hear several different versions of the song.
SIOUX CITY | All the suds are long gone, but a building that once was home to Sioux City brewing companies now houses the offices of a local manufacturing company.
The Brewery building, at West First and Isabella streets, serves as home to offices for Soo Tractor Sweeprake.
The five-story brick building, noted for its clay bricks and large limestone arches on the exterior, still is known as home to breweries.
Built in 1907 by Interstate Brewing Co., several types of beers were brewed there before it closed in 1916 after Iowa had become a dry state. During the 1920s, the building housed the largest shipper of poultry west of Chicago.
After the repeal of Prohibition, the building again became a brewery, occupied by the Sioux City Brewing Co. from 1933 to 1958. In the 1960s and 1970s, a series of nightclubs operated at the property.
All Power Incorporated had used the building for manufacturing since the '70s and sold the property to Soo Tractor in the early 2000s. Soo Tractor's offices and main manufacturing facilities had been located next door since the 1960s.
After buying the property, Soo Tractor renovated the historic building's first floor to house the company's offices.
In a 2003 Journal story, Soo Tractor owner and president Allen Mahaney said the building's first floor was gutted, keeping large columns that ran through the floors. In one corridor, the columns were enclosed in the offices to create a uniform hallway. Mahaney said at the time that some of the sandstone in the arches was replaced as part of an upgrade of the building's exterior.
"It was more cost-effective to utilize this structure than it was to tear it down and move the electrical service," Mahaney said at the time. "That's the reason we kept this building. The building has worked out very well for us."
SIOUX CITY | Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church's annual Greek Fest always was the place to go for fiery foods.
But in 2013, the church's food committee decided to fan the flames even further with the introduction of saganaki.
Simply put, saganaki is Greek cheese that is melted after being torched by brandy.
The delicacy is prepared outdoors -- for obvious safety reasons.
And that's certainly sensible since the three-day celebration of Greek food, life and culture traditionally brings tens of thousands of people to the church, at 900 Sixth St.
Greek Fest began in 2000 and is held the first weekend in June. It gives Siouxlanders a chance to experience authentic dancing, via the Holy Trinity dance Troupe and the Aegean Dancers; folk music played on the bouzouki -- an instrument similar to a mandolin; as well as tours of Holy Trinity.
And what's the main draw for Holy Trinity's Greek Fest? According to organizers, it's the event's full taverna, which features Greek wines, beers and a high-octane anise apertif called ouzo); a kafenion, or coffee bar, featuring a Grecian frappe; and an ever-expanding menu of foods with hard-to-pronounce names.
For example, there's spanakopita, which is spinach, sauteed scallions, eggs and feta cheese, while pastichio is the Greek version of lasagna, with a lush Bechamel replacing replacing a thicker tomato sauce.
SIOUX CITY | For 31 years, the Ho-Chunk Centre has served as one of downtown Sioux City’s tallest and most recognizable structures.
Constructed in 1983 at 600 Fourth St., the building opened as the Terra Centre and served as the headquarters for Terra Industries, a fertilizer manufacturer.
In 2010, rival fertilizer maker CF Industries acquired the Terra Centre in a hostile takeover.
The Deerfield, Ill.-based company then put the building on the market in 2011.
Nearly a year later, Winnebago, Neb.-based Ho-Chunk Inc. acquired a majority stake in the 10-story, glass-clad building and purchased it in a partnership with real estate and development firm Dunham Co., of Sioux Falls, and other investors.
Ho-Chunk Inc. began in 1994 to create jobs for members of the Winnebago tribe and help the tribe become self-sufficient. Ho-Chunk has since grown into a global enterprise with $230 million in annual revenue.
With the building, Ho-Chunk Inc. has offered the building’s space to tenants and has planned several renovation projects.
Current tenants include the Sweetwater Cafe on the skywalk level and Blue Earth Marketing on the eighth floor. Wells Fargo also has leased space on two levels of the atrium.
Earlier this year, work began to renovate and update the atrium in an effort to attract more tenants.
Passersby may notice a colorful greeting on the building’s south wall. The mural, which features iconic images of Sioux City, is meant to greet customers as they enter the building from the Third Street parking lot.
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.
SIOUX CITY | After more than 30 years without a professional baseball team, Sioux City was getting back on the map with one of six new franchises comprising the new, independent Northern League.
With a start-up date established in June 1993, millionaire Bill Pereira of Boise, Idaho, fronted the money to start the new team and provided the blueprint for a modest $2.5 million ballpark.
While work progressed quickly on that facility, Pereira’s checklist was down to one major task: Hiring a field manager to get the newly established Sioux City Explorers off the ground. And he found him at professional baseball’s annual winter meetings in December 1992.
Ed Nottle had managed the top minor league teams for Oakland and Boston a total of eight years, making a bid for major league managing jobs with both clubs.
Nottle’s baseball background was only part of the package. Bigger yet were his public relations gifts and the talent that earned him the nickname “Singin’ Ed.’’ In 1983, he cut an album at his own expense, hiring musicians from the Oakland Symphony while serving as the Athletics’ bullpen coach.
“We lost a house over that,’’ he repeated years later to one howling audience after another.
Still, the recording, “To Baseball, With Love,’’ was professional quality and Nottle, 74, still offers CDs extracted from the original vinyl.
Speaking and singing or both to countless audiences throughout the Siouxland area, Nottle’s teams attracted over 3,100 fans a game throughout the Explorers’ first eight seasons. He later returned to the X’s for two more seasons (2006-07) and is now retired in Evansville, Ind.
SIOUX CITY | The Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center, at 4500 Sioux River Road, opened in 1995.
Situated in Stone State Park, it includes 14,000 square feet of classroom, exhibit and office space, natural history and live native reptile exhibits, as well as a butterfly and wildflower garden, and outdoor amphitheater and a variety of programs throughout the year.
Last summer, the center opened a new raptor house and an extensive playscape.
The Discovery Forest Nature Playscape is just west of the center. Built at a cost of $97,000, it includes a large spider web for climbing, a digging area, a multi-level tree fort and a hollow log to crawl through. Musical chimes are part of the playscape.
The Loess Falls water feature of the playscape is adjacent to the south edge of the center, while the rest of the playscape is located a few hundred yards away.
The Loess Falls centerpiece is a series of waterfalls and ponds with stepping stones built into a retaining wall. People can wade into water about 18 inches deep and sit on benches to listen to the waterfalls.
Frogs and other animals quickly have come to enjoy living in the water. Signs of overnight visiting deer and raccoons showed wide allure to among larger park animals.
The raptor house cost $46,000, and has a distinctive design to hold the wildlife. The two-room facility allows the Nature Center to house at least two different birds of prey. Snyder said the outdoor facility just south of the center is useful, because visitors can use viewing windows to see wild birds year-round.
Theresa Kruid, a naturalist at the center, collaborated with various raptor facilities across America to design key features. Iowa Department of Natural Resources officials approved the facility.
There are perches, windows with screening to keep out predators but allow sunlight and elements such as rain to come in.
SIOUX CITY | The state-of-the-art Tyson Events Center opened in December 2003 to bring the option of large-scale entertainment to Siouxland.
With seating for 10,000, the Tyson Events Center has brought the likes of Cher, Aerosmith, Elton John and Carrie Underwood to town.
Previously, many promoters automatically wrote off the 4,600-seat Municipal Auditorium, because it was too small. Built in the late 1940s, it became outdated, lacking the amenities found in newer arenas.
Momentum to replace the dilapidated auditorium with a larger arena gathered steam by the late 1990s. With local elected officials firmly against property taxpayers footing the bill, financing such a large undertaking remained a major stumbling block.
The big breakthrough came in 2000 when then-Gov. Tom Vilsack signed legislation that established a new state infrastructure program called Vision Iowa. By borrowing against future state gambling revenues, the state created a $300 million fund to help communities build big-ticket cultural and entertainment attractions that would drive more tourism.
The center is equipped with a full-size ice hockey rink surrounded by a U-shaped seating bowl. The arena is home to the Sioux City Musketeers hockey team and also hosts the annual Fall Classic, where 200 NHL and college coaches come to scout players.
The stage can be placed at the open end of the seating bowl or at the center of the floor to accommodate musical performers.
The venue’s exterior is composed of tinted green glass and metal. At the south entrance, a tile mosaic with a waterfall depicts the Missouri River and Loess Hills.
A city panel is exploring ways to expand the 11-year-old Tyson Events Center by adding more arena seats or new suites to attract bigger-name acts.
SIOUX CITY | Trinity Heights is Catholic in theology, but ecumenical in intent and appeal.
More than 100,000 people from around the world flock each year to the inspirational destination that blends art, nature and the teachings of Christianity.
The Rev. Harold Cooper dreamed of creating a place where visitors could experience the peace that Jesus Christ gives.
In the mid-1980s, Cooper, then pastor of St. Joseph Church in Sioux City, and the non-profit corporation, Queen of Peace Inc., set out to purchase the 80-acre property perched atop a hill at 33rd Street and Outer Drive on Sioux City's north side.
Today, pine trees, a pond, a stream and two dozen shrines dot the landscape, along with a chapel, gift shop and apartment housing for seniors.
Visitors can sit on benches and admire the 30-foot steel statues of Jesus and his mother, Mary, light a candle in the Divine Mercy Adoration Chapel, or view a hand-carved wood sculpture of the Last Supper.
Immaculate Heart of Mary Queen of Peace was dedicated in 1993. Almost immediately, buses began regularly driving up the dirt road so tourists could get a glimpse of the 30-foot tall stainless steel statue created by nationally renowned sculptor Dale Lamphere, of Spearfish, S.D.
On the grounds pillars or bollards accompany shrines depicting the six places where Mary appeared in the world. The 10 Commandments and eight beatitudes delivered by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount are also present.
Jerry Traufler's "Last Supper" -- a life-size rendition of the Last Supper -- is another popular work of art displayed at Trinity Heights. It's housed in the St. Joseph Center and Museum's octagon room. Traufler, a postal employee from Le Mars, Iowa, and a self-taught sculptor, carved each figure out of basswood and pine with a chisel and mallet.
LE MARS, Iowa | The cherry atop the "Ice Cream Capital of the World" may well be the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor & Museum, a 3-year-old visitors center devoted to the story and great tastes served up by Wells Enterprises, makers of Blue Bunny ice cream and frozen novelties.
The parlor/museum is located in an historic building on Central Avenue, a downtown magnet for the Plymouth County seat. The site, which opened in July 2011, replaced a smaller parlor Wells operated since 1999 at the intersection of highways 3 and 75.
The 1875 two-story brick structure isn't simply one of the oldest businesses in Le Mars, it's also among the oldest in Iowa. Built by George E. Pew, the site decades ago featured hardware and farm equipment before becoming an auto dealership.
The old-fashioned marble bar came from M&M Bakery & Cafe in O'Neill, Neb., and now welcomes thousands of visitors each month, all eager to have their sweet-tooth satisfied by a wealth of Blue Bunny Ice Cream flavors.
The counter reminds folks of decades past, when such counters were tasty mainstays on Main Streets all across the country.
Visitors are drawn to the site by the iconic sundae sculpture from the first Blue Bunny Parlor & Museum. Once inside, guests may meander through the Blue Bunny gift shop, or spend a few minutes learning how founder Harry C. Wells hatched his "cool" business idea with a horse, wagon and a milk route in 1913. One display case features a contract Wells signed for a milk route on Oct. 24, 1913.
Touch-screen panels enhance the visitor experience in each booth, allowing guests to learn more about the company and this community as they dig in to a sundae or sugar cone treat.
The parlor, measuring 12,000 square feet, also has a grand, open staircase that allows guests access to a second-floor party room, which holds up to 130 people and may be booked for special events hosting up to 130 people. The party room even has a full kitchen, perfect for the creation of special Blue Bunny ice cream treats.
Wells Dairy, the largest employer in Le Mars, boasts employment totals of more than 2,000. Le Mars is also the site of the annual Ice Cream Days celebration, a four-day gala that occurs in June.
SIOUX CITY | One weekend a year, a Sioux City chiropractor puts on pantaloons and picks up his big black drum to become the Scoundrel Fishing Rod.
It's become a tradition for Rod Gaskell, one of the founders of Sioux City’s annual Renaissance fair. River-Cade will celebrate its 11th Gathering of the Kingdom of Riverssance at Riverside Park on Oct. 4 and 5.
Thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers, the Scoundrel among them, festival-goers can step back in time to jolly ol’ England with hundreds of costumed characters, Celtic bands, jousting and smoked turkey legs fit for a queen.
By his account, Rod was roped into the merriment by Phil Claeys. The River-Cade event coordinator always wanted to do a Renaissance festival, but he had never been to one.
Rod and his wife, Diane, had been going to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival for 14 years when the man who would become the “Fallen Friar Phil” tapped them for their expertise on all things related to "pirates, peasants and ye olde performers."
Eventually, Rod agreed to go to a meeting, which turned out to be the first of many. Diane got in on it, too, coordinating some 60-70 vendors.
Outfitted in a long skirt and corset top with billowing sleeves, Diane keeps the merchants in check, making sure they embrace the look of 16th century England and dress the part to herald their goods.
There’s the “net lady” and the blacksmith, vendors selling kilts and other Celtic items, children’s toys, pottery and wine. People sell rocks, leather items, walking sticks and food, of course.
Ahead of the event, Rod is in charge of getting the taps flowing from a makeshift pub.
He’s also the “keeper of the mighty cannon” and performs a variety of other odd jobs leading up to the event. During the two-day festival, he drums around the area to set the ambiance, and he leads everything from the children’s scavenger hunt to the dead keg parade.
SIOUX CITY | Shipping barges rarely pass through Sioux City's stretch of the Missouri River nowadays.
But during the 1990s, more than 100 came through Sioux City each year, carrying massive loads of goods and industrial equipment in and out of the city.
Barges are enormous, flat-bottomed vessels that can carry up to five times their own weight. For the largest barges, that can be up to 1,500 tons.
The boats are typically lashed together and pushed from behind by a towboat or pulled by a tugboat.
Sioux City's barge business ran dry around 2003, after years of flooding and environmental lawsuits prevented the Army Corps of Engineers from providing consistent water levels.
The industry made a brief return in July, when CF Industries contracted a barge to haul hundreds of thousands of pounds of equipment to its expanding fertilizer plant in Port Neal. The company had to ship the materials by barge because they were too heavy to ship easily along rail or roadways.
After the delivery, some speculated that the shipment might spark renewed interest in barge shipping. The Siouxland Chamber of Commerce suggested that shipping along the region's water lanes would complement the air, rail and road infrastructure Sioux City already possesses.
CF plans to complete 10-15 more shipments via barge over the next several months, but the longterm future of the industry remains unclear.
JACKSON, Neb. | It's been years since Midwest farmers and others relied on the wind to provide the water needed for crops and households. Windmill wheels spinning in the breeze in pastures and next to farm homes was once a common sight.
A collection of antique windmills along U.S. Highway 20 near Jackson gives passersby a glimpse into that past and also shows off the variety of the wind-driven machines that at one time were a basic necessity.
The collection of nearly two dozen windmills stands near the entrance to the L.P. Gill Landfill and is open for public perusal. It's not uncommon to see motorists pulled over taking pictures.
The authentically restored windmills date back decades. The frame of a Pipe Raymond made by Althouse-Wheeler Co., of Waupun, Wisconsin, is stamped 1920. Others were made in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and Nebraska. Their manufacturing dates range from the 1880s to 1940. Others were found in Kansas and Minnesota.
Many of the windmills may look alike or very similar, but each one is different.
The collection includes a Perkins Model E, Boss Dempster, Baker Monitor Model M, a 1930s Ozark, a Large Spear Challenge, Fairbanks Morse Eclipse, Pipe Raymond and Dempster No. 9.
The majority of the windmills are wooden-wheel basket types, whose slatted sectional paddles fold in like a bushel basket when not working. Unlike the iconic solid-wheel, or so-called American windmills, they prefer the wind at their backs.
Leonard Gill started the collection in 2003 at a windmill auction near Walthill, Nebraska. He was looking for a decoration for the entrance to the landfill, he said in a 2006 Journal story. Gill acquired many of the others from a windmill collector who could no longer keep up his collection.
SIOUX CITY | Nine hundred years ago, Native Americans of the Mill Creek culture lived along the Big Sioux and Little Sioux rivers and their tributaries.
They farmed and hunted the area until around 1200 A.D. Then they moved west, leaving behind two large archaeological sites north of Sioux City.
Those sites – called Broken Kettle and Kimball – contain the remnants of homes and villages. The Kimball site is north of Stone State Park between the Big Sioux River and the Loess Hills.
Mill Creek villagers fished, farmed and hunted a wide variety of wild game, including bison. They grew traditional crops such as corn, squash and pumpkins but also less common grains such as pigweed. They made tools of bone and stone.
The Mandan and Hidatsa tribes in North Dakota are descendants of the Mill Creek culture.
Several Mill Creek archaeological sites have been identified on the Iowa side of the Big Sioux. None is currently being excavated. Broken Kettle and Kimball are on private property.
However, the Sioux City Public Museum has a display of artifacts from the culture thanks to a long-term loan from the University of Iowa. The items provide an exciting glimpse into the region’s past, said Theresa Weaver-Basye, the museum's curator of education.
“I like to show the artifacts to students just so they understand sort of our place in history,” she said. “We weren’t the first people here. They grew more crops than we do, and they utilized the land in some ways similar to us, but in some ways very different.”
After the Mill Creek people moved west, one of the next significant Native cultures to move into the area was the Oneota. South Dakota's Good Earth State Park at Blood Run was established at the site of a large Oneota encampment along the Big Sioux River between Sioux Falls and Larchwood, S.D.
The park, dedicated in 2013, is part of the Blood Run National Historic Landmark in South Dakota and Iowa.
The Ponca and Omaha tribes in Northeast Nebraska are believed to be descendants of the Oneota.
SIOUX CITY | Thriving in a community that doesn’t share your language and culture is no easy feat.
Mary J. Treglia Community House, at 900 Jennings St., was established in 1921 to help satisfy the needs of the area immigrant population.
The group focuses on educating, empowering and advocating for other cultures in the Siouxland community. Their belief is that encouraging cultural diversity strengthens the entire community.
The group holds pre-school for children whose parents are in the ESL program. The classes are in English and help children develop skills necessary to be successful in kindergarten. The group also has a summer camp, Camp Imagination, to help elementary-aged children retain knowledge and stay active during the summer months.
The group also provides legal immigration and tax preparation services.
The center is named after Mary Treglia, who was born in Sioux City in 1897 and devoted her life to helping those in need.
SIOUX CITY | Life-sized bronze sculptures of Plains animals command attention on the grounds of the Sioux City Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and Betty Strong Encounter Center on the Missouri riverfront, at 900 Larsen Park Road.
The largest is a 1,000-pound buffalo that is joined by a leaping white-tailed deer, two inquisitive coyotes and a life-sized bronze grizzly bear and elk.
The animal sculptures are at home with “Spirit of Discovery,” the Center’s 14-foot bronze sculpture of Capts. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, with Lewis’ black Newfoundland dog, Seaman.
Each sculpture evokes stories of Lewis and Clark, Native peoples and natural resources encountered during the Corps of Discovery’s 28-month journey to the Pacific Ocean and back.
Murals and interactive exhibits help explain events of the journey that occurred in and around present-day Sioux City, from late July to early September 1804, including the illness, death, and burial of Sgt. Charles Floyd.
The American bison recalls the expedition’s unsuccessful efforts to meet with Omaha leaders in mid-August 1804 in the present-day Sioux City area.
The Omahas, who had been ravaged by small pox, may have deliberately avoided the newcomers out of fear of additional exposure to disease.
The nonprofit cultural complex opened in 2002 to commemorate the bicentennial of the Corps of Discovery. The Betty Strong center opened in 2007. The buildings, which cover almost 20,000 square feet, represent a total investment of $8.5 million and are sustained by Missouri River Historical Development Inc.
It is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday; an from noon-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
JEFFERSON, S.D. | It started 29 years ago when the ponies were traded for a different kind of horsepower.
Park Jefferson had been a horse racing facility until it closed in 1982 and remained unused until Ted and Jo Carlson were part of a group that purchased the facility and turned it into a NASCAR dirt racing track in 1984.
“We got the (track) in September and I think we raced that next spring, opened in May,” Ted Carlson said. “It was very, very good. We had a lot of cars and a lot of people.
“At that point and time, it was one of the premiere dirt tracks in the country as far as NASCAR was concerned.”
The track was one of the most popular dirt track destinations in the nation at its best. It has seen its high times and its low and was shut down for three years before it began racing again late in the 2014 season.
Carlson oversaw the track as they put in all of the bleachers, lights, the pit area and the enclosed building that allowed fans to watch the races in air conditioning. To this day it is still one of the features that separates the track from those of similar size.
The track itself presented its own challenges. The horse track was a flat surface meaning banking had to be built into the track design. However, Carlson believes the way it was set up with an open end that led to a corn field allowed racers to be aggressive without the threat of big wrecks or injuries.
Interestingly, the bleachers that were brought in for the track came from the University of Minnesota football field.
Late Models, World of Outlaws, sprint, hobby stock and nearly every class that is currently running at the track raced at Park Jeff at some point. The track was also helped by the fact that several big name NASCAR drivers made their way to Jefferson, S.D., including Kenny Wallace, Ken Schrader, Richard and Kyle Petty and Cale Yarborough.
Carlson owned the track for 28 years until he sold the track in February.
SIOUX CITY | In the late 1970s, the Sioux City Gateway Coalition had a vision to transform the city into a destination for travelers.
To greet those knocking on Sioux City's "front south door," the coalition proposed five pre-cast concrete rainbows, three water fountains and a reflecting pond near a downtown exit.
The final result of the original but slightly modified Gateway Beautification project can be seen today between Interstate 29 and Gordon Drive -- three, 36-ton concrete arches each standing 40 feet tall. The white arches, constructed in 1981, symbolize the coming together of the three states, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.
The estimated $220,800 beautification process was part of a $1 million city project to improve the area. Most of the money was raised by the Sioux City Junior League, City of Sioux City, private investors and various fundraisers.
The Gateway Arches Park was designed as a Sioux City landmark to be viewed at a distance by motorists and not intended to be accessed by pedestrians. While people were not be barred from the park-like area entirely, they were not encouraged to enter it either, especially with brambles and other plants surrounding the arches.
In 1999, the Siouxland Beautification Task Force installed lights near Gateway Park to illuminate the glistening white arches with a cool aqua blue hue for those traveling by the park at night.
Nearly two years ago, the fate of the arches was up in the air because of the ongoing Interstate 29 widening project at Gordon Drive. Most of the people who responded to a community survey said moving and relocating the towering sculpture wouldn't be worth the more than $165,000 cost.
SIOUX CITY | For the past 13 years, performers from near and far have ushered in a new era of entertainment.
Just take the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra and Rockestra concerts. The Broadway shows. And the glittering array of big name entertainers from Bill Cosby, who was the first big-name act to appear at the renovated Orpheum on Sept. 23, 2001, to Ray Charles, James Taylor, Jerry Seinfeld, Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Ron White, Loretta Lynn, Tony Bennett, David Copperfield, B.B. King, Chicago and Tony Bennett, to name a few.
Public radio superstar Garrison Keillor broadcast his show, "A Prairie Home Companion," live from the Orpheum Theatre. "The War of the Worlds" was re-created there. And TV star Guy Fieri brought his high-energy live cooking show to the Orpheum's stage.
The seven-story structure, at 528 Pierce St., was built for $1.27 million in 1927 as a vaudeville and movie palace.
With 2,500 seats, it was one of the largest theaters in the "Orpheum Circuit," an organization that began in 1887 and sponsored high-class vaudeville performers across the country.
In 1969, it was converted to a single movie theater, and re-converted in the 1980s to a twin-screen theater. During this conversion, much of the theater's ornate interior was altered. As Orpheum chronicler George Lindblade described it, the theater suffered "numerous insensitive remodels" over the decades.
But after years of neglect, backers launched the nonprofit Orpheum Theatre Preservation Project that resulted in the painstaking renovation of the vacant theater.
In 1989, the campaign to save the theater was christened "Save Our Orpheum." An architectural treasure, shielded from public view for decades, was brought back to life.
Over the years, the Orpheum has brought to Siouxland touring companies of Broadway shows that have never been seen here before, like "Phantom of the Opera," "Les Miserables," "Mama Mia!" and "Spamalot."
Every year, a Broadway Series of productions brings to town some of the bigger hits.
From its hand-carved detailing, gilded ornamentation and crystal chandeliers, there's passion for the Orpheum Theatre.
SIOUX CITY | Sometimes, you just have to take lemons and turn them into lemonade.
That's what Sioux Gateway Airport did when it was handed the unflattering airport designation, SUX, by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Not that it didn't try to get rid of the moniker first.
In 1988, locals enlisted the Iowa congressional delegation to petition the FAA for something different. When the FAA's five alternatives -- GWU, GYO, GYT, SGV and GAY -- were also deemed unacceptable, officials here gave up and accepted SUX.
First, they owned it. Then, they capitalized on it.
George and LuAnne Lindblade began offering SUX-themed merchandise at their store, Sioux City Gifts. Years later, they're still selling it. T-shirts, mugs, beanies, luggage tags all emblazoned with the "FLY SUX" logo.
There's a "The Joy of SUX" T-shirt for the ladies, as well as a "Flood SUX" T-shirt, a likely shout-out to the destructive Missouri River flood of 2011. There is also the seasonal "Winter SUX" T-shirt.
The logo got more publicity than city leaders could have ever imagined.
A Journal story about the logo was picked up by the Associated Press. Versions of it ran in the New York Times, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. It was covered by the Chicago Tribune, a story about it is still on the website of the LA Times and it was featured on NBC's Today Show.
Even Sioux Gateway's website -- flysux.com -- embraces the logo.
WASHTA, Iowa | The mercury sank beyond what Iowa had ever seen before -- or has since -- on that fateful date 102 years ago.
For on Jan. 12, 1912, the official low temperature at Washta came to 47 degrees below zero, a mark Iowa hasn't sunk to since.
Washta residents celebrate their claim to fame with signs along Iowa Highway 31 on the north and south sides of this town of 248 residents. Occasionally, a passerby pulls off Highway 31 and snaps a photo of the sign. T-shirts celebrating the coldest of cold snaps were sold in recent years at the convenience store in town.
Local lore has it that a young man named Richard Nash in the winter of 1912 took up residence for free in the basement of a bank serving Washta. In return for his lodging, all Nash had to do was shovel coal into the furnace to keep the bank heated.
It's been said Nash shoveled for one month straight.
On that night in 1912, those in town said they could hear steel wheels creaking on the snow 1 1/2 miles away.
The late B.K. Williams, who for years recorded the high and low temperature at Washta for the National Weather Service, often told people that on the morning of Jan. 12, 1912, he could hear the echo of his own footsteps as he walked that morning.
Washta, which was founded in 1869, earned its place in Iowa history. High and low temperatures were recorded by H.L. Felter for the U.S. government as far back as 1897. Washta, a Sioux word meaning "good," was the smallest Iowa community to have a government cooperative weather station.
During the early 1900s, citizens built a weather house complete with instrumentation. It was located on the Rosedale farm east of town.
From 1933 to 1955, however, official records weren't kept. Williams, who ran the newspaper in town, resumed the daily chore at that time, taking readings from a thermometer purchased with community donations.
Persistent cold temperatures in Washta can be attributed to the fact that the town rose in the Little Sioux River Valley, an area where the mercury's free-fall can, obviously, be taken to extremes.
We're defining Siouxland in 150 icons. The daily series began Aug. 17. Follow along at siouxcityjournal.com.
NORTH SIOUX CITY | Well, that's weird. Three roadside signs remain in Union County, S.D., from an aborted nationwide campaign to adopt the metric system.
President George H.W. Bush in the 1990s called for interstate highways to display speed limits not only in miles per hour but also in kilometers per hour. The plan died on the vine, yet the signs remain.
The state first began placing signs with both mph and kph after Bush signed Executive Order 12770 in July 1991.
South Dakota officials decided to get on board with some 1990s metric signage, but the federal push soon languished. The few signs left along South Dakota interstates with dual markings still stand because they haven't needed to be replaced in the intervening two decades.
On northbound Interstate 29, just north of the mile marker 4 exit for McCook Lake, a sign shows the speed limit at 75 mph as well as 120 kph. A kilometer is six-tenths of a mile.
On the southbound side of the highway near the same exit, two signs inform motorists that the speed limit has dropped to 65 mph and 105 kph.
SIOUX CITY | Customers in their 50s and 60s recall their grandmothers wearing long white gloves while purchasing Annaclairs at the former downtown Younkers department store.
At the time, John Sadler, manager of Palmer’s Olde Tyme Candy Shoppe, 405 Wesley Parkway, said Price Candy Company owned a kitchen in each store where they made the sweet treats that feature pecans and a vanilla center covered in chocolate.
The candies, now manufactured in Texas, are a favorite at Palmer's Olde Tyme Candy Shoppe and harken back to a simpler time in Sioux City.
Palmer's famous Twin Bing candy bar reigns supreme at the Candy Shoppe. The round, chewy cherry-flavored nougats coated with a mixture of peanuts and chocolate are a top seller, along with chocolate-covered peanuts.
But the inventory at Palmer's Olde Tyme Candy Shoppe goes beyond delectable confections. To the right of the glass counter displaying fudge and an assortment of hand-decorated truffles, lies the specialty foods sections. Tourists and locals alike can browse an assortment of teas, jams, marinades and so much more. Several of the items for sale are made locally.
Bags of Koated Kernels, produced by Sioux City's own American Popcorn Company -- the makers of Jolly Time -- sit in stacked wicker baskets. The specialty popcorn comes in flavors such as raspberry cheesecake, cinnamon roll and white cheddar.
Jars of Tall Paul's Pickled Asparagus, made in Hinton, Iowa; beer bread mixes from Sac City, Iowa, and Beatrice, Neb.; and bags of roasted coffee from Rosie's Coffee Roasting Co. of Sioux City, also are for sale.
Sadler said he would like to have more Siouxland vendors, but many of them don't have access to a commercial kitchen, a requirement to be able to sell their products in stores.
SIOUX CITY | For nearly 65 years, the name Siouxland has been linked to the names of numerous businesses, organizations and even colleges. It’s used in place of the name of individual towns as a general descriptor of the region along the Big Sioux River, although the Sioux Falls area prefers to be known as the Sioux Empire.
In 1947, then-Journal Sports Editor Alex Stoddard started the Siouxland high school football and basketball rankings. Three years later, he started the Siouxland high school football and basketball Coach of the Year Awards.
Wes Pederson, then a sports editor of the afternoon Journal-Tribune in 1947-48, said he thought Stoddard was the originator of the term.
However, Frederick Manfred is widely credited with originating the term at about the same time.
Manfred was born in 1912 in Doon, lowa. He set many of his novels in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota. Apparently, he wanted a single word to describe the land of the Sioux.
In 1947, he used "Siouxland" in his third novel, "This is the Year," writing about a robin flying north: "At last, in late March, he arrived in Siouxland. He wheeled over the oak-crested, doming hills north of Sioux City, flew up the Big Sioux River, resting in elms and basswords."
Reviewing the novel, Time magazine gave national exposure to the expression when the review quoted Manfred's book.
One of the first uses of "Siouxland" in the city vernacular might have been in the publication of the 1950 dedication program for the Sioux City Municipal Auditorium. The program, owned by George and Lou Ann Lindblade, mentions Siouxland a half-dozen times.
"Although the Lewis and Clark Expedition is the first known location of white man stepping foot in Siouxland, a half century was to pass before settlement began," the program reads.
The explorers buried Sgt. Charles Floyd on a bluff overlooking a small river flowing into the Missouri. They named that river after Floyd. They didn't name it the Big Sioux.
Stoddard died in Sioux City in 1984 at the age of 71. Manfred was 82 when he died in 1994 in Luverne, Minn.
So, which of them was the first to refer to "Siouxland"? We may never know.
ORANGE CITY, Iowa | Each spring, Orange City residents scrub the streets and roll out the red tulips (and yellow tulips and more) for the Orange City Tulip Festival, a celebration of the area's unique Dutch heritage.
Four immigrants from the Netherlands traveled northwest from the Dutch settlement in Pella, Iowa, in 1869 to seek land for a second Iowa Dutch colony. They found a site in Sioux County.
Initially, the site was named Holland, a nod to the homeland of settlers Henry Hospers, Leendert Vander Meer, Dirk Vanden Bos and Hendrick Jan Van De Waa.
The town was soon established and called Orange City, honoring the Royal House of Orange in the old country. Orange City later replaced Calliope as county seat.
By 1871, much of the land around Orange City had been homesteaded, causing additional settlers to venture northwest to a town soon named Sioux Center, for its central location in Sioux County. Sioux Center was incorporated in 1891.
The two cities are now bustling industrial, agricultural, educational, commercial and residential centers. Each boasts a mix of public and private schools, a roster of manufacturers drawing employees from several counties, and Northwestern College in Orange City (enrollment 1,205) and Dordt College in Sioux Center (enrollment 1,459).
The region's Dutch heritage is literally on parade multiple times per day during the Orange City Tulip Festival on the third weekend each May. The 2015 event, slated for May 14-16, will be the 75th celebration.
Residents entertain visitors while paying homage to their Dutch roots by scrubbing the streets, wearing wooden shoes, serving a variety of food found first in the Netherlands and practicing Dutch folk dancing. Tens of thousands of tulips rise from residential and commercial green space, adding to the colorful spectacle and turning thoughts to spring.
And, since 1937 a Tulip Queen has been crowned and an honorary dignitary called the "Burgomeester" has reigned over the celebration. For the first time in 2014, the official "Burgomeester" was a woman, Deb De Haan, who also serves as Orange City mayor.
SIOUX CITY | After bursting onto the national political map in 1976, the Iowa caucuses have remained a key early-state contest in the process of picking a U.S. president every four years.
The caucuses have maintained their first-in-the-nation status in the line of state votes that winnow the field of candidates. Many a candidate has dropped out within a day of faring poorly in Iowa, while others have emerged with wind at their backs while moving onto New Hampshire and other contests.
Caucuses have been held in Iowa since 1846. It was the 1976 surprise second-place finish by little-known Jimmy Carter in Iowa that gave the caucuses their clout. Carter, a Democratic governor from Georgia, won the presidency that year.
That candidate-making heft has caused some states to jealously seek to drop Iowa down later into the process. But Iowa has weathered those battles, remaining one of the few states where candidates come again and again to prove their bona fides with grassroots activists in the Republican and Democratic parties.
The process means that Iowans get some of the first looks at candidates in what are often small campaign events at cafes and libraries. They can directly ask questions and size up the answers.
When caucus night arrives, a swarm of political reporters drape the state as the action plays out in more than 2,000 precincts in 99 counties. They know that no candidate who has placed below third in the caucuses has ever won the party's nomination later in the summer.
The next Iowa caucuses are slated for January 2016, which means the next 15 months will be rife with presidential officeseekers.
SIOUX CITY | Sertoma Park’s sprawling disc golf course is challenging enough to satisfy even the most obsessed disc golf fans, but also scenic and relaxing enough for the more casual player.
The course was established in 2001. It features nine baskets for players to practice their disc golfing skills. The course isn’t a walk in the park -- it features sharp curves, long distances and shots where the basket is not visible from the starting point.
Disc golf is a sport played much like traditional golf, except instead of a ball and clubs, players use a flying disc. The objective is to throw the disc into an elevated metal basket in the fewest number of throws. Players can purchase special weighted Frisbees that allow for a longer throw and more control.
The park is in the 4400 block of Singing Hills Boulevard.
Sertoma Park’s disc golf course was the first course established in the area and proved to be a popular draw. To add more course options to players and keep up with demand, Crystal Cove Park in South Sioux City established a disc golf course in 2011.
Disc golf is particularly popular among college students who refer to the sport as “frolfing,” short for Frisbee golfing.
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.
SIOUX CITY | High-water marks remain on trees and poles next to the Missouri River. Sand deposited by record amounts of water still is found up and down the river's shores through Siouxland.
But cities and owners of homes, businesses, farms and other property along the river are well into the process of moving on from the great Missouri River flood of 2011, if they haven't already.
It should be no surprise to a region filled with resilient people whose older relatives had withstood flooding, tornadoes and other weather-related disasters for years.
By now, the story of the flood is well-known. Record-breaking snowmelt and rainfall in the upper Missouri River basin overwhelmed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' system of dams and reservoirs on the river in the spring of 2011.
The corps released record levels of water from those reservoirs to keep up with the runoff, resulting in flooding up and down the river.
At Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, S.D., releases reached a record high of 160,000 cubic feet per second, and the river level at Sioux City peaked at 35.25 feet, well above the flood stage of 30 feet.
As flooding increased, hundreds of volunteers filled sandbags, helped people whose homes were threatened by rising waters move belongings from their home and donated clothing and household items, sometimes even housing, to those displaced by the flood.
It was no different after the waters began to recede that fall. Volunteers helped tear down levees and sandbag walls. They helped clean flood-damaged parks and neighborhoods.
Municipalities learned several valuable lessons. Levees have been strengthened. Utilities and other public works are better protected. Homeowners have rebuilt.
The river isn't going away, and neither is the spirit of recovery in Siouxland.
SIOUX CITY | Morningside College began sports programs years before Briar Cliff University was founded, but the two teams have since engaged in a spirited rivalry in a host of sports.
Football and basketball games are highlights in the rivalry, but the teams also go up against each other in volleyball, baseball and other sports. After years of playing in other primarily in nonconference contests, both teams moved into the same Great Plains Athletic Conference and now regularly play each other.
The coaches admit there are bragging rights associated with which team wins in the varying sports each year. The basketball rivalry is perhaps the most heated.
The two schools have similar enrollments, and are located roughly seven miles apart in the city. The gyms and fields get noisy come gameday.
While Morningside Mustang supporters arrive with a lot of maroon garb, Briar Cliff Charger fans come in blue and gold clothes. Or even a hard hat.
The blue hard hat worn by a leader of Briar Cliff's student section now rests in the school's hall of fame. BC 2010 grad Dennis Klein said the two teams' games in sports other than football are more fun because they are usually more evenly matched. But in the 12 years since BC launched a football team, the Mustangs have dominated.
"I respect them because they're a good all-around program, but I still don't care for them," said Klein, a native of Hospers, Iowa.
Gina Cougill, of Sioux City, has seen both sides of the rivalry. A Morningside athlete in the 1980s, she switched her support to the cross-town rival four years ago when her son announced he would be playing football for the Chargers. She bought a Briar Cliff sweatshirt that same day.
"A rivalry is a rivalry, no matter what level. You're excited all week to play," said Cougill.
SPENCER, Iowa | Billed as “The World’s Greatest County Fair,” the Clay County Fair will celebrate its centennial in 2017 with what organizers hope will be the “World’s Greatest County Fairgrounds.”
Centennial Vision, a multi-year, multi-million-dollar makeover of the fairgrounds, is designed to make it a shining jewel not only for the fair’s centennial but also for the next 100 years of use, said Jeremy Parsons, fair manager.
Centennial Vision kicked into high gear at this year's fair. The $20 million project should be completed in 10 years.
The first of the Centennial Vision projects, to be completed in the spring, is the complete renovation of the original east gate to the fairgrounds.
Other plans include construction of a new exhibit building, a redesign of the north entrance and putting a roof over the outdoor arena.
The Spencer county fair is second in the state behind the Iowa State Fair when it comes to attendance.
Last year's Clay County Fair attracted more than 300,000 visitors and brought in about $6 million to the Spencer area. Preliminary figures show more than 323,000 people attended this year's fair, held Sept. 6-14.
Some of its claims to fame include hosting the largest agricultural machinery exhibition in North America, with 35 acres of equipment, as well as qualifying in 2013 for a Guinness World Record.
Last year, it hosted 771 people in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics-related lecture, demonstrations and two experiments showing the power of air.
Guinness World Record officials reviewed materials and designed the activity the world's “largest practical science lesson.”
SIOUX CITY | Spanning from Iowa to Nebraska, the Veterans Memorial Bridge has served to connect the peoples of each state for more than 30 years.
The tied-arch bridge is part of U.S. Route 77, stretching across the Missouri River to connect Sioux City with South Sioux City. Serving as a primary route between the two cities, the bridge sees near-constant traffic.
On the north side of the river, Wesley Parkway leads onto the 1,502-foot span, connecting to Dakota Avenue on the south side. The bridge has four lanes for traffic and sidewalks for pedestrians.
Completed in 1981, the $28 million Veterans Memorial Bridge replaced the old Combination Bridge — a structure that had served the area with both road and rail transport for over 80 years.
Little more than a year after it opened, inspectors found a serious fracture in the bridge. A major component of the bridge failed to meet minimum strength requirements, requiring a fix to the problem.
The bridge was closed in 1982, from May 6 to Dec. 9, when two lanes were opened. The bridge wasn't completely opened until May 9, 1983.
More recently, the bridge benefited from a $400 million project to modernize Interstate 29. The construction improved the approaches on I-29 and Wesley Parkway to the bridge in 2013.
SIOUX CITY | Ida Grove, Iowa, native Harold Hughes had a notable road through life, moving from being a truck driver to governor and then U.S. senator.
He admitted problems with alcoholism. He ended his time in political office encouraging others to embrace religion and counseling to conquer their own battles with alcohol.
Hughes was lauded as a political giant during funeral ceremonies after he died Oct. 24, 1996, at age 74, in Arizona. Hundreds attended his memorial service in Des Moines.
Sioux City labor leader MacDonald Smith at the time called Hughes "one of the giant political leaders in this state. His post-public life was an effort to help people."
Hughes was born Feb. 10, 1922, and was an all-state high school football player at Ida Grove. He attended the University of Iowa for two years through 1941 before serving in World War II.
He later rose to become an executive in a trucking business and moved into politics out of displeasure with government rules on the industry. That was followed by a term on the Iowa Commerce Commission.
A Democrat, Hughes was elected to three two-year terms as governor, serving from 1963 to 1969. He decided to run for a U.S. Senate seat in 1968 and won a six-year term. His time on the Senate involved two main issues: alcohol/drug treatment programs and his transition from supporting to opposing the Vietnam War. His decision not to run again in 1974 surprised many people.
U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said Hughes was a guiding light during the early years of his own political career.
"He was a very compassionate man," Harkin said. "He just had a grasp of the common person. He just understood people really well. He came from the wrong side of the tracks and he was never afraid to talk about that. He always stuck up for people who started from the bottom."
Hughes attempted another bid for governor, but pulled out in early 1982 after residency questions following his move back to Iowa from Maryland. That step disappointed him.
"I feel deprived of the right to raise the challenge again," he said at the time.
Iowa had a host of Republican governors in the 20th century. The Democratic governors after Hughes were Tom Vilsack and Chet Culver, who won in three straight elections from 1998 through 2006.
Editor's Note:An earlier version of this story omitted Culver from the list of Democratic governors.
SIOUX CITY | Doug Smith is arguably the greatest track and field athlete in city history.
Smith was a talented distance runner for strong Central High School track and field teams in the late 1960s.
Running on old cinder tracks and in the years before the conversion from yards to meters, Smith set city records in the mile (4:12.6) and 2-mile (9:09.0) that still hold today.
Smith opened his running career by setting a national freshman record in the mile in 4:15.5. Smith had to get a special exemption from the city to compete as a freshman as ninth-graders were not at the high school and we’re not eligible to compete on the varsity squad.
Smith won three consecutive state titles in the mile his sophomore through senior seasons. Smith helped the Little Maroons of coach Mark McLarnan capture team state championships as a sophomore in 1966 and as a junior in 1967. Central missed out on a potential third straight state title in 1968 due to a disqualification in the medley relay, finishing third.
Smith also won three straight Drake Relays titles in the mile, where he established his city mark of 4:12.6 as a senior in 1968.
Central dominated the 2-mile relay, winning four straight Drake Relays titles in the event (1965-68) and a pair of state titles (1966, 1968) as the foursome of senior Bill Adams, sophomore Steve Koson, junior Greg Coons and senior Steve Gerkin established the city record with a 7:47.7 in 1966, a time that still ranks second on the all-time Iowa high school charts.
Relay wins in the 440 and medley, along with Gerkin’s individual state title in the 880, aided the 1966 state title team. The Maroons won the 880 relay and medley in the 1967 title run.
Smith ran on four cross country teams that won state titles, winning three individual state titles. Coming in an impressive run where the Maroons captured eight state titles in an 11-year span. Coach Ray Obermiller coached the first six of those before coach Bob Provose was at the helm for the 1966 and 1967 seasons.
Central athletes won 18 Drake Relays titles before the school closed in 1972, including an impressive double in 1958 from Jim Moore, anchoring the medley and 2-mile relay teams to victory.
OKOBOJI, Iowa | Northwest Iowa's tourism mecca surrounds and includes the natural glacial lakes that require a liberal use of blue in creating a Dickinson County map.
It starts with West Lake Okoboji, the deepest natural lake in Iowa with its maximum depth of 138 feet. The Wisconsin glacier formed West Lake some 14,000 years ago.
Big Spirit Lake, Little Spirit Lake, East Lake Okoboji, Upper Gar Lake, Lower Gar Lake and Lake Minnewashta complement West Lake Okoboji, their big cousin. Not far to the west is Silver Lake, located on the west side of Lake Park, Iowa.
The Dickinson County cities of Arnolds Park, Lake Park, Milford, Okoboji, Spirit Lake, Terril, Wahpeton and West Okoboji range in size from 4,952 (Spirit Lake) to 294 (West Okoboji). They embrace these bodies of blue water and what they mean to the quality of life for those who choose to reside here or visit.
Year-round, the Dickinson County population is 16,424. On Memorial Day, some 100,000 people stay here. That figure grows to 120,000 by July 4.
Some come for the stability work offers through a variety of homegrown manufacturing outlets. Others ply their wares seasonally, targeting that surging population base during spring and summer, giving rise to Arnolds Park Amusement Park and the nation's seventh-oldest roller coaster, a renovated marvel called The Legend.
In addition, there are all sorts of Great Lakes bars, eateries, marinas, parks, trails and more.
There's even a classic homegrown clothier, The Three Sons, based in Milford, Iowa, that landed its biggest catch in a fictitious fish called The University of Okoboji, an institution that exists only in the minds of vacationers, fun-seekers and dreamers who find Okoboji and the Iowa Great Lakes more a carefree way of life than a series of blue dots on the Iowa map.
SIOUX CITY | Some of the biggest entertainers in the world stopped in Sioux City over the past 150 years, but no one made a more lasting impression than Elvis Presley.
Performing at the Municipal Auditorium early in his career, Presley made girls swoon, parents angry and one critic shake her head.
After Presley’s May 23, 1956, appearance, Sioux City Journal critic Marjorie Howe wrote: “He has a sulky look and his infrequent expression is almost surly. He wears long sideburns and is beginning to get fat. (When) finally Presley appeared, the contortions and tumult began. The act was merely variations on a single theme, except that every new wiggle was a little more ‘low-down’ in Presley’s own words, and quite soon the orgy was ended. The only consolation is a prediction that Elvis Presley’s sensational popularity will be short lived.”
Howe wasn’t very prophetic – even years after his death, Presley continues to reign as the king of rock and roll. His legacy is so great Siouxlanders still talk about the Day Elvis Played Sioux City.
Barely 21, Presley arrived in town on the day his song “I Want You, I Love You, I Need You” hit No. 1 on the charts.
Some 5,000 fans clamored to see him as part of a multiple-act bill. Tickets were $1.50, $2 and $2.50.
In Sioux City, he drove around town in a Cadillac, stayed at the Warrior Hotel and ate dinner with longtime Sioux City promoter Bill Hawkins. Surprisingly, no one recognized Presley at the restaurant.
At the auditorium, fans filled every available seat.
Sioux City musician Jack Langley attended the concert and agreed it was a mob scene. “It took a half-hour for us to squeeze and wedge our way to the stage. It may have been warm in there. I don’t know. All I remember is the electricity. He came out there with a saunter like he knew what he was doing.”
Presley spent 20 or 30 minutes on stage, singing six or seven songs.
Police officers kept teens away from the stage but they couldn’t keep them out of the aisles. Realizing the frenzy they had on their hands, promoters hinted that Presley might play an encore after his set. He didn’t and, no, no one said, “Elvis has left the building.”
WESTFIELD, Iowa | A unique stretch of land gives visitors a glance at what Siouxland looked like for centuries before European settlers began arriving in the 1800s.
The Broken Kettle Grasslands Preserve near Westfield contains more than 3,000 acres north of Sioux City that represents the prairie environment that once was common here. It's Iowa's largest native prairie.
Also found grazing in the grasslands is a bison herd of approximately 130.
In 1993, The Nature Conservancy bought three properties totaling 642 acres and has since acquired more than 20 additional properties, bringing its total ownership to more than 3,217 acres at Broken Kettle.
The group reintroduced 28 genetically pure bison from western South Dakota to Broken Kettle in 2008 to help control invasive plant species and create habitat for other grassland animals.
The bison subsist on foraging. They are not fed hay or other feed.
“We make ‘em work, and that’s what we brought them in for,” Scott Moats, director of stewardship for the Iowa chapter of The Nature Conservancy, said recently. “We wanted the bison to manage the prairie.”
Heavily grazed areas provide habitat for animals that like open, short-grass areas, such as spade foot toads, killdeer and snakes. Other animals flourish in the taller, less-grazed fields.
A recently purchased 65-acre strip will connect two large tracts of land, expanding the bison's range from about 1,700 acres to approximately 2,500 acres.
The bison cannot enter a 550-acre hiking area. Cattle graze on another section of the property, which also is inhabited by the only population of prairie rattlesnakes left in Iowa.
WEST OKOBOJI, Iowa | The Iowa Rock 'n' Roll Music Association formed in 1997 to recognize the state’s contribution to the genre. It’s been growing ever since with a mission to promote and preserve music history.
More than 360 artifacts are on display in a museum maintained by the association in Arnolds Park Amusement Park.
Exhibits include a 1966 Wurlitzer jukebox, a 1940s wire recorder, the gold record of "Peter Rabbit" by Dee Jay & the Runaways, Paul Revere & the Raiders' VOX keyboard, a napkin signed by all the original Crickets, including Buddy Holly, costumes worn by the hottest Iowa bands in the 1950s, '60s and '70s, and much more.
About two-thirds of the nonprofit organization’s memorabilia is in storage.
An effort is underway to secure funding for a new facility for the Iowa Rock 'n' Roll Music Association in the Iowa Great Lakes.
Plans call for a 12,000-square-foot center with exhibit space, office area, outdoor Hall of Fame and guitar-shaped amphitheater with roof seating along Iowa Highway 86 in West Okoboji.
FEH Associates Inc., of Sioux City, is designing the project. A groundbreaking is slated for 2015. Construction is expected to take about two years on land that was donated by Toby and Sylvia Shine, owners of the adjacent Okoboji Classic Cars Museum.
The current location, at 800 square foot, is expected to serve as a satellite location. The summer concert series, “Rock the Roof,” will continue there as well.
In addition to sustaining a museum, the association also provides music education programs to schools, churches and youth groups statewide and honors those who have made an impact on Iowa’s rock 'n’ roll music scene.
This year’s hall of fame inductees with Sioux City ties include Ronnie Meek and Tom Gilman, Don Bourrett, Instant Blues Machine and Kent Larson. Also, the Chesterfield, at 1225 Fourth St., received a Spirit Award for its outstanding contribution to the preservation of music in Iowa.
SIOUX CITY | Heading into Sioux City’s Morningside neighborhood, nestled within the city’s South Ravine Park, is a memorial to Roselie Menard Leonais, better known as the First Bride’s Grave.
Erected in 1938 by the Woodbury County Pioneer Club, the monument was designed to honor the woman believed to be the first bride of a non-Native American resident of the area.
Born in 1838, she was the daughter of a French-Canadian pioneer named Louis Menard and his Native American wife, Klanhaywin. The couple bore two more daughters and four sons.
Around 1852, Menard’s family moved into a plot of land that would later become Sioux City.
Situated near Perry Creek and the Missouri River, the Menard family met another French-Canadian pioneer named Joseph Leonais who also happened to live in the area.
Still in her teens, Roselie married Leonais, who was about 29, in 1853. The ceremony was performed by a traveling Catholic priest.
For a time, the Leonais family lived in a cabin near Perry Creek. Later they moved to a farm near the Floyd River.
Roselie and Joseph had four children together. Their names were Joseph II, Josephine, Roselie and William.
Shortly after William’s birth in 1865, Roselie died at age 27.
Her distinction as Sioux City's first white bride is not universally accepted. Another white woman, Mary Ann Lapora, was a Sioux City bride eight years earlier than Roselie, according to other reports. Lapora, who was widowed, married Charles Sangster in 1845. Sangster operated one of Sioux City's first general stores.
Incidentally, Lapora was Menard's sister-in-law. According to a story in the Centennial edition of the Sioux City Journal, Lapora moved to Sioux City on Dec. 3, 1854, from Canada.
Roselie's first white bride's status also is questioned by those who point out she was half Native American.
SIOUX CITY | He was the consummate gym rat, tagging along with his dad to all of those West High basketball practices, soaking up knowledge like a sponge, and honing his emerging skills one dribble and one shot at a time.
Jim Hinrich, head coach of the West boys team, had been a talented player in his own right, starring at old Central High and then Briar Cliff College.
There was no telling, really, how far the game might take his son, Kirk. And, even as the ceiling on those expectations just continued to rise, the skeptics were certainly numerous and outspoken.
They doubted what he might accomplish at West, even as he helped the Wolverines reach four state tournaments in a row and win Sioux City’s first state basketball title in 65 years.
They also doubted he was equal to the challenge Roy Williams handed him at Kansas University, where Hinrich started four seasons, culminating in two Final Fours and a national runner-up finish in 2003 (an 81-78 loss to Syracuse).
The seventh pick in a star-studded 2003 NBA draft that included LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, Hinrich wound up with the Chicago Bulls, where he became known as “Captain Kirk.’’
After a two-year detour took him to Washington and Atlanta, he returned to Chicago in 2012-13 and is entering his 12th NBA season and his 10th season overall with the Bulls.
A suburban Chicago resident since early in his NBA career, Hinrich’s first 11 seasons in the league have reaped nearly $66.1 million in salaries, according to Basketball-Reference.com. A two-year contract extension he signed in July will increase his earnings to almost $71.7 million.
Kirk, whose mother, Nancy, was a longtime Sioux City teacher and coach, was married July 7, 2007, to his high school sweetheart, the former Jill Fisher, a state long jump champion and volleyball star at Bishop Heelan.
The couple now has four children with the arrival Sept. 12 of twins, a boy and a girl, to join daughters Kenzie, 6, and Kyla, 3.
SIOUX CITY | All of Russ and Diana Guhin Wooley's world has been a stage for well over three decades.
The Sioux City natives founded Lamb Arts Regional Theatre 35 years ago. The business, named after the couple’s shared sheep-ish surname, is one of the few privately held, non-equity professional theaters in the country.
For the first seven seasons, the Wooleys rented the second floor ballroom at the Sioux City Hilton Inn, which provided meals for the dinner theater. Soon, it became clear the production company needed a place of its own.
Marvin and Frances Kline, longtime supporters of the arts in Siouxland, helped the Wooleys take the next step. In 1986, Lamb became a subchapter S corporation and found a permanent home in the former Webster School, at 417 Market St.
Eight years ago, Lamb became a nonprofit organization.
Now, for $1 per year, the production company leases the two-story building from the city, which is the same amount charged to other nonprofit groups that use city-owned facilities.
Throughout the years, the Wooleys have appeared on stage in the 200-seat theater, coming alongside countless others local performers.
In addition to putting on productions, the theater company has been offering arts education programs to students since 1989. Diana Guhin Wooley operates the Lamb School of Theatre & Music. Formerly, she taught both subjects in the Sioux City Community School District for 22 years.
Lamb has experienced significant growth in the past decade or so through expanded offerings.
A black box theater was created in 2002, adding a second performance space with an intimate setting able to accommodate 40-60 people, depending on configuration.
The Lamb Caravan was created in 2009, and the first year, it traveled 2,137 miles through five states performing “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” giving students to opportunity to experience a touring show.
SOUTH SIOUX CITY | Hundreds of Vietnam veterans filled Siouxland Freedom Park on May 18 to pay tribute to their fallen comrades.
Inscribed on the half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall are the names of more than 58,000 people who died in the Vietnam War.
South Sioux City's 250-foot black granite wall is the only exact replica that duplicates the original design in Washington, D.C. The granite came from the same quarry in India.
The wall's completion officially opened a segment of Phase I of the $4 million, 55-acre park, at 1101 Foundry Road, dedicated to those who have served and died for their country.
The John Douangdara Memorial War Dog Park was completed on Memorial Day 2013. It is dedicated to U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class John Douangdara, a South Sioux City native, who died Aug. 6, 2011, when his helicopter crashed in Afghanistan.
When finished, the park will include a visitor's center, an amphitheater, family leisure space and walking trails.
Siouxland Freedom Park started from the desire of local veterans and others to have a Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall replica on permanent display in the region.
The idea arose after more than 11,000 people from across the area visited a traveling replica of the Wall erected on the riverfront for a few days in October 2007.
SIOUX CITY | The landscape of the Loess Hills is unlike any other found in North America -- rolling hills give way to steep bluffs adjacent to the Missouri River.
Loess, pronounced "luss," means loose or crumbly in German.
These hills were formed by wind-deposited silt from the Missouri River Valley flood plain 10,000 to 20,000 years ago. China is the only other place in the world that has taller loess formations.
The Loess Hills stretch from Westfield, Iowa, in the north to Mound City, Missouri. The western Loess Hills once were home to elk, buffalo, wolves and black bear, among other wildlife. Native American tribes, including the Sioux and Omaha Indians, camped and hunted in the hills and used them for burial grounds.
Today, Loess Hills is an outdoor lover's paradise, equipped with public camping, boating, fishing and hunting areas, as well as hiking and biking trails.
The Loess Hills National Scenic Byway, a network of federal, state and county roads, gives motorists easy access to the region's forests and preserves.
Loess Hills State Forest in Harrison and Monona counties offers a large observation deck for tourists and residents to enjoy panoramic views of the hills and valleys.
SIOUX CITY | The last major piece of the River's Edge project was unveiled on Oct. 11, 2001, as Long Lines Ltd. stepped forward to acknowledge its $750,000 donation and acquisition of naming rights of the Sioux City Auditorium.
The auditorium was renamed Long Lines Family Center after the 60-year-old Sergeant Bluff-based communications firm. Chuck Long, chairman of Long Lines, said the $750,000 donation was a sharing of blessings from the Long Lines family to the Siouxland family.
The Long Lines Family Center was one of two components of the Tyson-IBP Event Center. The second component -- the new arena, known as Gateway Arena -- was to be built adjacent to the auditorium. The auditorium, which held about 2,500 seats, was completely gutted and renovated and turned into a multipurpose center with support space for the event center.
In the audience during the announcement were several employees and family members of the Long family.
The idea to turn the auditorium into some type of family center came from Mayor Marty Dougherty.
"We knew we would have a fantastic opportunity in this historic auditorium we have," Dougherty said in 2001. "This will create the kind of place we have not had in Siouxland before -- a place for special events like walk-a-thons, indoor soccer matches and many other community and family events. This is a great gift that Siouxland will enjoy for many years."
Ritch LeGrand, a member of the citizens committee that helped raise private donations, said all who worked on the River's Edge project were humbled by the generosity of Sioux City efforts.
YANKTON, S.D. | During a normal spring and summer of rain and runoff, Gavins Point Dam is a sight to behold.
Stretching 8,700 feet across the Missouri River near Yankton and rising 74 feet high, the earth-fill dam backs up the river, creating Lewis & Clark Lake behind it.
It's an even more impressive sight during times of high water, such as the flood of 2011, when record water releases of 160,200 cubic feet per second spilled through the dam's 14 gates. Thousands of visitors flocked to the dam that summer to catch sight of the roaring water as it swirled and foamed along the dam's spillway.
But in calmer times, Gavins Point Dam provides many things to many people. Construction began in May 1952, and the dam was closed across the river in July 1955. The dam has been providing hydroelectricity since September 1956.
Lewis & Clark Lake behind the dam is a summer recreation destination for thousands of people in the region. The 25-mile long lake has 90 miles of shoreline, providing ample opportunities for camping and boating. The lake is also a destination for sailing and fishing, and bald eagles are regularly seen perched in the trees along the shore or soaring above the water, watching for fish.
The dam, overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is one of six built to provide flood control on the Missouri River. It was built for just under $50 million.
Visitors can get an up-close look at the dam by driving over it. Tours of the power plant are also popular field trips. The Lewis and Clark Visitors Center, which sits perched on a bluff on the Nebraska side of the river, gives visitors a bird's-eye view of the dam and the lake behind it.
SIOUX CITY | From roller coasters to jousting tournaments, Sioux City's Riverside Park has featured a little bit of everything over the past century.
Located along the Big Sioux River, the park is a draw for anglers, as well as local arts festivals and other recreational activities.
One of the first attractions ever brought to Riverside Park was the "Switchback Pleasure Railway," a roller coaster built in the 1890s, where the Sioux City Community Theatre is now located. Later additions included the "Figure Eight" roller coaster and the "Giant Swing," both situated around Council Oak Drive.
A new amusement park with a much wider variety of rides, called Riverview Park, was opened in 1927. It was located in the southern portion of today's park, but ceased operations in 1953.
The Gordon Twin Drive-in Theater was erected in its place soon after, but was demolished to make room for a section of Interstate 29.
Today's Riverside Park has abandoned some of the thrills of an amusement venue to take on a more traditional role. With ample green space, playground equipment and a swimming pool, the spot now serves as a public area for light recreation.
Recently, the park hosted the annual Riversssance Festival, which brings professional jousting, swordfighting and other medieval fare to the edge of the Big Sioux.
The park also has been home to the ArtSplash Festival, a two-day exhibition for visual and performance artists. The event raises money for the Sioux City Art Center each summer.
SIOUX CITY | From the sleek fighter jets to the big fuel tankers, aircraft taking off from the 185th Air Refueling Wing, Iowa Air National Guard, base in Sioux City have been a fixture in Siouxland skies since 1946.
Originally equipped with P-51 Mustangs, the base for years was home to fighter pilots and jets. Pilots and personnel from the base were activated for wars in Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East.
In 2003, the Department of Defense changed the 185th's mission. The fighter jets were gone, and in their place were KC-135 Stratotankers, large aircraft that refuel other aircraft in midair.
The base's role may have changed, but that hasn't meant a change in the role 185th personnel play in military conflicts all over the world. The 185th's eight tankers are rarely all in Sioux City at the same time. At least one tanker and crew is deployed on a mission somewhere in the world at almost all times.
The base also has its own fire department, which provides fire protection for the airfield and Sioux Gateway Airport but has also been called out to assist area fire departments.
The 185th's role in the community is more than the aircraft and equipment located at the base. Its presence has inspired the military careers of countless Siouxlanders, many of whom have wound up serving there.
It is one of Sioux City's largest employers with more than 900 full- and part-time employees, both military and civilian. Many of those workers are mainstays in volunteer organizations throughout the area.
In its annual report, the 185th estimated that in fiscal year 2013, through payroll, value of jobs created, student assistance/incentives and annual expenditures, it had an economic impact of $79.3 million in Siouxland.
SIOUX CITY | “Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.”
Millions know Sioux City native Macdonald Carey for just those words, the introduction to the long-running soap, “Days of Our Lives.”
But Carey was more than just patriarch Tom Horton on the NBC drama.
Long before he became one of the first big names to try daytime television, he had an illustrious career in films.
Born in Sioux City in 1913, Carey first caught the performing bug at Central High School where he sang in the school choir and appeared in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. He parlayed that interest into a degree in drama at University of Iowa.
Like so many stars during World War II, Carey juggled acting and military service. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1943 but also managed to make some of his biggest films – Alfred Hitchcock’s “Shadow of a Doubt” among them – during the same time.
Carey then launched a career in television. Juggling both films and television, he played “Dr. Christian” on a syndicated television series and Herb Maris in “Lock-Up.” During television’s golden age in the 1950s, he was a regular on such anthologies as “Zane Grey Theater.”
And then? Daytime television came calling. Carey signed on in 1965 as Dr. Tom Horton in “Days of Our Lives” and played the role until his death in 1994. He won the first two Daytime Emmys ever given for an actor in a soap opera. As a tribute to his contributions to the show, producers continue to use his voice to introduce each episode of the series.
Carey’s autobiography, “The Days of My Life,” was released in 1991.
Carey died March 21, 1994, less than a week after his 81st birthday. He is buried in Culver City, Calif., and remembered with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
SIOUX CITY | He was born in Sioux City on Feb. 24, 1925, as George Everett Day, but most people know him as Bud.
The former colonel and pilot served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
He became one of the most highly decorated servicemen as well as an unwavering advocate for veterans rights.
Day was 17 when he dropped out of Central High School in 1942 and volunteered for the U.S. Marine Corps. After spending 30 months in the South Pacific during World War II, he returned home and enrolled at Morningside College.
Day joined the Army Reserve in 1946 and served for three years. He continued his military career when he was recalled to active duty in 1951 by the U.S. Air Force. He served two tours during the Korean War as a fighter-bomber pilot. He then spent four years flying fighter jets in England.
After he volunteered for a tour in the Vietnam War, Day was assigned to fly an F-100 fighter bomber in South Vietnam. During a mission in 1967, his aircraft was shot down and he was captured. He shared a cell with future U.S. Sen. John McCain, from Arizona, who was a Navy lieutenant commander.
In 1973, after five years and seven months as a prisoner of war, Day was released and within three days was reunited with his wife and four children. Three years later, President Gerald Ford awarded Day the Medal of Honor for his bravery while a captive in North Vietnam. He also received the Air Force Cross, the second highest military award given to members of the USAF.
Day retired from active duty in 1977 and had a total of nearly 8,000 flying hours. Sioux Gateway Airport was named in his honor -- Col. Bud Day Field -- in May 2002.
Day published two autobiographies about his experiences as a POW: “Return with Honor” and “Duty, Honor, Country.”
He died July 27, 2013, at his home in Shalimar, Fla., at age 88.
SIOUX CITY | Even through severe flooding and economic tumult, Historic Fourth Street has withstood more than a century as one of Sioux City's major attractions.
Reaching from Iowa Street to Virginia Street, the two-block stretch serves as the core of the city's entertainment scene. Going back as far as the 19th century, however, the area has always been a local economic hub.
In the late 1800s, Sioux City's rapidly expanding stockyards and rail system attracted investors and real estate developers. Eight new buildings were constructed on Fourth Street from from 1888 to 1892, including the Boston Block and the Hotel Gordon.
Most construction in the area stalled when the Floyd River flooded in 1892, and a stock market crash the following year slashed real estate values. For about 20 years, development on Fourth Street slowed to a crawl.
The city would go on to recover, but many buildings on Fourth Street remained neglected into the 1980s. It was 1984 when Aalf's Manufacturing completed a major restoration of Boston Block, which kicked off a chain of other revitalization projects that restored the area's former image.
In 1995, the two blocks between Iowa and Virginia streets were given spots on the National Register of Historic Places, due to the area's 19th century architecture and contributions to the city's history.
Today, the area is home to several popular bars and restaurants, as well as upscale shops and boutiques.
SOUTH SIOUX CITY | In its heyday, Atokad Downs drew busloads of out-of-state residents eager to enjoy a day of betting on a full slate of thoroughbred racing.
As a boy, Dan Doocy and his family traveled to Atokad from their home in Iowa to watch his brother, Tim Doocy, ride racehorses.
“Racing was kind of robust then,” said Dan Doocy, the former general manager of the South Sioux City track, which closed in September 2012. “The crowds were plentiful and the fields were full.”
The number of fans in the once-packed grandstands began to dwindle in the late 1980s, as other, faster-paced forms of gambling emerged in the region. One of the biggest blows was the arrival of a riverboat casino in neighboring Sioux City in 1993.
Atokad lost its state racing license in 1998 due to financial problems, and went into receivership the following year. It later regained its license, but as attendance continued to lag, the racing schedule was cut back. In its final five years, it held only one live day of racing per year, the minimum the state required for horse tracks to offer betting year-round on races simulcast at other tracks around the country.
In May 2012, the beleaguered track and buildings were sold to Ho-Chunk Inc., the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska's economic development corporation. Atokad closed three months later, ending 56 years of horse racing.
Atokad's owner, the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, used the proceeds to help construct a new track in Lincoln that replaced the previous one that was razed for an expansion of the University of Nebraska campus.
Ho-Chunk demolished the Atokad grandstand and other buildings to make way for a proposed $30 million casino and entertainment venue that the corporation unveiled last year.
MCCOOK LAKE, S.D. | The Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve spans 1,500 acres along the Missouri River.
Adams, which is 2 miles southwest of McCook, at Exit 4 off Interstate 29, features miles of trails that wind through prairie, forest and along the riverbank. The nature preserve is home to more than 100 species of birds, a variety of native plants and a number of different animals.
The area was donated to the people of South Dakota by Mary and Maud Adams, granddaughters of original homesteader Stephen Searl Adams, in 1984.
Mary and Maud Adams envisioned the area as a place where people, particularly children, could enjoy the land and learn more about the natural world surrounding them.
Adams features classes for budding naturalists -- ranging from toddlers to teenagers. It's also a popular place for school field trips and summer camps.
In the winter, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing remain popular family activities and people of all ages continue to use the nature trail as a source of exercise.
The preserve is operated by South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks at 272 Westshore Drive.
SIOUX CITY | The extensive reach of the former Argosy casino's rotating searchlight is but a distant memory.
The intense beam of light, which could be seen from miles away, was shut off for good when the floating casino closed July 30. The replica of the old-fashioned, 55-foot-tall lighthouse that housed the searchlight was recently dismantled.
The beacon was a special "design element" Argosy added when it completed a $20 million makeover of its Missouri River complex in 2004. The changes included replacing an older, smaller boat with three times more gaming space.
The lighthouse was meant to draw attention to the gaming complex on the banks of the Missouri River.
While the constant rotating beam grew to become a familiar part of the nighttime downtown skyline, it also was an annoyance for many residents. It could be seen as far north as Elk Point, S.D., as far south as Sergeant Bluff, and plenty of places in between.
In fact, the light was so far-reaching, city officials once debated whether it was too bright. They heard from constituents who complained the rotating beacon shined directly into their homes.
At a 2007 meeting, then-City Councilman Jim Rixner described the beam as "distracting" and "light pollution throughout the city."
City legal staff found there was no city ordinance governing its brightness.
The impact of the light decreased as a talking point in more recent years as the Argosy engaged in a high-stakes legal fight to keep the floating casino open. The boat's owner was forced to shut down.
Mike's Inc., an Illinois-based marine business, acquired the former Argosy assets. Last month, the three-deck boat, a replica of a 1920s paddlewheeler, was piloted to a shipyard in Wood River, Ill.
SIOUX CITY | The NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Championship has become as much a right of spring here as the melting of the snow and the chirping of birds in the air.
Since 1998, Sioux City has played host to 32 of the nation’s top basketball teams from NAIA Division II. It has not only provided excitement for basketball fans, but acted as an economic boost for the city as well.
According to David Harris, a sports and sales representative for Sioux City, the “bounce” businesses see during tournament time -- the second week of March each year -- can approach $4 million.
That’s what happens when nearly 34,000 people pass through the gates to see the action, a number that doesn’t include hundreds of players and coaches.
The tournament was held in Monmouth, Ore., from its inception in 1992 until 1995, when it moved to Angola, Ind., for two years. It’s been firmly entrenched in Sioux City since 1998, first at the Sioux City Auditorium and for the last decade at the Tyson Events Center.
Walsh (Ohio) captured the national championship the first season it was held here, defeating Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) 73-66 in the title game. Shawnee State (Ohio) and Mary (N.D.) won the next two and in 2001, the Great Plains Athletic Conference began to flex its muscles.
Northwestern won its first of five national crowns that season and GPAC schools proceeded to win the next five years. Hastings went back-to-back in 2002 and 2003 while Morningside College, the hometown school, reigned supreme in 2004 and 2005. Hastings won again in 2006.
Northwestern’s five crowns set the pace as the Red Raiders won again in 2008 and three in a row from 2010-2012. Morningside captured its third championship in 2009.
SIOUX CITY | In the mid-1980s, interest swirled around something called “The Gopher Gap”: Would Iowans buy a television star as their congressman?
Quickly, the answer was “yes” and native Sioux Cityan Fred Grandy was able to launch a new career after years on “The Love Boat” as the goofy purser Burl “Gopher” Smith.
In 1986, Grandy was elected to represent the Sixth District, replacing longtime Congressman Berkley Bedell. He gained considerable attention in Washington – thanks to the TV connection – and pleased Northwest Iowa voters often enough to stay in office until 1995.
During his four terms, Grandy won eight Watchdog of the Treasury Awards before setting his sights on a different job – governor.
In a contentious 1994 primary against incumbent Terry Branstad, Grandy lost by 4 percentage points. Branstad went on to win re-election. Grandy turned his sights to the non-profit sector.
From 1995 to 2000, he was president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. He appeared on TV then, too, often speaking for the organization.
When that stint ended, Grandy turned to radio, serving as a political commentator for National Public Radio, and teaching at the University of Maryland.
Grandy, 66, also has worked with the Center for Security Policy in Washington. Additionally, he has stepped back into acting.
Two of his three children have followed him into the entertainment business. Son Charlie is currently an executive producer of “The Mindy Project.” Daughter Marya is an actress who has appeared on Broadway in "Les Miserables" and on television in numerous shows.
SIOUX CITY | After years of trying, the Sioux City Bandits were able to taste success at the highest level -- twice.
The indoor football team that has always been a fan favorite became a champion twice over with a pair of wins over Council Bluffs.
The Bandits had experienced success before, but they finally reached the top in 2011 and 2012 with back-to-back titles in the American Professional Football League. They beat Council Bluffs 69-28 in 2011 before adding a 56-34 triumph a year later.
Quarterback Scott Jensen put together MVP seasons for the team as it put up almost mind-boggling numbers in the fast-paced game. Defensively, Spetlar Tonga was a leader who had to fight through injuries before being able to enjoy the team success.
It was an extra sweet victory for several of the Bandits who were part of a 2005 squad that fell just short of a title against rival Sioux Falls.
Sioux City went 28-0 during the two-year run of titles.
The two titles highlight what has been a successful 14-year run for the team that began as the Sioux City Attack in 2000. The Attack went 9-5 in its first season before changing its nickname to Bandits in 2001.
The Bandits will begin play in their seventh league next season, Champions Indoor Football.
Although the team has not won a championship in the past two seasons, results have still been strong with Sioux City reaching the semifinals and championship game, respectively.
WINNEBAGO, Neb. | The Winnebago Pow-Wow, the nation’s oldest continuous powwow, is a Siouxland staple. The four-day celebration takes place in late July each year at Veterans Memorial Park on U.S. Highway 75 east of Winnebago.
The event commemorates the return of the tribe’s last war chief, Little Priest, and Fort Omaha Scouts, Company A, volunteers of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. Chief Little Priest was a war hero and was wounded in battle after enlisting in the U.S. Army in April 1866. He returned to the Winnebago Reservation and died Sept. 12, 1866.
In July 1866, the Winnebago Tribe, also known as Ho-Chunk Nation, celebrated his homecoming after his final battle. That celebration has since taken place every year and evolved into the modern day Winnebago Pow-Wow remembering his sacrifice and honoring all Winnebago war veterans.
The Ho-Chunk Nation originally lived in the Wisconsin area. In the early 1800s, the U.S. government forced the Ho-Chunk to give up portions of their land, and they were moved around the Midwest. At last, they were allowed to settle in Nebraska, though many returned to Wisconsin eventually.
Those with Winnebago heritage come from all over the country, especially Wisconsin, to take part in the powwow, which features traditional dance and drum competitions in addition to more modern events such as softball, volleyball and horseshoe competitions.
SIOUX CITY | Built into the cliff upon which Briar Cliff University sits, the Newman Flanagan Center is 80 percent underground.
The 39,000-square-foot, $2 million facility named after the late Monsignor Newman Flanagan opened in September 1982. It can hold up to 2,500 people.
Flanagan served as pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish for more than 40 years and was vicar general of the Catholic Diocese of Sioux City.
The Newman Flanagan Center features the Ray Nacke Court, two full-sized college basketball courts that can be converted into two regulation volleyball courts.
The facility also contains a jogging track, locker rooms, a racquetball court, physical education classrooms, athletic department offices and a concession area. An athletic training facility was added in 2000.
The court is named after legendary men's basketball coach Ray Nacke, who was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in March 2008.
Nacke compiled 507 victories in 26 seasons as Briar Cliff head coach, from 1971 through 1997. His teams won nine NAIA District 15 championships and two Midwest Independent championships.
SIOUX CITY | What started more than 60 years ago as an effort to stimulate business in Sioux City’s Morningside neighborhood has transformed into a celebration of the area’s history.
Generally held over a weekend in May, Morningside Days began in 1950, said chairman Randy Hansen. The goal was to help promote retail business in the area.
“This is before the (Southern Hills) Mall and Transit Plaza,” he said. “The Peters Park Shopping Center was kind of the hub of retail for Morningside, in the '50s and '60s especially.”
Through the years the annual celebration has typically included a parade and a carnival, but car shows, sidewalk sales and beauty contests have also been featured.
In more recent years, businesses along Morningside Avenue have shifted their focus largely from retail to the service industry, Hansen said, and that has changed the overall goal of the annual festival.
Regardless, the common factor over more than six decades is that Morningside Days brings Sioux City residents together, Hansen said.
“There have been a lot of changes over the years, and this year will be the 65th,” he said. “But the carnival and parade still bring people to the Morningside area.”
Now, the festival is sponsored by the Morningside Commercial Club. Hansen is a member of the club and has been chairman of Morningside Days for more 15 years.
“It’s a celebration to help recognize the area,” Hansen said. “It’s been my home, and the area is kind of historic, and it’s always great to keep those areas as vital as possible. Things change with different businesses, but it’s good to see the area is still an important part of Sioux City.”
SIOUX CITY | By sounding off with a varietal blend of classical and contemporary music, broadening community outreach programs and implementing new technology to enhance the concert-going experience, the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra continues to strike a chord.
The local ensemble will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year.
The Sioux City Symphony Orchestra opened its 99th season Sept. 27.
More than 80 musicians belong to the organization that traces its origins back to the Morningside College Orchestra, started in 1915.
These days, the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra does more than play a full season of concerts. A number of outreach programs connect performers with members of the community.
The woodwind, brass and string quartets present more than 50 in-school performances for elementary students throughout the region’s school districts. And each year, the Orpheum Theatre welcomes about 5,000 students to hear the symphony play as part of an outreach program, Concerts for Young Audiences.
Another component of the symphony’s focus on music education happens before each concert as music director and conductor Ryan Haskins opens the floor to questions.
Thanks to a gift from a local charitable trust, the audiovisual offerings in the Orpheum Theatre have become more robust. And the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra began exploring the possibilities opened up by this new technology.
In the spring, a “key cam” projected the pianist’s fingers on the screens flanking the stage, giving the audience a unique perspective of the notes being played.
SIOUX CITY | Who said New Orleans could have all of the Mardi Gras fun? Sioux City has hosted its own version of the Louisiana-based jamboree since 1994.
The annual carnival was brought all the way from the bayous by Krewe de Charlie Sioux, a Mardi Gras krewe made up of individuals from Sioux City and its sister city Lake Charles, Louisiana. Members venture to each Mardi Gras celebration.
The Krewe de Charlie Sioux was established in 1995 in order to promote the Mardi Gras celebrations and share cultural experiences.
This July marked the 20th-year anniversary of the annual Big Parade and Mardi Gras Festivale. The event included the Cajun cuisine-inspired "Taste of Louisiana,” Mardi Gras Costume Gala, live performance by the Louisiana-based band Zydecone and a fireworks display.
Over the years, the festival and parade have changed venues from the Sioux City Orpheum Theatre to the Sioux City Municipal Auditorium and even Chris Larsen Park.
Each year the parade units become more creative and incorporate the Mardi Gras theme. While the band floats still persist, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade-style balloons were once used during the Big Parade.
The festive day leads into Saturday in the Park, a full day of free live music at Grandview Park that draws tens of thousands of people.
SIOUX CITY | The latest National Hockey League accomplishment for former Sioux City Musketeers forward Max Pacioretty?
He scored the NHL’s first goal of the current season, a red-lighter that came at the 4:42 mark of the first period in the Montreal Canadiens’ 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Pacioretty, who has career totals of 112 goals and 110 assists in 5 1/2 seasons, is one of three former Musketeers in the NHL this season. Defenseman Danny DeKeyser (Detroit Red Wings) and forward Sam Gagner (Arizona Coyotes) also are among 18 Musketeers who are NHL alumni.
Forward Ruslan Fedotenko and goaltender John Grahame were teammates for the 2004 Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.
Fedotenko scored both goals in a 2-1 Game 7 win over the Calgary Flames. Then, on Aug. 14 of that year, Fedotenko (also a Stanley Cup winner with the 2008-09 Pittsburgh Penguins) brought the silver, 3-foot, 35-pound cup to the Tyson Events Center, where 3,000 fans were in attendance.
Defenseman Rostislav Klesla had the distinction of being the expansion Columbus Blue Jackets’ first-ever draft choice in 2000. Gagner was the NHL’s youngest player when he made his debut with the Edmonton Oilers in 2007-08.
Three members of the Musketeers’ team that lost to Cedar Rapids in the 2005 Clark Cup Finals played in the NHL: defenseman Chris Butler (Buffalo, Calgary, St. Louis), forward Tim Kennedy (Buffalo, Florida, San Jose, Phoenix, Washington) and Steven Kampfer (Boston, New York Rangers, Florida).
The Musketeers’ list of former NHL players includes forwards Billy Tibbetts (Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York Rangers), John Zeiler (Los Angeles), Corey Elkins (Los Angeles), Stephane Da Costa (Ottawa), Patrick Davis (New Jersey) and Travis Turnbull (Buffalo). Defensemen David Hale (New Jersey, Calgary, Phoenix, Tampa Bay, Ottawa) and Sean Collins (Washington) also experienced NHL action along with goaltender Dieter Kochan (Tampa Bay, Minnesota).
SIOUX CITY | The Sioux City North High jazz band has become a mainstay in Iowa Jazz Championships and has earned the reputation of one of the state’s premier jazz bands.
The band has claimed 12 Class 4A state titles and has placed in the top eight for nearly 20 straight years.
Tours have brought the band to the Midwest Music Convention in Chicago and the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland in 2006.
Director Lucas Sursley says the band’s rise to prominence was fueled by longtime director Larry Kisor, who helped North become a repeat presence at the Iowa Jazz Championships. The success after Kisor, Sursley said, is a result of the band’s winning culture.
“That became expected at North High,” he said.
Nearly 20 students practice 6:45-8 a.m. every Monday-Friday during the winter season and compete at six to eight competitions a year. Sursley said the band also jumps at the opportunity to perform locally, with shows and concerts for nonprofit organizations, banquets and other appearances.
Sursley said the band uses a set of four songs for contests, but learns up to 10 in case a mid-season change is needed.
The band’s presence at contests throughout the state has generated a lengthy resume of wins, awards and trophies, which Sursley said has caused a welcomed clutter in the trophy case.
“It’s pretty incredible how many things are around,” he said. “It’s becoming a storage problem -- but a good problem to have.”
SIOUX CITY | From its earliest days, Sioux City forged its identify with meatpacking.
Sioux City's stockyards, an 80-acre virtual city within a city, grew to become the world's largest, with thousands of hogs, cattle and sheep going through each day.
In the 1920s, Sioux City's bustling livestock district, with its vast outdoor holding pens and "Big Three'' packinghouses -- Cudahy, Armour and Swift -- helped earn fast-growing Sioux City the nickname "Little Chicago."
By 1970, the stockyards' receipts were the largest in the nation, largely because Chicago, St. Paul and some other larger yards had declined at a faster rate than Sioux City.
The decentralization of the industry slowly led to the demise of open livestock auctions in urban areas, as upstart packers, like Iowa Beef Packers, later known as IBP, began to open state-of-the-art slaughterhouses in the countryside, where they bought animals directly from producers.
The introduction of refrigerated trucks and the packaging of meat in boxes also brought an end to the stockyards.
In 2002, the Sioux City Stockyards shut down for good. The sprawling covered livestock pens and auction barn were torn down.
A Home Depot store was built at the site. The city has found new businesses to locate to other former stockyards parcels, including a series of industrial warehouse and distribution centers.
The area has kept its original identify, however. The business park the city created where the livestock market once stood is known as The Yards.
SIOUX CITY | Mercy Medical Center -- Sioux City is a member of CHE Trinity Health, the second largest Catholic health care system in the United States.
Civic leaders requested that the Sisters of Mercy establish a new hospital in Sioux City in 1890. St. Joseph Mercy Hospital opened its doors on April 11th of that year. Later, St. Joseph and St. Vincent hospitals joined to become Marian Health Center. Today, the hospital is known as Mercy Medical Center.
Mercy's Level II Trauma Center is the longest-standing certified trauma center of its kind in the nation. Verified by the American College of Surgeons since 1997, it is the only Level II trauma center serving western Iowa. The hospital logs more than 1,000 trauma patient admissions per year.
Mercy offers Siouxland's only helicopter ambulance service and open heart surgery program.
This year, the hospital was recognized by Healthgrades as one of America's 100 Best Hospitals for coronary intervention and stroke care.
ONAWA, Iowa | Signs along Iowa Avenue in Onawa welcome visitors to "The Widest Main Street in the U.S."
According to longtime resident Terry Virtue, Iowa Avenue measures 150 feet from north-side storefront to south-side storefront.
Why is this east/west thoroughfare so wide? One legend says the width has its foundation, literally, in the railroad. Planners laid out the town with the belief that tracks coming from Denison, Iowa, would run through the heart of this community. Unfortunately, that never materialized.
Jo Petersen, who once directed the talented-and-gifted curricular efforts for the West Monona School District in Onawa, said another theory centers in fire prevention or fire control. A wider-than-normal main street would keep flames and sparks from bouncing across the street.
The Eskimo Pie was created by Christian Kent Nelson, an Onawa teacher and owner of the Royal Ice Cream Parlor nearly a century ago. Nelson was said to have dreamed up this chocolate-covered treat when a boy in his store couldn't decided whether he wanted a candy bar or ice cream.
Nelson soon went to work tinkering with ways to have melted chocolate stick or mesh with bricks of vanilla ice cream. As he worked, he invented a dipping machine that did the work and, thus, created the Eskimo Pie, a name coined in 1922 by Clara Stover, the wife of Omaha-based candy manufacturer, Russell Stover.
Nelson amassed a fortune from his treat and his relationship with the Stovers. He continued to work, however, and wrapped up his career in 1961 working at Reynolds Metal Co., where he invented ways to manufacture and ship Eskimo Pies.
The Eskimo Pie first hit the consumer market in 1921. Country singer George Jones recorded a song named "Eskimo Pie" in 1957. And, in the 1996 crime drama, "The Chamber," convicted murderer Sam Cayhill (played by Gene Hackman) requested the frozen treat and a cup of coffee for the last meal he'd have before his execution.
The line connected two Siouxland figures: Onawa's Eskimo Pie and Hackman, who attended high school in Storm Lake, Iowa, during his sophomore year in 1945.
SIOUX CITY | The clock tower at the corner of Sixth and Douglas streets has been counting away the hours for about 114 years now.
Perched high atop City Hall, the enormous analog timepiece displays the hour across much of the city's downtown area. It's been doing as much since its installation in 1900.
City Hall was constructed as a federal post office and office building from 1893 to 1897, at a cost of $240,000.
Originally constructed without a clock tower, George Perkins — then a congressman and the editor of the Sioux City Journal — lobbied for funds to build the structure. Through grants, Perkins was able to obtain the clock and bell at a cost of $2,380.
The building beneath the tower was designated as City Hall in 1948.
While the clock tower only faced a few repair projects over its lifetime, the structure was nearly scrapped in the 1990s, when inspectors determined it was beginning to lean.
The entire building nearly faced demolition due to the clock tower and other structural problems in 1994. Instead, the city opted to replace a large portion of the building, without sacrificing the clock tower or significantly changing its appearance.
During the reconstruction effort, the machinery inside the clock tower was replaced, and the clock's faces and arms were restored. Concrete was poured at the base of the structure to prevent further tilting.
SIOUX CITY | The iron horse that helped construct a modern America has had a home in Sioux City for nearly a century.
The Milwaukee Railroad complex, constructed in 1917 at 3400 Sioux River Road, first served as a repair and maintenance terminal for steam locomotives, passenger cars and cabooses on the Milwaukee Railroad line.
Now, the yard is a museum and testament to an earlier time in American history. The Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District houses the Great Northern steam locomotive No. 1355, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District itself is now vying for a position on the coveted register. The district claims to be one of only seven in the country that are left in such an excellent condition.
The district, which attracted just under 50,000 visitors in 2013, has completed several projects in recent years.
In 2010, the district completed a blacksmith and machine shop. This exhibit allows visitors to investigate the inner workings of an operational steam engine and an ammonia compressor that were salvaged from an old Sioux City pork packaging plant.
More projects in the works include the renovation and expansion of buildings that will be used to feature a car repair shop, a sand-drying house and an engineer’s tool shed.
A small loop of 15-inch gauge operating railroad also is being installed in the district. A replica gas-powered F7 locomotive and three attached passenger cars will be able to run on the rail.
SIOUX CENTER, Iowa | Known for its science programs, Dordt College offers state-of-the-art facilities to back up its reputation.
Originally founded in 1955 in Sioux Center, Dordt has since offered degrees in nursing and engineering. Since 2003, Dordt’s engineering program has nearly doubled in the number of students enrolled.
Students with an engineering degree from Dordt are reported to have a 95 percent pass rate on the nationally administered Fundamentals of Engineering exam.
Dordt established an enrollment record this fall with 1,459 students.
The growing student base and an emphasis on technology led to an improvement this year to the campus’s Science and Technology Building.
The 52,000-square-foot expansion -- which cost $12 million -- offers a home to three of the colleges biggest majors: engineering, agriculture and nursing.
The two-story addition to the existing building includes faculty offices, classrooms that cater to a technology-based education, computer labs and a public presentation area.
Students also have a work area to design and build prototype machines as well as a greenhouse and additional lab space.
The Science and Technology Building also appeals to the backbone of Iowa’s economy. An agriculture wing includes labs for animal science, an area for surgery practice and a facility for live animals.
Dordt officials say the science facility will only continue to grow and offer the latest in technology.
Work on Phase 2 is underway and, once complete, will accommodate new teaching methods to advance classroom and lab learning achievement.
A final $3 million renovation of the current agriculture and physics laboratories will commence as Phase 2 begins. Phase 3 will ultimately see the connection of the new Science and Technology Building to the Campus Center via skywalk.
SIOUX CITY | For the fifth consecutive year, Sioux City’s IBP Ice Center will play host to an event that has long been a staple of the Winter Olympics.
The Jackson Five are anticipated to return to defend their championship at the Curling Classic, which will be held March 20-22. Tournament organizers are hoping between 40 and 48 teams will compete.
Thirty-two teams participated in 2014. There were 12 teams when the event debuted in 2011, 18 in 2012 and 24 in 2013.
The IBP Ice Center’s 85-by-200-foot arena, at 3808 Stadium Drive, has more than enough room for the event. Curling is a sport in which players slide stones on a sheet of ice towards a target area which is segmented into four circles.
Two teams, each of four players, take turns sliding heavy, polished granite stones called rocks across the ice curling sheet towards the circular target marked on the ice. Each team has eight stones. Points are scored for the stones resting closest to the center of the circle at conclusion of each game.
“The event will draw a great deal of fans, approximately 350 at any given time throughout the day, that would like to experience the curling culture, firsthand,” said IBP Ice Center events coordinator Todd Lien.
The IBP Ice Center also serves as the home of the Midwest High School Hockey League’s Sioux City Metros. The United States Hockey League’s Sioux City Musketeers also utilize the facility for their annual June tryout camp and for their preseason (September) training camp.
SIOUX CITY | In 1930, Leo Kucinski – a longtime Sioux City conductor and director of a musical troupe of war veterans called the Monahan Post Band – led an unwavering campaign to erect a music shell in Grandview Park.
But it was a time when no funds were available. The Great Depression left the City Parks Department with almost no money to contribute to the proposed construction of the bandshell.
But Kucinski felt the award-winning Monahan Post Band (which eventually became the Sioux City Municipal Band) still deserved a respectable place to play.
With the help of the band members’ friends, a small loan was arranged, which the band planned to repay once the shell was finished. Work began in August 1930 after the band raised enough money and produced an agreeable design.
The initial outline of the bandshell was met with dismay by neighboring property owners, who thought the structure was unsuitable for the beautiful setting of Grandview Park.
The project was placed on hold until an admissible design could be agreed upon.
Nineteen civic organizations endorsed the proposal and in February 1934 the requests were approved. The accepted design of the Grandview Park music pavilion was created by architect Henry Kamphoefner, whose work on the music pavilion and outdoor theater would later be recognized by the Royal Institute of British Architects as one of “America’s Outstanding Buildings” of post-World War I period.
The stage accommodates 100 musicians or a chorus of 300 people. The building featured two large dressing rooms, two small dressing rooms, a conductor’s room, library and storage room. The natural amphitheater was constructed to seat 5,000 people. The project cost over $51,000 between federal funds and money from the city. It was dedicated in 1935.
SIOUX CITY | Back in 1995, a handwritten note containing $2 came across the desk of capital campaign workers. An art-loving, 8-year-old boy dipped into his allowance to help build the Sioux City Art Center.
He may have been one of the youngest contributors but certainly not the first. Countless community members envisioned having a dedicated space to study, engage in and enjoy the visual arts. They’ve invested time, talent and money with the hope that, someday, the people of Sioux City would have an art museum they could point to with pride.
The Sioux City Art Center, at 225 Nebraska St., celebrated its centennial earlier this year – a testament to the community’s commitment to art through the ages.
Alice K. Lawler, Cora S. Henderson, John C. Kelly, John McHugh, W.P. Manley and T.A. Black founded the Sioux City Society of Fine Arts in 1914. A permanent collection was established within the first two years.
Lawler, the daughter of one of Sioux City’s early settlers, took up duties of director. She ensured artworks were displayed in the Municipal Auditorium, County Courthouse, Davidson Brothers Department Store, Martin Hotel and Commerce Building.
A gallery space in the main library housed the first exhibitions, but the Sioux City Society of Fine Arts did not have a place to call its own.
In 1938, the basement of the Williges building, at 613 Pierce St., served as the first permanent exhibition space as part of a Works Progress Administration project. When the federal assistance program ended a few years later, the City of Sioux City agreed to partial funding.
More moves ensued until 1966 when the Art Center settled into a building at 513 Nebraska St., a former laundry and Moose Lodge. One patron longed to see the organization advance from storefront to a stand-alone building.
Margaret Ann Everist spearheaded a successful fundraising campaign. She died in 2003, but before she did, she was able to witness the grand opening of the new Sioux City Art Center in March 1997.
SIOUX CITY | If fans of “Orange is the New Black” think they’ve discovered a new star in Lori Petty, they aren’t aware of her storied film past.
First hitting screens in the late 1980s, Petty had a string of 1990 films that kept her in the front of audiences’ minds.
Little did they know she started acting in Sioux City, where she graduated from North High School. While in school, Petty also wrote a column for her mother’s free-circulation newspaper, Women’s Image. She tried her hand at modeling, as well, and considered a career in graphic design.
Modeling brought her attention from casting directors. “Booker,” a spinoff of “21 Jump Street,” gave her a regular television presence.
In 1990, Petty had a co-starring role in Robin Williams’ “Cadillac Man.” For its Sioux City premiere, she returned to town, reunited with friends and enjoyed the attention that comes from film work.
Quickly, she followed that with roles in “Point Break” (with Keanu Reeves), “A League of Their Own” (with Tom Hanks and Madonna) and “Free Willy.”
Known for playing quirky, counter-culture characters, Petty seemed right for the starring role in “Tank Girl,” a science fiction action comedy based on a comic book series. The film opened in 1995 to much fanfare but drew poor reviews and quickly tanked.
To satisfy her need for an artistic outlet, she also painted and designed clothing. She also wrote and directed an independent drama loosely based on her own life. Called “The Poker House,” it drew praise from critics and helped launch the careers of Jennifer Lawrence and Chloe Grace Moretz.
While Petty hasn’t begun a follow-up film, she has agreed to a co-starring role in “Orange is the New Black.” She appeared in the second season premiere and drew raves. She was asked to return for the third season and agreed.
Now, she says, she’s happy to have a new artistic home. While family no longer lives in Sioux City, the 51-year-old says she’d love to return for a visit.
SIOUX CITY | For decades, torrential rains would cause Sioux Cityans to turn a wary eye toward Perry Creek.
The creek, running from Plymouth County and passing through Sioux City before dumping into the Missouri River, normally runs at a slow trickle, but rises quickly after heavy rains. The creek basin covers 78 square miles, mostly in rural Plymouth County, where the creek is fed by agricultural field runoff and several small tributaries.
Those quick rises occurred more times than anyone liked, often causing severe property damage when spilling its banks. From 1905 to 1990, Perry Creek flooded 19 times. One of the most notorious floods was in 1944, when the creek swept through 330 city blocks and damaged more than 1,100 buildings.
During the 1990s, city leaders and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers settled on a plan to tame Perry Creek by widening, deepening and straightening the channel. The plan included removing dozens of houses and buildings, upgrading bridges and streets across the channel, relocating utility lines and removing trees and brush.
The new channel was engineered to handle much more water, an amount that would normally occur only in a 100-year flood.
Also included in the Perry Creek Flood Control Project was a greenway that runs along the creek, providing recreation space, a walking trail and landscaping.
In August 2007, the corps completed the $97 million project from Stone Park Boulevard south to the Missouri River.
Today, the creek no longer poses the threat it once did. Torrential rains early this summer swelled Perry Creek, but it remained in its banks, just like the plans called for.
SIOUX CITY | In the spring and fall, Barbara Lammers, 78, will help prepare more than 60 trays of baklawa.
The Lebanese cousin of the Greek baklava, baklawa is made up of sugar and chopped walnuts rolled up in layers of crisp and buttery phyllo dough.
"The Greeks pour a honey syrup over their baklava," Lammers said last month in the kitchen of St. Thomas Orthodox Church, 1100 Jones St. The Lebanese "pour a lemony syrup called attayr on top of our baklawa."
The church twice a year holds a Syrian-Lebanese dinner, a tradition that dates to the 1930s. It's an important outreach tool for church members.
The menu consists of kibbee (a baked meat dish made with Bulgar wheat); yabrah (a cabbage roll filled with meat, rice and tomatoes); ruz (a Syrian rice dish that contained buttery white rice accented with tiny orzo); and a Syrian salad made with a homemade Mediterranean salad dressing.
Lammers said many recipes have been handed down from generations. Food preparation can take days to complete and requires the help of most of the church's members.
"When I make baklawa, I think of my family," Lammers said during a visit last month. "I can't wait to share my family recipes with the community."
SIOUX CITY | Past Sioux City generations are likely to remember blisteringly hot summer days spent cooling off in Leif Erikson Park’s swimming pool, playing tennis on the park’s courts or chasing each other around the grassy grounds.
Memories of Leif Erikson Park beckon back to a simpler time when children would explore after school and in the summers, using their imaginations to indulge in adventure.
The land for Leif Erikson Park was set aside by the city of Sioux City in 1924, named after Erikson, a Norse explorer who reportedly discovered North America in 1000 A.D.
Although Erikson failed to colonize the new world, he is remembered at the park, deep in the heart of Sioux City. A plaque set into a small boulder bears his name on the grounds.
Also at the park lies a larger boulder, estimated to weigh as much as 4 tons. This boulder proudly shows the name of the park’s founder and Norwegian immigrant, John Loe.
Throughout the years, Loe taught his children, as they grew up in Sioux City, much about their heritage. This includes the celebration of Oct. 9 as Leif Erikson Day.
The 15-acre city park, at 1100 31st St., includes a picnic area and shelter, playground equipment, a ball diamond, six tennis courts and a swimming pool.
Two years ago, a proposal was floated to build the new Bryant Elementary School on the site. But that idea was nixed by the Sioux City Council.
VERMILLION, S.D. | Something off in the distance caught the curiosity of Capts. William Clark and Meriwether Lewis. They took 11 men, plus Lewis’ dog, Seaman, and hiked nine miles to reach a grassy knoll on a sweltering summer day in 1804.
They were drawn to Spirit Mound, a lone hill surrounded by prairie.
According to a legend, the mound was inhabited by 18-inch-tall “little devils in human form,” a people “with remarkable large heads,” Clark wrote in his journal, “arm'd with Sharp Arrows with which they Can Kill at a great distance.”
They found an abundance of insects and birds, buffalo herds and wild fruit.
The determined explorers might not have been surprised to learn that, 210 years later, Spirit Mound would look much the way it did to them, surrounded by native prairie and offering a stunning view from its top.
The hill is now part of the 320-acre Spirit Mound Historic Prairie, a site owned and maintained by the South Dakota Division of Parks and Recreation.
Until recently, the mound was privately owned. A farmhouse, feedlot and grove stood on the mound’s eastern slope. Many of the acres served as farmland and pasture.
The Spirit Mound Trust was able to buy the site, six miles north of Vermillion, and, with the help of public and private partners, began restoring the prairie.
The buildings were razed, the barbed wire removed and scrub trees burned out. Then, the land was seeded with 30 native plant species such as Canadian wild rye, black-eyed Susans, wild bergamot, gray-headed cone flower, cup plant and yellow ox eye.
The prairie restoration began in 2001. It’s expected to take decades for the landscape to return to what Lewis and Clark saw on Aug. 25, 1804.
SIOUX CITY | Signs of the times? Try the drive-in movie theater, a relic that, in rare cases, can elicit a blank stare from anyone under the age of, say, 40.
One does still exist in the far northeast reaches of Siouxland, between Spirit Lake and Estherville, Iowa. Like those found four decades ago in and around Sioux City, that particular drive-in has a summertime window of opportunity in which to play.
There were four drive-in theaters in the Sioux City area years ago, according to Grace Linden, curator of history for the Sioux City Public Museum.
The Gordon Twin Drive-In appealed to the masses in Riverside; the Highway 75 Drive-In rose on Lewis Boulevard (or at 2900 North Highway 75 in Sioux City); the Capri Drive-in played on Highway 75 South, just north of Sergeant Bluff; and the 77 Drive-In was an entertainment staple on Highway 77 in South Sioux City.
Linden noted that the Gordon Twin started in 1954 and closed in 1985. The merry-go-round at the theater was from the old Riverview Amusement Park in Riverside Park. There were two screens on opposite ends of the theater grounds, with the projection building in the center.
The Gordon Twin Drive-In closed when Interstate 29 was built at that site.
The Highway 75 theater opened in 1948 and closed in 1987 or 1988. The Capri Drive-In opened in 1970. A closing date for the Capri isn't known, according to museum records.
And the date of closure for the '77 Drive-In isn't readily available.
SIOUX CITY | There’s so much to actress Sharon Farrell’s life, it’s amazing she could capture it all in one book.
Yet recently she released her memoir, “Sharon Farrell, Hollywood Princess from Sioux City, Iowa,” and covered a lot of territory.
Born in Sioux City, Sharon Forsmoe attended Central High School and attracted attention for plays she did as a teenager. In the late 1950s, determined to have a career in show business, she auditioned and landed her first film, “Kiss Her Goodbye.” It was shot in Cuba and provided an introduction to Che Guevara and Fidel Castro.
Looking for a marquee-friendly handle, she changed her name to Farrell – a mashup of her last name and her father, Darrel’s first name.
Bob Hope brought her to Los Angeles to film a TV pilot, but it didn’t sell. Instead, she landed plenty of episodic work in everything from “Gunsmoke” to “Naked City.” A string of parts in other shows and films led to “The Reivers,” a high-profile production starring Steve McQueen. Farrell wanted the role but producers told her she was too old. To prove she wasn’t, she doctored her birth certificate. “I changed it from 1940 to 1946,” she said during a visit to Sioux City, and she convinced Variety columnist Army Archerd to float the idea. It worked. In 1969, she was considered a frontrunner for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination.
Farrell made the rounds of talk shows and landed on “The Tonight Show” where an off-hand remark about Sioux City attracted negative attention. She tried to correct the misperception but got no help from host Johnny Carson.
As a result, she stayed away from the city for several decades, returning to Sioux City in 2012 to renew old acquaintances and prove she harbored no ill will.
ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa | A restored cabin commemorates the site where 13-year-old Abigail Gardner witnessed one of the few violent conflicts between European-American settlers and American Indians in Iowa.
The Gardner Cabin Historic Site is a quarter-mile west of U.S. 71 on Monument Drive in Arnolds Park at the Iowa Great Lakes.
The cabin was built by Rowland Gardner in 1856. The following year, a band of Wahpekute Dakota Sioux, under the leadership of Inkpadutah, killed 34 settlers and abducted several others including Abigail.
Most of the Gardner family was killed in what came to be known as the Spirit Lake Massacre. The carnage likely was reprisal for a series of atrocities committed against Inkpadutah's clan near Sioux City.
Abigail's freedom was purchased by the government using friendly Indians as intermediaries. She returned to the scene of the tragedy, purchased the old home and lived in a house nearby, keeping the cabin open to the public until her death in 1921.
Also on the grounds are a gravesite as well as a monument to the settlers killed during the uprising. The restored cabin contains furnishings from the frontier life of the period.
A visitor center displays many local artifacts from the frontier life of mid-19th century Iowa, including Abigail's collection of Native American artifacts.
The State Historical Society of Iowa owns the Gardner Cabin and Museum. The cabin is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
SIOUX CITY | When United Airlines Flight 232 crashed in Sioux City 25 years ago, it left a deep impact on Siouxland and those who survived.
Along the city's riverfront is a monument that recalls the heroism and the care given by the hundreds of people who turned out to help on that fateful day.
The Flight 232 memorial pays tribute to all those who survived and those who responded. It was unveiled nearly five years after the July 19, 1989, crash, and was the result of several proposals that aimed to catch the community spirit.
Dale Lamphere, a South Dakota artist, was commissioned to create the statue that became the centerpiece of the memorial. He created "The Spirit of Siouxland," a statue based on a photo taken by former Journal photographer Gary Anderson showing Col. Dennis Nielsen of what was then known as Sioux City's 185th Fighter Wing, Iowa Air National Guard, carrying 3-year-old Spencer Bailey from the scene. In the sculpture, Nielsen's hands are depicted larger than life to symbolize the aid rendered by all of those involved.
The statue faces the Missouri River, where all three Siouxland states involved in rescue efforts can be seen. On a sidewalk leading to the sculpture are large stones, each containing a plaque engraved with quotes from people involved in that day. Trees line the sidewalk, creating a canopy to embrace the visitor just as Siouxland embraced the victims' families after the crash.
The outdoor setting was designed as an outdoor cathedral, said David Ciaccio, the Omaha architect who designed the setting, just west of the Anderson Dance Pavilion in Chris Larsen Park.
NORTH SIOUX CITY | Tour buses regularly filled the parking lot at Sodrac Park in the 1960s and 1970s.
Back then, the live greyhound races in North Sioux City attracted betters from as far away as Kansas and Missouri.
The following began to erode in the mid-1980s as faster-paced forms of gambling spread in South Dakota and neighboring states like Iowa.
In 1985, Sodrac drew 248,793 people who wagered $22.8 million. A year later, after a competing dog track opened in Council Bluffs, Iowa, those totals were cut in half.
Sodrac continued to hemorrhage business after slot-like video lottery machines started popping up in bars and restaurants just down the road in North Sioux City in 1989. and a riverboat casino began cruising the Missouri River in Iowa in 1993.
By 1993, the track's handle had plummeted to $1.5 million. Realizing it could no longer make a profit, they got permission from state legislators that year to cease live racing in January and switch to simulcasting. It allowed the dwindling number of spectators to place bets on races in distant cities and watch the action play out on television monitors.
With losses continuing to mount, Sodrac shut down for good in 1995, ending 38 years of racing. The grandstands and other structures were torn down or resold for scrap or other purposes.
The land along Interstate 29 where the track once stood was sold for commercial development. Hotels, a convenience store, a fast food restaurant and a fireworks stand are among the businesses that were built on a 52-acre mixed-use site known as Sodrac Centre.
Single-family homes and apartments also have been developed.
SIOUX CITY | To operate the elevators in one downtown Sioux City building, it takes a professional touch.
The two 97-year-old machines are relics from a different time. Located in the Insurance Centre and Grain Exchange Building, the manual elevators employ the last lift operators in the city.
Passengers call for a ride by pressing a button next to one of the elevators' heavy, bronze doors. The button sends a signal to the carriage, where a panel lights up, informing the operator that assistance is needed on a given floor.
A delicate, bronze handle sits mounted above that panel, and guides the elevator up or down. The carriage's speed is determined by how far the lever is pushed or pulled.
Stopping right at the correct floor requires precise timing. Depending on the carriage's speed, the operator may have to release the lever several seconds before the elevator is aligned with the correct floor.
Today, most manual elevator operation is confined to high-speed lifts in skyscrapers or as vintage showpieces in upscale hotels and restaurants. Automatic operation largely took hold in the 1950s, when automatic push-button panels came into popularity.
Next year, one of the Insurance Building's elevators will be replaced with an automatic machine, but the other will remain staffed and in place.
SIOUX CITY | To many Sioux Cityans, Al Jolson wasn't just the name of the entertainer who starred in "The Jazz Singer," the first motion picture "talkie."
Instead, Al Jolson was the pseudonym of Gerald Goulette, a one-of-a-kind street performer who sang, tap-danced and strummed the ukulele for more than 60 years.
Goulette was born to Charles and Lillian Goulette in Sioux City on Dec. 9, 1927, a few months after "The Jazz Singer" debuted.
A fixture at River-Cade parades and downtown Sioux City bars, Goulette was known for garish outfits and singing novelty tunes such as "Hello! Ma Baby!" and "Sioux City Sue."
When he died on Apr. 2, 2012, at the age of 84, he left behind many fans who never knew his real name.
"People knew him simply as 'Al Jolson,'" said Sandy Johnson, his landlady for more than 30 years. "I think he was OK with that."
Johnson remembered Goulette as someone who loved weaving tales of a show business past that was impossible to verify. She thought these stories may have been a way to obscure a troubled past.
He worked on the cleaning crew at the Armour & Co. and Swift meatpacking houses, she said.
Instead, Goulette preferred the world of performing, which he pursued with great abandon.
"Al walked a regular route," said former Buffalo Alice owner Mike Salviola. "Carrying his ukelele in a bag, he'd go from bar to bar and start entertaining."
Goulette's pay for a song and a dance? Pocket change and beer.
"Al became such a fixture that people expected to see him around," Salviola said. "When Al first walked into Buffalo Alice, I'd hear guys say, 'Hey, my dad told me about you,' and then eventually they'd say, Hey, my grandpa told me about you.'"
Johnson said Goulette "had a love for life."
Yet George Lindblade, a Sioux City filmmaker who profiled Goulette in the documentary, "High Times in Lower Fourth," said it was his unique personality that made him memorable.
"Though he could dance, Al could barely play the ukulele or sing a song," Lindblade said. "Al was weird enough that you couldn't make him up even if you tried."
SIOUX CITY | They're pilgrims of a sort, the music fans who return again and again for Saturday in the Park.
Like those who attend Sioux City's big free concert for the first time, the faithful flock to Grandview Park from all over the country.
They come by the tens of thousands, some to catch a specific act from among a diverse lineup of a dozen musical acts. The music, and a wide array of food vendors and fun activities for adults and kids alike, give them abundant reason to return each year.
Started in 1991, the free outdoor concert takes place on the closest Saturday to July 4. The first event featured Gatemouth Brown, Bad Manners and Buckwheat Zydeco.
This year, from the time the music started at noon to when the fireworks closed out the night, Saturday in the Park attracted approximately 25,000 people to hear local bands as well as headliners The Avett Brothers, Bonnie Raitt, Ziggy Marley and Wild Feathers. Last year's event included Melissa Etheridge, Sublime with Rome and ZZ Ward.
The free music festival will celebrate its 25th year in 2015.
SIOUX CITY | For the past 78 years, a puppy has brought smiles to the faces of thousands of Siouxland children.
On Saturday, a wiry black Scottish terrier named Finnegan will do the same by raising money for the Journal's Mr. Goodfellow Charities. The organization is celebrating 100 years of providing toys and other goodies for underprivileged children at Christmas.
This year, about $126,000 worth of toys will be distributed.
The Little Yellow Dog auction, to be held at the Ho-Chunk Centre, is sponsored by the Ancient and Effervescent Order of the Little Yellow Dog.
Finnegan, who was donated by Doug and Kathy Batcheller, and Jim Batcheller, of Sioux City, will go to the highest bidder.
Last year's dog, a liver and white springer spaniel named Snickers, raised $15,000. Stoney, the 2011 Little Yellow Dog, brought in a record-breaking bid of $45,000. The yellow Lab was named after the late Don Stone, a longtime supporter of the charity and chairman emeritus of the board of directors.
The Ancient and Effervescent Order of the Little Yellow Dog, also known as the Grand Growlers, was founded by Worth Waltermire, a bellboy at the Martin Hotel. He wanted to help raise money for the Journal's charity. He recruited members, collecting 25-cent dues.
In 1936, two on-air personalities for KSCJ went to Waltermire with a plan to sell a dog through a radio auction. They found a dog at the humane society. Skippy sold for $25.
SIOUX CITY | The Sioux City Roller Dames laced up their skates and latched their helmets as they made their debut in the fall of 2008.
Northwest Iowa's inaugural women's flat track roller derby team has grown over the years. The team of skaters is made up of women from diverse backgrounds, from professionals to waitresses to school workers. Home bouts are held at the Long Lines Family Rec Center in Sioux City.
In March 2012, the Roller Dames were admitted to the Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) as part of the South Central Region.
Performing on a regulation oval measuring 88 feet by 44 feet, blockers and pivots from two teams engage in hard hits as they try to help their jammer through the pack to score points while simultaneously stopping the opposing jammer.
As of Oct. 5, the team was ranked 103rd out of 219 teams in WFTDA.
Annually, the Roller Dames host Rolling Along the River, a two-day double-elimination tournament that draws teams from around the country.
The growing popularity of roller derby and the team's success spawned the Sioux City Kornstalkers, the city's first men's roller derby team, and Natural Born Rollers, a junior roller derby team.
SIOUX CITY | Sonja Henie wasn’t just an Olympic darling. The three-time gold medal winner was also a Sioux City skating favorite.
Appearing with Holiday on Ice, the Norwegian figure skater and film star skated at the Municipal Auditorium, a regular stop on the ice show circuit.
Promoted by Sioux Cityan Bill Hawkins, ice shows at the auditorium began with the Ice Capers. They were followed by Holiday on Ice and, more recently, Ice Capades. In the 1980s and 1990s, other champion skaters (like Scott Hamilton and Linda Fratianne) performed at the auditorium, continuing the trend.
When the Tyson Events Center opened, one of the first shows in the facility was Smucker’s Stars on Ice. That production starred Hamilton and the two couples who shared the gold medal for pairs skating, Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, and Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharudlidze.
Michelle Kwan, Nancy Kerrigan, Oksana Baiul, Viktor Petrenko and Brian Boitano also called the facility home in everything from Champions on Ice to Boitano’s Skating Spectacular, which was broadcast on NBC in 2010.
Those early visits, though, set the stage for decades of ice skating interest in Siouxland.
Hawkins said Ice Capades frequently started its tours in Sioux City, rehearsing in the community for more than a week and learning routines before presenting them for the first time at the auditorium.
SIOUX CITY | The massive and visually stunning Woodbury County Courthouse not only is home to dozens of employees but also draws people from across the nation.
A stained glass dome that's the center of the two-story base quickly attracts the eyes of visitors inside. Large lights provide illumination when the dome is lighted at night.
The courthouse, which opened in March 1918 at 620 Douglas St., houses courtrooms and most county departments. The edifice was designed by famous architect William Steele in the Prairie School style of architecture.
The building succeeded the former county building, which had been used since 1875 at the southeast corner of Sixth and Pierce streets (now the location of the Orpheum Building). That facility was outgrown by 1914, when the County Board researched construction of a new courthouse.
The cornerstone for the new courthouse was laid in July 1916, and the building opened less than two years later.
County residents approved a $500,000 bond issue, and the final cost came in at $850,000, or just over 50 cents per square foot.
Elaborate terra cotta trim decorates the exterior. Above the west doors, an immense figure symbolizes the Spirit of Law.
The interior of the building is decorated with a series of murals by John Warner Norton on the main floor. Four murals represent a primitive court, rural farm life, urban life and a tribute to the soldiers of World War I.
The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1996. As some modernization changes have been made, county officials have been careful to keep the historic nature of the building intact, working through a process subject to review by the State Historical Society of Iowa and National Park Service.
SIOUX CITY | Not many Siouxland natives can say they have been nominated for an Academy Award. Even fewer, if any, can say they have been nominated for two.
Except for Ron Clements, a Bishop Heelan graduate who received Best Animated Feature nominations from the Academy for directing “Treasure Planet” and “The Princess and the Pea.”
Clements also directed, produced and animated Disney’s iconic “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin” and “Hercules.”
He is currently working on "Moana," an epic animated film set in the South Pacific, which will be released in 2016.
Clements said that a career in animation was something he always aspired to, thanks to a little wooden boy.
"When I was 9 years old, I saw 'Pinocchio' in Sioux City and when I walked out of that theater, I said, 'That's what I want to do,’” said Clements in a 2013 Journal interview. “I went to the library and checked out anything I could find on animation, which was practically nothing except the coolest book by Bob Thomas called 'The Art of Animation.' I checked it out over and over again. I may have been the only person to check it out."
After creating a short film at KCAU, where he was a commercial artist, Clements got a job at Hanna-Barbera. He then saw an ad for a Disney recruitment program. He called, met with officials and was hired for a four-week trial period. He passed the trials and was hired as part of the team. This year marks his 40th anniversary with Disney animation studios.
"Getting here was the goal," Clements said. "Now, this is home."
SIOUX CITY | Some of the most accomplished athletes from Siouxland have been honored with induction into the Greater Siouxland Athletic Association Hall of Fame.
There currently are 64 Hall of Famers with the last three being inducted in 2008 when Cheryl (Dreckman) Carter, Don Wengert and Don Fleming were honored.
Inductions began with F. Morgan Taylor, who was a track and field athlete and three-time Olympic medalist in the 440-yard hurdles, in 1963. Taylor, a Central graduate, was an Olympic gold medalist in 1924.
“The original premise was to honor people who have helped put Sioux City on the map nationally,” said Hall of Fame committee member Terry Hersom, who has been involved with the association since 1978. “It is not just for local sports heroes, but for people who have gone out there and done some big things.”
The list includes Judy Kimball, an East High graduate who went on to win the LPGA Championship and was inducted in 1983. Gerald “Tuffy” Griffith, inducted in 1981, is a boxer from Siouxland who gained notoriety for his fight with James J. Braddock and was part of the movie “Cinderella Man.” Former Heelan and Iowa football player John Harty, who went on to win Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers, was inducted in 1996.
The committee has shrunk to currently just two active participants, and has led to gaps of several years between inductions.
In 2004, the association partnered with the Sioux City Noon Sertoma Club and had banquets for five years, but has not been active since. The Hall of Fame is currently at the Long Lines Family Rec Center, 401 Gordon Drive. The committee wants to move it to a more heavily visited area. Talks with the Sioux City Public Museum have begun.
“We would like to move the display to the museum and possibly have the museum possibly get involved in reinvigorating the organization,” said committee member Mike Cadwell, who has worked with the Hall of Fame since the 1990s.
SIOUX CITY | Once The Velaires’ 1961 cover of Chuck Berry’s classic “Roll Over Beethoven” reached Billboard charts and became a national hit, it was clear the Sioux City band had found its place in Iowa's rock and roll scene.
Formed in 1958 as The Screamers, the band was a sextet of mostly Central High School swimmers. Graduations and military commitments welcomed new faces and lost others. Changing their name to The Flairs, the band was comprised of guitarists Daniel Matousek and Bob Dawdy, bassist Jerry DeMers and drummer Don Bourret.
Not long after the band released “Roll Over Beethoven,” the name changed to The Velaires after playing in the Val Air Ballroom in Des Moines. The cover became very popular in Los Angeles, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard charts. This gave the band enough momentum to land an appearance on Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand.” The Velaires became the only Iowa-based group to have done so.
The band would later release eight more singles on various record labels including covers of “Dream” by Johnny Mercer and “Ubangi Stomp” by Earl Bostic. The original members stayed together until 1963. Matousek reformed the band soon after under the name Danny and The Velaires. The group stayed together until 1970.
In 1997, original Velaires members were inducted into the Iowa Rock 'n' Roll Music Association Hall of Fame. That same year Germany's Bear Family Records released a CD of The Velaires' greatest hits.
Matousek died the following year just a few days before a scheduled performance at the DanceMor Ballroom in Swisher, Iowa. The Iowa Rock 'n' Roll Music Association created the Dan Matousek Lifetime Achievement Award in his honor.
On Jan. 21, 2013, Dawdy died at his home in Sioux City.
The Velaires continue to tour with drummer Bourret, keyboardist Gene Ambroson, bassist Mike King, guitarist Bill “Chopper” Pelchat and saxophonist Dave Napier.
VERMILLION, S.D. | While approaching Vermillion on South Dakota Highway 50 from either direction, it's hard not to notice the large gray roof looming on the northern part of the University of South Dakota campus.
Since 1979, the DakotaDome has been a Vermillion and USD landmark.
The USD athletics website touts the structure in this way: "One of the region's most recognizable structures, the DakotaDome serves as the cornerstone of the Coyote Athletic Department and is home to five intercollegiate sports, including basketball, football, volleyball, track and field and swimming and diving."
It's also the site of South Dakota's high school football championships and has hosted countless other high school sports camps.
The facility's outward appearance has remained largely the same.
In 2001, it received a new $13 million steel roof. Additional upgrades over the years, according to the USD sports department, include the installation of a customized Daktronics Sports Marketing video board, concourse and concession improvements, women's locker room renovation and press box updates.
Work continued in 2007 with the renovation of the sports medicine area, replacement of men's locker room, reconstruction of the equipment room and replacement of the arena floor.
The facility's role in the USD athletic department is in for a change. The university currently is building the $66 million Sports Performance Enhancement Facility next to the DakotaDome. When finished, the new facility will include a new 6,000-seat arena for men's and women's basketball and volleyball. The new facilities are expected to be finished in 2016.
SIOUX CITY | Miniature golf options have been embraced for decades in Siouxland. Not as many courses dot the area now, and a notable one in Sioux City has been wiped away.
But before that, the Floyd Park Miniature Golf Course was a hugely popular option for four decades on South Lewis Boulevard. The course, owned by Leo Tracey, was a stone's throw south of another Sioux City icon, the Sergeant Floyd Monument obelisk.
The facility opened in 1954, and many who grew up through the 1990s used the mini golf course as the place for dates, family outings and challenging friends to see who could get the lowest score. Armed with putters, they would compete to move golf balls through a series of obstacles, with the chance to win a free game on the extra 19th hole.
A windmill was on hole No. 10 and a fish pond presented a challenge on No. 17.
Some considered it the Pebble Beach of area mini golf courses. The borders for each hole were framed in bright concrete. Before the days when mini golf courses had Astroturf, the fairways of limestone and sand were well maintained.
For a time, in addition to a wide variety of concession snacks, people could enjoy root beer served from the tap of a wooden barrel.
A Sioux City native, Tracey and his family briefly relocated to southern California in the early 1950s. Tracey became aware of the mini golf craze on the West Coast and decided to build one, constructing Sioux City's first such course.
He built it on family property, liking the placement that allowed viewing of the Missouri River to the west.
"He felt blessed to have a business that made other people happy," daughter Andree Tracey, of Minneapolis, said of her father in 2011.
She recalled during the boom years when people waiting to play lined all the way to the highway. At one time, the course operated a competitive league, with weekly standings published in the Sunday newspaper.
In January 1994, Tracey sold the mini golf course and retired. Today the city of Sioux City owns the property, which remains largely undeveloped.
SIOUX CITY | A work of art made specifically for Sioux City in the 1920s, Grant Wood's mural "Corn Room" remains on local display almost 90 years later.
The piece was commissioned — along with several others — for four hotels owned by Eugene Eppley, of Omaha. It was intended for the now-historic Martin Hotel, at 408 Pierce St. in Sioux City.
Best known for his creation of the painting "American Gothic," Wood's art generally features rural backdrops and focuses on life in the Midwest.
Wood was born in Anamosa, Iowa, in 1891 and died in Iowa City in 1942. He spent much of his life in the state and taught painting at the University of Iowa's School of Art from 1934 to 1941.
"Corn Room" consists of several canvases that, when put together, form a panoramic image of a cornfield. The piece was installed at the hotel in 1927 but was lost sometime in the following decades through a series of renovations.
The mural eventually was rediscovered underneath layers of paint and wallpaper in 1979. Tower Properties owned the hotel at that time and donated the piece to the Sioux City Art Center. But a 1989 bankruptcy ruling reversed the donation and saw the mural put up for auction.
Sioux City attorney Alan Fredregill purchased the work for $80,000 and donated it once again to the Art Center.
SIOUX CITY | Pink was the dominant color used in describing two businesses that became part of Sioux City and South Sioux City lore in recent decades.
At least their names were somewhat dominated by the color -- or the word -- pink.
The Pink Pussy Cat, a tavern and adult entertainment club, opened in 1973 or 1974 at 901 Fourth Street, in Sioux City. It was owned and operated by Joseph Pirog, according to files at the Sioux City Public Museum.
Prior to this time, the location was home to the Blue Goose tavern and the Idle Hour tavern, bars with histories dating back to the 1960s.
By 1975, the Pink Pussy Cat was under the direction of Arthur Murfield and Pat Pirog. The business, later operated by Delores Eidsness, closed in 1982.
This area of Fourth Street was entirely razed in the mid-1980s to make way for the Sioux City Convention Center, according to Tom Munson, archival clerk at the Sioux City Public Museum.
Pink also came to describe another bar, the Pink Elephant, immediately west of South Sioux City along what is now U.S. Highway 20, near the northwest shore of old Crystal Lake.
The Pink Elephant in 1960 was owned by Paul Gustafson, according to a South Sioux City directory on file at the South Sioux City Public Library.
The Pink Elephant Tavern and Motel was operated by Marvin and Evelyn Hansen. The couple also owned and operated Marv's Tavern.
Evelyn Hansen, of Le Mars, Iowa, was 83 when she died at Plymouth Manor Care Center in Le Mars on July 23, 2004. Harold died three days later, on July 26, 2004, after suffering a heart attack on the day of his wife's funeral.
Correction: An earlier version of this story had the incorrect address. This version has been corrected.
SOUTH SIOUX CITY | Die-hard nature lovers know that camping isn't strictly limited to the mild months of the year. That's why South Sioux City's Scenic Park Campground is open year-round.
Since 2012, the municipal campground hugging the Missouri River Scenic Park has allowed campers to rent spots over the winter months.
Hardy campers are able to set up residence in the cold thanks to thermal lines, which keep water flowing to the sites from freezing in the pipes.
Campground-goers range from traveling tradesmen working on local construction projects to local outdoor enthusiasts who don't mind braving the winter weather, said Gene Maffit, South Sioux City parks director, in a 2013 Journal interview.
The campground's capacity is 135 recreational vehicle sites and eight tent areas. Campers also can rent four cabins built by Iowa State University design students.
The riverfront campground, which has been open for over 40 years, includes modern amenities like cable, Wi-Fi, electricity, water and sewer. It also has a YMCA, tennis court, swimming pool, five softball/baseball fields, 15 soccer fields and miles of walking trails.
Volunteers have also planted approximately 500 trees to replace those lost in the 2011 flooding.
HINTON, Iowa | Back in the 1800s, it wouldn't have been unusual to see elk herds roaming through Siouxland. Elk were native to Iowa, but once settlers arrived, they were pushed out.
But a small herd roams what were once native grasslands in Hillview Recreation Area, a 275-acre park located one mile west of Hinton.
One bull and three cows make up the recreation area's herd.
The elk herd was donated in 2001, and has been maintained on a 15-acre fenced area at the park.
In a normal near, three calves are born and then sold as yearlings.
One of the main draws to the herd is the bull elk, whose massive antlers grow all summer. By winter, the antlers are full-grown and provide visitors with many opportunities for great photos. The bull then loses his antlers in late winter or early spring before growing a new set.
The elk are a popular attraction in addition to everything else the park has to offer.
"We get quite a few people who come to see them," said Nick Beeck, director of the Plymouth County Conservation Department.
According to its website, Hillview Recreation Area contains a mixture of open grasslands, restructured prairie, woodlands and wildlife habitat. It offers camping, cabins, fishing, swimming, hiking, horseback riding and cross country skiing over a network of trails, snow tubing and hunting.
SIOUX CITY | In 1998, Zurich, Switzerland, unveiled a lineup of whimsically decorated fiberglass cows that delighted residents and tourists. Following that success came animals-as-art displays in dozens of communities in Europe and the United States.
So why not in Siouxland?
Thus the Prairie Dog Quest was born.
A public art project of the Sioux City Art Center launched in November 2001, it was initiated to promote art, civic pride, tourism and Siouxland's prominence in the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial.
The project also raised funds for Art Center programs through sponsorships.
Prairie dogs were plentiful during the Lewis & Clark Expedition, which passed through the area in 1804. The explorers were fascinated by the "barking squirrels." The caught one and shipped it to President Thomas Jefferson in Washington, D.C. It later was transported to the Museum of Natural History in Philadelphia to be put on public display.
Beginning in May 2002, 41 Prairie Dogs popped up at dozens of outdoor Siouxland locations, including businesses, public buildings, medical facilities, nonprofit institutions and private homes.
University of South Dakota sculptor Martin Wanserski designed the basic form for the prairie dogs. Siouxland artists added the finishing whimsical and unique touches.
SIOUX CENTER, Iowa | Vern Den Herder was all set to become a veterinarian, graduating from Central College with a degree in chemistry. He had been accepted into the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University.
Football, though, changed those plans.
Den Herder, a 6-foot-6, 250-pound Sioux Center High School graduate, had been a two-sport standout at Central, starring in both basketball and football. The Miami Dolphins selected the defensive end in the ninth round of the 1971 NFL draft.
That summer, he and his new bride Diane decided he would give football a try as he waited to gain admission into the veterinary science program at Iowa State. Two weeks before the Dolphins trimmed their roster for the last time, the dean of Iowa State College Veterinary Medicine called to ask Den Herder if he would enroll.
“I had already survived a couple of cuts with the team,” Den Herder said in a 2008 interview. “I didn’t know if I could live with myself knowing I had come so close and not given it my best shot. So, I gave up my spot at veterinary school.”
Two weeks later he signed his first NFL contract for $14,000 and a $1,000 signing bonus.
Den Herder spent 12 seasons with the Dolphins, playing on two Super Bowl championship teams for Coach Don Shula, including the 1972 unbeaten team that finished 17-0. He was named All-AFC in 1972 and went to the Pro Bowl in 1973.
Den Herder, now 66, moved back home after his retirement from football. He became part-owner of a cattle-feeding operation and began farming on land he bought during his playing days.
SIOUX CITY | Earlier this year, like a lion, March roared into Siouxland, bringing with it more than 4 inches of snow and frigid temperatures. As evening drew nigh, the wintry landscape turned still and silent in the wake of the storm.
It was just the kind of scene that would have stirred James F. Goff from the comforts of home to travel the backroads of Woodbury County with his wife, Florence, by his side. She said he didn’t like shoveling the snow, but he sure liked looking at it.
The late artist, known by his signature as J.F. Goff, found beauty in rural landscapes, dotted by leafless trees and decrepit old barns that looked like they might just cave in at any moment. Using watercolor paints, he captured the scenes on paper with such dimension and detail – down to a single shingle and the finest of twigs.
From March through June, the Sioux City Art Center celebrated the work of J.F. Goff, displaying 35 of his watercolor paintings. More than 20 local collectors contributed to the exhibition titled “Still and Silent Places.”
With the exception of one lender from Yankton, S.D., and one from Sioux Falls, S.D., all of the paintings came from homes no more than five miles away from the Sioux City Art Center.
For about 20 years, J.F. Goff captured images of abandoned buildings and desolate landscapes. He died in 2007 at the age of 87.
Since then, his son Jim Goff has catalogued more than 650 paintings, finding some of them to be as far away as Yugoslavia and Japan.
J.F. Goff started painting in the early 1960s and stopped around 1990.
As an art teacher at East High School for nearly three decades, Goff knew how to handle most mediums, but watercolors were his favorite.
Best known for his landscapes, Goff based most of his art on the environment in and around Sioux City, developing a style that represented the sense of quiet and solitude that is still found in rural Siouxland.
JEFFERSON, S.D. | Raceway Park has gone through a name change over the years, but much of what the track was designed to be when it opened remains the same today.
The track was built in the fall of 1969 under the ownership of Cecil and Joyce Beauchene as they made the track out of farm ground. Interstate Speedway opened in 1970 with the first race being run on June 7, 1970.
The track was built with the idea of offering family-affordable entertainment and that idea continues at the track to this day. The track has drawing power from about 100 miles in any direction for the racers who came to take on the fast-paced track.
In the early '80s the track ran late models, sportsman, roadrunners and street stocks with more than 100 cars checking in to race on a given night. In 1986, the track sanctioned the IMCA modified division to provide a more affordable race car and beginning its relationship with the IMCA sanctioning body.
The track would also be known for the show it put on in addition to the racing. There was plenty of car jumping – and some crashing – to add a little more entertainment for the fans. There was also one man who claimed to be the heaviest rider to jump a motorcycle. He took his turn at the Jefferson, S.D., dirt track.
Entertainment like that led to the track being nicknamed “The Action Track” a moniker it still carries today.
“I try to keep all those staples today because I was a kid that grew up out there and I remember all these things,” track promoter Greg Golden said. “The racing was always really neat, but on top of that Cecil brought some other activity that brought that excitement level up a little bit.”
The facility has gone through a couple of different ownerships, but was bought and opened again in 2008 by Tom Reed from Dakota City, Neb., after the name had been changed to Raceway Park in 2007.
SIOUX CITY | Not very many Midwestern restaurants can lay claim to having "the most life-changing burrito in America," but Esquire readers gave La Juanita's burrito a respectable fifth place in the magazine's February 2013's "Eat Like a Man" series.
Owner Christina Bautista said she was pleased by the national attention but wasn't entirely surprised.
"When you use quality ingredients, you will always have a great burrito," she said inside her 1316 Pierce St. restaurant. "People can't get enough of our burritos."
SIOUX CITY | A deadly explosion that ripped through the east side of the Swift & Co. plant on Dec. 14, 1949, left 21 people dead and 90 injured.
The explosion was caused by a leak in a natural gas pipe that entered the plant through a basement shipping department storage room. There was no fire, just one explosion and its concussive waves. It blew out doors, pulverized stairwells, heaved concrete floors like ice floes and twisted massive steel cables into grotesque forms.
The plant's clocks stopped at 11:33 a.m.
About 700 people worked in the plant, where cattle, hogs and sheep were killed and processed.
All available firefighters and police officers quickly joined volunteers in the search for survivors. Because there weren’t enough ambulances, many of the injured were driven to hospitals in private vehicles. Gov. William S. Beardsley authorized mobilization of the National Guard to help in the disaster. The Salvation Army and the Red Cross set up canteen stations to serve coffee and sandwiches to victims and rescuers
Ammonia and gas fumes began to spread through the area as the rescue attempt continued, creating fear of another explosion. Police using loudspeakers warned people not to smoke. Some rescuers wore gas masks to prevent being overcome by the fumes.
Swift & Co. mechanics used hacksaws to cut through the wreckage and clear a way for rescuers. Automobile wreckers and a huge airplane wrecker from the Air National Guard were brought in to help clear the heavy steel girders.
The Journal reported that the injured were taken to all four of the city's hospitals. A makeshift morgue was set up in the Naval Reserve Center, where two priests administered last rites. Hundreds of workers' family members milled around, hoping against the worst.
Sioux Cityans lined up to donate blood. Swift & Co. executives flew in from Chicago to reassure employees and survey the damage, estimated at $1 million.
SIOUX CITY | The name Leo Kucinski is synonymous with bringing music to Sioux City.
A native of Warsaw, Poland, Kucinski was born June 28, 1904, the oldest of eight children and the son of a pattern maker for steel companies.
He started to study the violin at the Warsaw Conservatory of Music at the age of 6. When his father recognized his son’s talent, he moved the family to Lorain, Ohio, where the boy began his study of music at the nearby Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
When he was 15, Kucinski conducted a festival grade-school orchestra in Lorain and later organized and played first violin in the Lorain String Quartet.
Kucinski came to Sioux City in 1923, not long after graduating from Lorain High School, and began teaching violin at Morningside College.
As he pursued a career in music, Kucinski received a fellowship in conducting at Juilliard Graduate School of Music. He later received a degree in music education from Morningside College in 1936, and was awarded an honorary doctor of music degree from Morningside in 1958. The Leo Kucinski Academy of Music was established at Morningside College in 2004.
Two years after arriving in Sioux City, Kuchinski took over leadership of the Morningside Orchestra. Originally organized to give students the opportunity to experience playing in an orchestra, it eventually grew to include musicians from the community and surrounding area.
By 1929, the orchestra had grown to 50 members and was renamed the Sioux City Community Orchestra. That year, Kucinski also became the director of the world famous Monahan Post American Legion Band.. It eventually became the Sioux City Municipal Band. Kucinski remained its leader until 1980.
Under his guidance, the Sioux City Community Orchestra became the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra in 1946. Kucinski continued to serve as its conductor until 1977.
Kucinski, who died in 1998, was instrumental in the effort to build the band shell at Grandview Park.
SIOUX CITY | Nearly 40 fiberglass versions of Meriwether Lewis's Newfoundland dog, Seaman, are dotted throughout Siouxland, a testament to a public art project of the Sioux City Arts Center.
The 5-foot-tall Discovery Dogs pay tribute to the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1804. They've found homes in Sioux City; Onawa, Iowa; Dakota City, South Sioux City and Dakota Dunes.
The mention of Seaman first appears in the expedition's journals on Sept. 11, 1803, when Lewis notes the breed and qualities of "my dog," including his talent for catching and retrieving swimming squirrels. It is believed Lewis paid $20 for the dog.
Through the fundraising project, artists turned Seaman into a caricature of President Thomas Jefferson -- who sent the Corps of Discovery on its journey 200 years ago -- a Loess Hills dog, a pool shark, an Uncle Sam and even an energetic newspaper reporter carrying a camera, notebook and tape recorder, with a pencil tucked behind one furry ear. The latter is outside the Journal's office on Pavonia Street.
Launched in 2004, the project allowed businesses and individuals to sponsor a dog for slightly more than $2,000, which covered the cost of fabrication, production and shipping, plus a stipend to the artists. Smaller concrete statuettes, at 18 inches, were auctioned.
SIOUX CITY | As a downtown staple for nearly 10 years, Sculpt Siouxland is one of Sioux City Growth Organization’s most visible contributions to the area.
Members of SCGO founded the annual outdoor exhibition in 2005 after realizing the need for more creative attractions downtown. The group had a twofold mission of promoting public art and increasing downtown foot traffic.
Sculpt Siouxland now operates as an independent nonprofit group.
Artists are selected to build sculptures and lend their work to be displayed downtown, typically along Fourth, Nebraska and Pierce streets, for a year. After being on display, the approximately 10 sculptures go to auction in the spring. The Sculpt Siouxland organization buys one piece each year to add to a permanent collection.
People can also cast ballots to vote on which piece they like best. Winning artists receive cash awards, and those who cast ballots are eligible for cash prizes.
Artists from the Upper Midwest are selected by a committee and use a variety of media to create their works, which range from realistic to abstract. Local sculptors who regularly contribute are Shannon Sargent and Steve Kammerer.
SIOUX CITY | The house at 2900 Jackson St. isn’t really made out of candy. Known locally as the “Chocolate House,” the three-story structure, built during Sioux City’s most prosperous times, received its moniker because of its affiliation with a longtime business.
The house was designed by architect William D. McClaughlin for Charles Mylius, the secretary and treasurer of the Curtis Sash & Door Co. in Sioux City. The house was built in 1894, but Mylius never lived there, according to a booklet titled “Legacy of the Past,” by the Sioux City Historical Preservation Commission.
The first residents, in 1899, were Franz and Matilda Shenkberg. After the home changed hands several times, it was purchased in 1906 by Fred and Lillian Eaton. Upon Fred’s death in 1925, his daughter Dorothy lived in the house. She married Edward C. Palmer -- of Palmer Candy Co. fame -- and lived there until 1967.
In most recent times, the house – which also is known as the Palmer Mansion as well as the Chocolate House -- was restored by John and Deborah Wockenfuss, who purchased it in 2004. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Shavian Queen Anne home features zinc bull's-eye glass windows, 8 1/2-foot-tall doors, and many different types of wood including quarter-sawn oak, bird's eye maple, mahogany and walnut. The house has five-plus bedrooms, six bathrooms, a library, a drawing room, a formal dining room, a breakfast room, a master bedroom wing and a ballroom.
"We feel we're preservationists," Deborah Wockenfuss said in a 2008 Journal interview. “We just feel like we're caretakers of 'The Chocolate House' until the next generation and it's our responsibility to share its rich history with the people of Sioux City.”
All four levels have been refinished or renovated. On the exterior, all new flower beds were planted, new custom iron fence was installed and the entire house was painted.
OCHEYEDAN, Iowa | The high school teams representing Ocheyedan High School into the 1980s ago went by the Mounders, a unique nickname that played up this community's claim to fame: Ocheyedan Mound, highest point in Iowa.
The hill, which stands 1,655 feet above sea level, is southeast of the Osceola County community, located in a county park on Osceola County Road A-22.
(Iowa's high-point title was officially awarded in the 1970s to Merrill and Donna Sterler, whose farm 11 miles from Ocheyedan had Hawkeye Point, which tops out at 1,670 feet above sea level, according to the U.S. Geodetic Survey.)
Ocheyedan Mound, a free site for visitors, is often decorated with white rock as folks who stop by sometimes arrange the rocks in the initials of their family. It was dedicated as a state and county preserve in October 1984.
The mound, which measures one-third of a mile, was used as an observation point and a place of mourning by Native Americans. It's also a place to picnic and sled.
A sign at the foot of the mound details its origin: "The mound is a kame of glacial origin. Kames are mounds composed of highly complexly stratified sand and gravel deposited by glacial melt-water streams where the streams descended into crevasses in the ice.
"This occurred during the final stages of ice melting and disappearance of the glaciers 12,000 to 14,000 years ago."
Ocheyedan Mound was also the site of a most unsettling Easter event in the 1920s or 1930s. Locals still have a postcard left behind from that time. It shows the Ku Klux Klan attending an Easter sunrise church service at Ocheyedan Mound.
The Ku Klux Klan, at that time, it's been said, had a presence in Osceola County, Iowa's smallest county.
ORANGE CITY, Iowa | The granddaddy of Siouxland spring celebrations turns 75 this year as the Orange City Tulip Festival plays out May 14-16.
The festival allows residents of Orange City to wear their Dutch heritage on their sleeves, or their feet, in this case, as hundreds don wooden shoes while parading downtown, playing musical instruments, marching with the bands, scrubbing the streets or participating in traditional Dutch dance displays.
Orange City was settled in 1869 by four Dutch immigrants who left their settlement in Pella, Iowa, and headed northwest to establish a second colony. Pella's Tulip Festival plays out just ahead of the Orange City Tulip Festival and the queen's courts from both communities attend both celebrations.
Cara Venema recently was crowned 2015 Tulip Festival Queen. Venema, a senior at MOC-Floyd Valley High School in Orange City, is the daughter of Dan and Tonya Venema. Court members include Jennifer Droog, Sydney Huizenga, Micah Vande Vegte and Emily Wielenga.
A queen has been crowed to reign over the Tulip Festival since 1937.
An honorary dignitary called the "Burgomeester" has helps start and preside over the celebration. Deb De Haan, Orange City mayor, presided over the 2014 celebration.
In addition to multiple parades each day, there's a Dutch street market open daily downtown, a place offering all sorts of Dutch treats within easy view of tens of thousands of tulips in bloom at Windmill Park, a picturesque setting that surrounds the historic Sioux County Courthouse.
There's also a musical each year. In 2014, Meredith Willson's "The Music Man" celebrated the Tulip Festival's Night Show, the first ever in the new Knight Theater at Orange City Unity Christian High School.