Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Returning to our "New" Home State

Sioux Falls, SD

On Sunday morning we packed up from the Samboree in Hastings, NE and headed 6 hours north to our "new" home state of South Dakota.  When we retired and became fulltime RVers we selected South Dakota as our legal state of domicile. Last December we flew from Virginia to South Dakota and changed over all of   the necessary items to become legal residents of the state of South Dakota.  The only negative was our timing, December! Needless to say, we didn't get a chance to see too much of South Dakota. We'll be here in Sioux Falls (the largest city in South Dakota) for the next 8 days, then travel over to the other side of the state to visit the Rapid City area for 12 days.

From what we've seen of South Dakota in the short 2 days since we arrived, we are impressed.  There is a 19.2 mile paved recreational path which completely circles the city.  Along that route are MANY city parks. We took no camera yesterday, so we'll have to save that subject for another post.

Visitor Center and Observation Tower
Today we visited the city's official Visitor Center located in the city's namesake of Sioux Falls Park.
The major natural attraction here is Sioux Falls which are located on the Big Sioux River.

"For Which It Stands"
Each year the city holds a contest for artists who create a bronze sculpture. The art works are displayed throughout the main street area and one is selected by popular vote. The city then purchases the work and puts it on permanent display.  This is an example of a winner from 2006 entitled "For Which It Stands" by James Haire. (Unfortunately, out of the picture, is the American Flag in the direction which the little girl is looking.)

Here's an overview of the Falls looking from the top of the observation tower.

Remains of mill to extreme left side
Reconstructed turbine house in center
One of the earliest commercial uses at the Falls was the Queen Bee Mill. Construction of the mill began in August, 1879 and was completed two years later at a cost of nearly a half million dollars. The mill was one of the largest in the Midwest standing 104 tall, 80 feet wide, and 100 feet long. It could produce 1200 barrels of flour per day. The mill derived its' power by diverting the flow of the water thru a large 800 hp turbine. By 1883, the mill's owners were bankrupt. It failed because of insufficient water power, the scarcity of high grade wheat and the inability to pay dividends to its investors. The mill changed ownership several times, but shut down for good at the end of WWI when it was converted to a storage facility. In 1956, a fire destroyed the majority of the structure.  Only some of the exterior walls remain intact today.

With the absence of fences, it's possible to get "up close and personal" with the Falls.

Here I am attempting to get a closer look at the Falls at they tumble down the stony canyons.

A few other views of the Falls.

Trying to describe and photograph the Falls via flat, one-dimensional pictures is somewhat limiting. The     following short video will hopefully give you a better feeling for the area.  

Thanks for dropping by to take a look!


  1. I really enjoy your pictures and the blog very much. Thanks for the phone call tonight, too, it makes you seem not so far away.

  2. Replies
    1. Oops. Thanks for the catch John. Corrected above. I guess that's what happens when you try and write these blogs when you should be sleeping.

  3. Beautiful set of falls ... I could see us spending quite a bit of time exploring them from the various vantage points.

  4. Hope you enjoy the Billions of car dealers in Sioux Falls. ;c)

    1. Ok, Paul, you had me on that one. I had to look up Billions Automotive to figure it out.

  5. Like you, we were in and out of S.F. in 24 hours - in December. We may go back on our swing east to see the family.

    1. I think you should if you get a chance. There is a lot to see and do, and we've only made it to Sioux Falls so far.