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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Sioux Falls in Minnehaha County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Flooding

 
 
Flooding Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 21, 2016
1. Flooding Marker
Inscription. Floods have been common along the Big Sioux River for hundreds of years. The combination of flat land, heavy snows, and spring rains can be disastrous. One of the most devastating floods occurred in 1881. The winter had been particularly harsh, beginning with a blizzard in October and lasting until late April.

A newspaper account from the 1881 Dakota Pantagraph recounts the destruction caused by a flood through downtown Sioux Falls. An ice dam had broken apart near the confluence of Skunk Creek and the Big Sioux River. Water and ice flowed down the river until reaching the bridge over Tenth Street, knocking it down, as well as washing away several other structures.

Other less damaging floods occurred again in 1888, 1909, 1915, 1922, 1929, and 1937. From 1907 to 1910, drainage ditches were constructed north of town with the hopes of preventing major flooding in the flat farmlands as well as throughout Sioux Falls. A spillway, just north of the Penitentiary, was added in 1908.

Significant floods in 1951 and again in 1957 solidified the need for increased flood control. The flood crest in 1957 was 86.7 feet, the highest since 92 feet in 1881. Between 1955 and 1961, several important steps were taken to control flooding through Sioux Falls, including the construction of levees, diversion channels, and
Marker detail: Lone Rock, ca. 1875 image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: Lone Rock, ca. 1875
This rock in the middle at the falls was called Lone Rock. During the flood of 1881 ice knocked it over.
the replacement of the spillway. The City of Sioux Falls is constantly coordinating with FEMA to regulate flooding through additional studies and levee improvements.
 
Erected by Big Sioux River Recreation Trail and Greenway, and Siouxland Heritage Museums.
 
Location. 43° 33.012′ N, 96° 43.456′ W. Marker is in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in Minnehaha County. Marker can be reached from North Cherapa Place south of East 6th Street. Touch for map. Marker is located along the Big Sioux River Recreation Trail, overlooking the river. Marker is at or near this postal address: 300 North Cherapa Place, Sioux Falls SD 57104, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Quarries (here, next to this marker); Recreation (here, next to this marker); Urban Renewal (a few steps from this marker); Early Sioux Falls (a few steps from this marker); Railroads (within shouting distance of this marker); Industry (within shouting distance of this marker); Manchester Biscuit Company (within shouting distance of this marker); Raven Industries (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sioux Falls.
 
More about this marker. Marker is a large composite plaque, mounted at eye-level on a
Marker detail: Photo of the Eighth Street bridge prior to 1881 when the flood destroyed it image. Click for full size.
3. Marker detail: Photo of the Eighth Street bridge prior to 1881 when the flood destroyed it
tall stone pillar.
 
Also see . . .
1. Sioux Falls saw record rain falls in the spring of 1957 causing magor flooding. This link presents an historic photo of the 1957 flood. (Submitted on October 11, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Big Sioux's Mighty Flood. This is the story of a Sioux Falls hotel where the guests departed and then the hotel departed. It is the story of a reporter whose apparent assignment was to identify and record the buildings floating by. When a building broke loose from its foundation and floated away, a news account referred to the episode as a “departure.” Sioux Falls experienced a major flood in April 1881 in which 33 buildings, most of them commercial structures, were swept away by swollen waters of the Big Sioux River. (Submitted on October 11, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsDisastersWaterways & Vessels
 
Marker detail: Lower end of the spillway collapsing from the pressure of the flood waters, 1915 image. Click for full size.
4. Marker detail: Lower end of the spillway collapsing from the pressure of the flood waters, 1915
Marker detail: Eighth Street bridge during the 1957 flood image. Click for full size.
5. Marker detail: Eighth Street bridge during the 1957 flood
Flooding Marker (<i>tall view; Big Sioux River in background</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 21, 2016
6. Flooding Marker (tall view; Big Sioux River in background)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 12, 2018. This page originally submitted on October 9, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 15 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 11, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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