Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sioux City History and Culture by Bicycle Part 106: William Labarth Steele Part 1: Short Bio. and Info.

William Labarth Steele is perhaps one of Sioux City's most famous architects. He was born May 1875 in Springfield, Illinois. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1896. Much of his training was in Chicago under famed architect Lewis Sullivan, father of Sullivanesque architecture, who also trained with Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1904 Steele moved to Sioux City to work for, and later form a partnership with W. W. Beach. Steele designed dozens of homes and buildings, and many of these structures are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A few of his designs include the Woodbury County Courthouse, the Willeges building in downtown Sioux City, and several of the city’s Branch Libraries. For a time he lived at 2512 Jackson Street. In 1928 Steele moved to Omaha and died in 1949.

William Steele was the 3rd generation of Prairie School style architecture. It was created by Frank Lloyd Wright, the 2nd generation was Lewis Sullivan who incorporated his own style into it creating Sullivanesque style architecture and from there continued by William L. Steele.

Looking at several fo Steele's buildings it is obvious where he got his influences from.

Here is a brief description of Prairie Style architecture:
Prairie Style (1900 – 1920)
• Low, long appearance
• Low-pitched roof, gently sloping
• Widley overhanging eaves
• Often massive square porch supports
Foursquare (a sub category)
• Simple square or rectangular plan
• Low pitched roof symmetrical fa├žade
• Entrance may be centered or off-centered
• Front porch usually extends full length of house

This post is a first in the series about William Labarth Steele designed buildings in the Sioux City area. Next will be buildings I had already posted about that were designed by Steele, starting with commercial buildings, then churches and finally houses. I have also been doing research on the other buildings Steele designed and will post about the commercial buildings first, then churches and finally houses. There will also be a post about the buildings he designed that are no longer standing. Please note not all of these buildings were soley designed by William L. Steele, some of them he helped and others he was given credit for because he had the highest influence on the design. Such info. will be posted as it becomes known to me during my research.

I think it is safe to say while men like Jon Cook founded Sioux City and men like John Peirce and William Gordon helped promote Sioux City it was men like William Labarth Steele who helped design and build Sioux City.

Thank you for reading and please enjoy this next series of Sioux City History and Culture by Bicycle.

Monday, December 15, 2008

History and Culture by Bicycle Part 105: Coca Cola Holiday Caravan

On Friday Dec 12 and Sunday Dec 14 the Coca Cola Holiday Caravan was on display for all to see. The Coca Cola Holiday Caravan is a full sized 18 wheel semi-truck with over 25,000 lights on it that Coca Cola sends around the country during the Christmas Holiday Season. People can come and have their free picture taken with Santa and the Coca Cola Bear. Coca Cola is also partnering with the Marine Corps Reserve with their Toys For Tots program. This was the 3rd year I have seen the truck in the Sioux City area. This is the first year I took photo's of it. It really is an impressive truck.

I am sure some of you are thinking who would be crazy enough to ride bike to see this thing in the winter time. Well, not me, at least not this year. I have 2 very good reasons why not. One is I work until 7 pm and would not have made it on Friday night in time to see it even though the temps. were not too bad, I could have ridden and stayed comfortable. The other is when I did take photo's of it on Sunday night it was severe winter weather. It was around -3 degrees F, with a wind chill of -30 degrees F, the wind was blowing the snow around between 20 and 40 mph. I was only out there taking the photo's for maybe 5 to 10 min. I had my heavy winter coat on, winter boots, winter bomber style fur lined hat and gloves on. By the time I was done I could not feel most of my fingers, a good portion of my legs were numb and I could not feel my face at all. I imagine had I been out there any longer any exposed areas of my skin would have had frost bite. So not exactly bike riding weather, though there are probably some who would ride in this type of weather.

Despite the severe weather I braved the elements, took my tri-pod, digital camera and captured the photo's you see below.

I know the caravan travels to area where it is nice enough to ride bike pretty much year round. In past years when it has been in Sioux City it has been nice enough to ride, just not when I took the photo's in this blog post.

Here is the news paper story and more info. on the Coca Cola Holiday Caravan:
Coca-Cola Holiday Caravan will visit Siouxland
Coca Cola Holiday Caravan


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sioux City History and Culture by Bicycle Part 104: Discovery Dogs

As mentioned in the previous post about the Prairie Dog Quest that was during the Lewis and Clark Corps of DIscovery Expedition celebration from 2004 to 2006 there were also statues created called Discovery Dogs as part of the celebration to commemorate the journey that was from 1804 to 1806. These fiberglass statues were painted and decorated with specific themes like the prairie dogs and placed through out the Greater Siouxland area. After they were on public display for a period of time they were auctioned off. Some ended up in private collection never to be seen again by the public but others are still on public display.

The Discovery Dogs were created because of Captain William Clarks Newfoundland dog Seaman. Seaman was an important part of the expedition. One time he even saved the camp by chasing off a bison who had wandered too close. This is mentioned in the journals written during the trip.

Here is the location of where the Discovery Dogs were located while on public display:
Seaman, the Discovery Dogs public art program now on display at 30 locations around Siouxland

I have managed to take photo's of the dogs I know of that are still on public display. Here they are:

The News Hound is on display outside the Sioux City Journal office.

The Discover Art Dog is on display in front of a beauty saln on Pierce St.

Dreamer is on display in front of the Sioux City Art Center.

Hot Fudge Hound is on display in front of the historic Green Gables Resteraunt on the corner of 18th and Pierce Streets.

One Giant Step Dog is on display at Karls Electronics across from Southern Hills Mall in Morningside.

Sioux City History and Culture by Bicycle Part 103: Prairie Dog Quest

Starting in 2004 and ending in 2006 Sioux City along with several other communities along the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery Route celerated the 200th Anniversary of the historic trip that was made from 1804 to 1806. Captain's Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson to make this trip shortly after the Louisana Purchase. During the trip they made many discovery's and brought back plants and animals white man had ever seen before. One of these animals were prairie dogs.

As part of the celebration during the 200th Anniversary the Sioux City Art Center sponsored a project to have 40 prarie dog statues created out of fiberglass and painted/decorated in various themes to be placed around Sioux City. After a period of time when they were on public display they were then auctioned off. After the auction a majority of the prairie dog statues were put into private collections never to be seen again by the public. But a some are still on public display today.

There are 22 that I know of in this regional area that are still on public display. Keep in mind this is as of 2 years ago. Some of these may no longer be on public display.
1. Prairie Children - located at Motor Parts Central 801 Lewis Blvd.
2. Mister Money - located in one of the Security National Bank branches, I do not know which one.
3. Prairie Dog Blues - located at the Century 21 office on Historic 4th St.
4. Prairie Doordog - located in the front lobby of the Orpheum Theater Building in downtown Sioux City.
5. Downtown Dog - located in front of the Downtown Partners office in downtown Sioux City on Pierce St.
6. Gumball Dog - located at the various First Federal Bank locations.
7. Multi Facted Mozaic Murray - located at the Sioux City Convention Center.
8. Fargo - located at the downtown branch of the Wells Fargo Bank.
9. Charger - located on the campu of Briar CLiff College.
10. Lovey Dog - located at the Siouxland Regional Cancer Center.
11. Prairiewether Lewis - located at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.
12. William-Dog Clark - located at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.
13. Prairie Dog Tales - located at Sgt. Floyd Museum and Welcome Center.
14. Corn Dog - located at one of the WIlson Trailer locations.
15. Family Dog - located at the Boys and Girls Home of Sioux City.
16. Prairie Dog of the Heartland - located at the offices of Cardiovascular Associates.
17. Prarie Explorer Dog - located at the CNOS office in Dakota Dunes.
18. Generations Dog - located at Regency Square Center.
19. Prairie Perspective - located at Chesterman Company.
20. Tile Dog - located at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.
21. Prairie Dog with Friends - possibly lcoated at the Onawa Chamber of Commerce office in Onawa, Iowa.
22. Nothin' but a Prairie Hound Dog - located at Winnevegas Casino in Winnebago, Nebraska.

There may be others still on public display but these are the only ones I know of right now.

Here is a map of where the statues used to be and where the current ones still are:
Where to find the Prairie Dogs

Here is a list of where the Prairie Dogs are located today:
Here's where oh, where the prairie dogs have gone

Thursday, December 11, 2008

History and Culture by Bicycle: Update

As a lot of you can tell I have not posted anything recent in this blog. The reason is simple. It is too darn cold, snowy and icy out to be going out and taking photo's. At least for me it is. How ever that does not mean I am not busy gathering the info. I need to continue with posting about historical and cultural sites, locations and events. Far from it. I do have a few things to post about that I need to do a little bit more of a internet search for.

I am also working on my next large historical project for this blog. It is going to be on William LaBarth Steel. I have already posted about his architectural style and some of the buildings he designed or has taken credit for designing. I have a lot more to post about and have recently found out I have barely scratched the surface. I am doing most of my research at the Pearl Street Research Center in downtown Sioux City. They literally have several boxes of files on Steele.

Here is a tentative idea on how I am going to post about William L. Steele. First I will do a recap post about all of the buildings he is credited for desiging that I have posted about so far. These buildings will be catagorized by type, commercial, churches and houses. They will be in one post that will include more information that I have on him. Then I will post about the buildings he is credited for that I have not posted about, like the buildings I have psoted about they will be catagorized by type, commercial, churches and then houses. After which I will post about the buildings he is credited for that are no longer standing today and again they too will be catagorized as mentioned above. Included in this information will be information from a thesis that was written about him called Sermons in Stone. It is about the churches he designed.

I have a lot of research to do on William L. Steele and by the time it is noce enough to take photo's of the buildings I will have enough to start posting about him once again.