Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sioux City History and Culture by Bicycle Part 183; Transportation and Aviation Museum

Soon a new Transportation and Aviation Museum will be opening up in Sioux City. On September 11, 2001 the old museum clsoed because of the terrorist attacks. The new building is located on Expedition Cir. near the Sioux Gateway Airport. The prior museum was on the 185th Air National Guard Base. The exhibits are in storage awaiting their new home with some of the large exhibits located outside the new building. The new 30,000 square foot facility will inlcude exhbit space, office, computer room and classroom. I will post more on the new museum building once it is complete and open to the public.

On Saturday August 29, there was a public Cornerstone Laying Ceremony conducted by the Grand Lodge of Iowa for the new museum. I was both proud and honored to be a part of it.

Link and photo's;

Mid America Transportation and Aviation Museum

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sioux City History and Culture by Bicycle Part 176; Riverside Park

Riverside Park is a 100 acre facility located in the Riverside neighborhood of Sioux CIty, Iowa. It has a long and unique history and is one of, if not the oldest in Sioux City.

"What did the citizens of Sioux City do for entertainment in the late 1890s through the 1920s?

The answer is Riverside Park. This part of the city was a major attraction for the region. From the first amusement park (complete with a roller coaster), to country clubs, picnic grounds, baseball fields, racing tracks, and fairgrounds, Riverside had it all.

The main attraction to the area was the Sioux River. Unlike the channelized river of today, the old Sioux was a slow moving, picturesque river up to two hundred yards in width. Because people had no air conditioning, being around water was a definite summer attraction.

You could swim, canoe, row, or travel by steamboat up and down the quiet, tree-lined river. People would ride the street car to the area to picnic or camp. Another possibility for recreation was to join one of the five boat and country clubs which lined the river's shore. These clubs provided more than just water sports. There were rooms for playing cards, shooting pool, reading, and dances.

More than 20,000 people came to watch the Ringling Brothers Circus bath their elephants in the Sioux River.

The Interstate Fair, which began in 1903 and continued until 1926 was another major attraction. Under the leadership of F. L. Eaton the fair became the largest private fair in the nation. Farmers and ranchers from the tri-state area brought their livestock and crops to compete in contests. 4-H competition among the children was keen.
The fair included the usual exhibits and midway. But they also had a two-mile track where all kinds of races were held. Early automobile races, horse races, bicycle races, and even fire truck races drew large crowds to the track.

The Riverside area was also home to the city's most successful brick plant. The Sioux City Brick and Tile plant produced 100 million bricks and tiles annually. The plant was the second largest employer in the city for many years.

Other large employers in the Riverside area included the Sioux City Vinegar and Pickling Works and the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad repair shops."

Today the amusement park, country club, racing track, fairgrounds, beach from which you could swim, steamboats, circus, Interstate Fair, The Sioux City Brick and Tile plant, Sioux City Vinegar and Pickling Works and the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad repair shops are all gone from Riverside Park and the Riverside area in general. However the park is still here and boasts the access for the Lewis and Clark Multi-Use Trail, Bruguier Cabin, Missouri River Boat Club, Council Oak Manor, the Council Oak Building, The Mighty Council Oak Tree, Riverside Pool, a tennis court, baseball/softball fields, soccer fields, sand volley ball pits, several shelters for gatherings, playgrounds for children, bathrooms, open picnic areas with grills plus a lot of spacious room for people to enjoy the fresh air. There is also an annual event called Riverssance held inside the park. Several organizations rent the shelters for their events throughout the year as do families who celebrate anniversaries, birthdays and other special events. There have been at least 2 organized bicycle rides this blog author has participated in that has started from Riverside Park. It serves the community well and is very diverse in what the park offers. While the park has undergone several changes over the last 100+ years and still serves as one the areas best parks.

History of Riverside Park

Photo's showing the Riverside Park of the past.;

Photo's as the park looks today.;