Thursday, May 31, 2012

Changes at the Mid America Air and Transportation Museum

Over a year ago this blog article was posted about the Mid America Air and Transportation Museum:

Since then there have been changes at the Mid America Air and Transportation Museum. Here they are:

Monday, May 28, 2012

2012 Memorial Day Dedication to Theophile Bruguier and Chief War Eagle

On Saturday May 26, 2012 the Memorial Day Dedication to Theophile Bruguier took place where both men are buried, high atop a bluff over looking the Missouri River in Sioux City's War Eagle Park. The dedication speech was provided by Sioux City Public Museum staff member Tom Munson and a wreath laid at each of the monuments by the Girls of '68. Both men were honored in this ceremony because of their importance to the area's early history. With the efforts of War Eagle or Bruguier Sioux City may never have developed into the city it is today.

Early Iowa History Timeline:

April 30, 1803 - The third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson completes the acquisition of 828,000 square miles from France for the amount of $11,250,000. This became known as the Louisiana Purchase. What became the state of Iowa was part of this territory.

1804 to 1806 - The Lewis and Clark Expedition, also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition took place as the first transcontinental journey to the pacific coast undertaken by the United States. Commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson it was lead by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.

August 1804 - Sergeant Charles Floyd, died and was buried on a high bluff overlooking the Missouri River, deemed Floyd's Bluff by Lewis and Clark. He was the only white man to die during the expedition.

December 28, 1846 - Iowa becomes the 29th state of the union.

Wambdi Okicize, or Chief War Eagle Timeline:

Around 1785 - Wambdi Okicize, who's Indian name actually means "Little Eagle" was born in either Wisconsin or Minnesota. Despite his name as War Eagle he sought to keep the peace. He left his former home tribe, the Isanti sometimes referred to as Santee to prevent a battle as to who was to become chief.

War Eagle served as a river boat guide/pilot on the upper Mississippi and worked for the American Fur Company delivering messages.

During the War of 1812 - War Eagle carried messages for the government.

Having spent all this time with the whites greatly affected his view toward these people. He saw them as friends rather than enemies.

Around 1830 - War Eagle married Mazakirawin in Minnesota and was adopted into the Ihanktonwan or Yankton Sioux Tribe. They had had seven children, four girls and three boys.

1837 - War Eagle was awarded a silver medal by President Martin Van Buren. He was most proud of receiving the medal. His family still proudly displays the medal to this day. It was also by this time he was elected chief of his tribe and was invited to to travel to Washington, D.C. with other tribal leaders from around the nation to negotiate peace treaties.

Mid to late 1830's - Theophile Bruguier and Chief War Eagle meet when Bruguier was working for the American Fur Company. Bruguier was accepted into the Yankton tribe and traveled with War Eagle's band for several years. The 2 became close friends. Bruguier married 2 of War Eagle's daughters, Dawn and Blazing Cloud.

Bruguier told War Eagle of a dream he had of a beautiful place where two rivers joined together. War Eagle told him he had been to that place and would show it to him.

1840's - Bruguier claimed the land at the confluence of the Sioux and the Missouri river

1849 -  Bruguier built one of at least 7 cabins, and with his two wives began to homestead the land and trade with the Indians. War Eagle and his band visited the area often and stayed in teepees and log cabins located on the property.

Fall of 1851 - War Eagle died. He was buried atop the bluff overlooking the Missouri River Valley. Along with War Eagle his two daughters Dawn and Blazing Cloud, and several others including grandchildren were buried on this bluff. Today the bluff is part of War Eagle Park with a monument honoring the great chief.

War Eagle is best remembered as a person who believed in peace and worked his whole life toward that goal. Because of his leadership among the tribes, the Indians and the whites learned to work together without having to resort to violence.

Theophile Bruguier Timeline:

August 31, 1813 - Theophile Bruguier was born in a small town near Montreal, Canada.

Educated to become a lawyer, he had begun to practice law and became engaged to a young French girl, Marie. Just before the marriage, she became very ill with cholera and died.

A grieving Bruguier left Canada to begin a rugged life as a fur trader/interpreter with the American Fur Company in St. Louis, Missouri.

January 1, 1836 - Sent by his employer, the American Fur Trading Companmy, Bruguier's arrived at Fort Pierre, Dakota Territory.

Already able to speak English and French, Bruguier quickly learned the Dakota language of the Sioux Indians.

worked for the American Fur Company and later as an independent fur-trader, buying furs from the Sioux Indians and selling them to small fur companies. Often he traveled along the Missouri River. In his work, he met and developed a friendship with a Yankton Sioux Indian tribe led by Chief War Eagle

Mid to late 1830's - Theophile Bruguier and Chief War Eagle meet when Bruguier was working for the American Fur Company. He dwelt among the tribe, learning their customs and earning their respect. His friendship and knowledge of the Sioux people helped ease the tensions between the white settlers and the Indians on many occasions. Bruguier was accepted into the Yankton tribe and traveled with War Eagle's band for several years. The 2 became close friends. Bruguier married 2 of War Eagle's daughters, Dawn and Blazing Cloud. With these wives he had thirteen children.

According to legend, Theophile Bruguier told his friend War Eagle about a dream he had of land where two rivers joined together near a high bluff. War Eagle told him that he knew of just such land near the mouth of the Sioux River on the Missouri and showed his friend the beautiful area.

1849 - Bruguier settled down and established a farm and trading post on the land of his dream. His farm included several log cabins and many teepees used by members of War Eagle and his family

1852 - Bruguier sold part of this land, from Perry Creek east to the Floyd River, to a fellow former fur trapper for the American Fur Company and good friend, Joseph Leonais.

Bruguier also encouraged James A. Jackson, a fur trade outfitter, to come to this area from Kanesville, later renamed Council Bluffs, to start a trading post

Jackson convinced his father-in-law, Dr. John Cook, of the area's potential as a future city. Cook was a government surveyor.

August 1853 - As the area grew Bruguier continued in the trade business, also serving as an Indian commissioner and a wagon freighter. He was one of the 17 people who cast their votes in the first election in Woodbury County.

He was appointed Clerk of Courts, but never served his post and was replaced after a year.

Mid to Late 1850's - Dr. Cook surveyed and purchased the land that became Sioux City, Iowa helping the new town to become officially incorporated.

Late 1850's - After the death of his wives Bruguier traveled to St. Louis on business and met Victoria Turnott.

1860's - Bruguier married Victoria and returned to Sioux City with her. They settled on 500 acres of land he owned in the Salix, Iowa area. He raised crops and livestock and was well known and liked by people in the area.

February 18, 1896 - Theophile Bruguier died of pneumonia and was buried in the Catholic Parish Cemetery north of Salix.

1926 - Bruguier was re-interred on the bluff of War Eagle Park near the graves of Chief War Eagle and his first two wives, Dawn and Blazing Cloud.

2012 Memorial Day Dedication to Theophile Bruguier and Chief War Eagle Video

Information source:
Theophile Bruguier
War Eagle

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Grand Views from Grandview Park

On Tuesday May 22, 2012 the Sioux City Public Museum conducted a walking tour at one of Sioux City's most historic parks, Grandview Park.


1885: The first of 2 water reservoirs are constructed on the highest hill of what was to become Grandview Park. The reservoir was a very large pool that held about 2 million gallons of water.

1906: At a time when there was no park sentiment in Sioux City 30 acres of pastureland were purchased on the city's north side by an independent park commission head by Edwin C. Peters.

Within 2 years 2,200 trees had been planted and grass seed and sod covered the grounds. Flower gardens started to bloom and winding drives meandered through the hills of the 30 acre area.

August 1908: 3,500 people gathered to watch the commission present the  new Grandview Park to the city of Sioux City.

As Sioux City grew Grandview Park provided a place people could  play, enjoy nature and listen to music.

1924: John and Elizabeth Magoun donated the Lincoln Statue located at the south entrance to the park. It is a very similar likeness of the late president that Mr. Magoun had admired in Jefferson, Iowa.

1930: The Monahan Post Band, lead by Leo Kucinski, who was Sioux City's "Mr. Music", began an earnest campaign to build a band shell. The city parks department was willing to cooperate but there were no funds available due to the Great Depression.

August 1930: Friends of the Monahan Post Band agreed to guarantee a small construction loan for a simple structure, which the band would repay. Work began on the band shell.

Neighboring property owners felt the modest structure was unworthy of the beautiful setting of the park and work on the project halted. With the plan to build the structure on hold until a more acceptable band shell could be built the band worked to secure more funds.

November 7, 1933: 2 things happened to change the scope and size of the band shell project: President Roosevelt created the Civil Works Administration, or CWA. The manager of the Monahan Post Band was shown a drawing of a music shell that had won an honorable mention at a Paris competition.

Late 1933 to early 1934: Applications were prepared asking that the development of the natural amphitheater and construction of the band shell in Grandview Park be included in the CWA projects for Sioux City. Within two weeks, nineteen civic organizations had endorsed the proposal. The requests were sent to Des Moines and Washington D.C.

February 26, 1934: The application was approved and the band pavilion project became CWA Project Number 217. Award-winning plan by local architect Henry Kamphoefner was accepted as the perfect design for the Grandview Park music pavilion. It later won the notice of designers around the world and received numerous awards.

March 5, 1934: Despite a delay in the project when the CWA was reorganized under the Federal Emergency Relief Administration work on the project began.

October 17, 1934: The last cement was poured for the band shell.

The structure required 52 tons of reinforcing steel, 4,200 bags of Portland cement, and 300 bags of white cement. Herschel Elarth designed the sculptured plaques on the front. First, he created the figures in clay. Then molds of the designs were made and brought to Sioux City. Casts of the molds were then made in white cement.

The orchestral stage was designed to accommodate 100 musicians or a chorus of 300. The building also featured two large dressing rooms, two smaller dressing rooms, a conductor's room, library, and storage room. Seating for 5,000 was constructed in the natural amphitheatre. Project costs, as approved by the CWA, included $47,436 from Federal Relief funds and $3,800 in materials from the city of Sioux City.

Spring 1935: The music pavilion was dedicate. The Monahan Post Band played there every summer. 

1937: The current Rose Garden was created where it is today. It was sponsored by the Sioux City Municipal Rose Garden Association, a partnership of the Iowa Rose Society, Sioux City Garden Club, American Association of University Women and other interested individuals. Designed by landscape architect Newell Guernsey the rose garden features: more than 100 varieties of roses and arching trellises.

February 17, 1938: Sioux City Journal described one tribute: "The Sioux City music pavilion in Grandview Park, brain child of a young, unemployed and unknown architect of the city, who drew the plans in the basement studio at his home here, is to be included in an exhibit of the American Institute of Architecture, which will be shown throughout the United States and in Europe. This latest honor will place it among ~100 representative and distinguished (structures) erected in the United States since 1918."

1948: The Monahan Post Band became the Sioux City Municipal Band. The still play their free concerts at the band shell every summer to this day.

Links to more info and source:
Grandview Park & the Band Shell
Grandview Park Water Tanks
Sioux City History & Culture by Bicycle Part 7: Grandview Park