Early in the history of the settlement of Minnehaha county, her enterprising citizens, especially those residing at Sioux Falls, were engaged in projects to obtain railroad connections with the outside world.

The people of the little village of Sioux Falls recognized the advantages of its location and were filled with great expectations that at some time in the near future a prosperous city would rapidly spring up on the banks of the Sioux.  To hasten the time when this should be accomplished, nothing promised greater results than securing railroad connections.

On Monday evening, August 20, 1874, with only a few hours notice, a large assembly convened at Allen’s hall in Sioux Falls to consider the question of offering some inducement for the building of a railroad into town.  Right here, at the first railroad meeting ever held within the boundaries of Minnehaha county the people were told that if Sioux Falls was ever to be anything but a village, railroad facilities must be secured; and this statement has been made with great earnestness at every railroad meeting held since then, whenever steps were being taken to secure a new line of road.  Meetings of this character usually result in passing a resolution at least, and this meeting resolved as follows:  “That the town of Sioux Falls and Minnehaha county will donate to the first railroad that is completed to this place fifty thousand dollars, provided said road reaches Sioux Falls by the first day of November, 1876.”  From information received in reference to this meeting we know that some of those present thought that November 1, 1876, was the latest day Sioux Falls could get along without a railroad, and others thought that it was as early a date as the funds could be secured.

From this time on, the people never let the railroad question rest, and all sorts of projects and schemes were devised to get a railroad; and the town was exceedingly fortunate in having among its early settlers some of the most energetic, enterprising and capable men that ever settled in a new country.

On the 2d day of November, 1875, a large and enthusiastic crowd of people gathered at Allen’s hall to consider an offer that had been made to the people of Minnehaha county by the Sioux City and Pembina railroad company to build a railroad to Sioux Falls and have it in operation by the 1st day of November, 1876, upon the condition that Minnehaha county would raise $100,000 in aid of the project.

Resolutions were passed to the effect that the interest of Minnehaha county demanded a railroad, and that the citizens would do all in their power to aid any company to build a road to Sioux Falls; also that immediate steps be taken to organize a local company, survey a route, open stock books and solicit subscriptions along the line of survey.  A committee was appointed to institute the necessary proceedings to this end, consisting of M.L. Wood, E.A. Sherman, Joseph Roberts, Newton Clark, R.F. Pettigrew, J.D. Cameron and Melvin Grigsby.  The committee met the day following, and after reviewing the situation it was decided “to organize a railroad company to be known as the Sioux Falls Railroad Company,” having for its object the building of a railroad, with one of its termini at Yankton and the other at a point on the eastern boundary of Dakota in the town of Valley Springs.  M. Grigsby was appointed to draft the articles of incorporation, and on November 10, the organization was perfected.  The company consisted of M. Grigsby, E.A. Sherman, R.F. Pettigrew, A.F. Shaw, Joseph Roberts, M.L. Wood and J.D. Cameron, who at once caused a survey to be made of the line.

Another railroad meeting of the citizens of Minnehaha county was held in Sioux Falls on the 22d day of January, 1876, and although the expression was unanimous in favor of aiding any railroad company in building into Sioux Falls, still, the general opinion was that $50,000 would be as much as the county could afford to donate.  During the month of March, 1876, the Worthington and Sioux Falls railroad company was organized at St. Paul, with the view of making a connection with the road to be built by the Sioux Falls company, and this company proceeded to build a railroad from Worthington in the direction of Sioux Falls, completing its line to Luverne during the fall of 1877.

At the citizen’s meeting held September 5, 1877, in Sioux Falls, some of the officials of the Sioux City and St. Paul and St. Paul and Sioux City Railroad company made the following proposition:  “If the citizens of Minnehaha county will vote us aid to the amount of $25,000, and the village of Sioux Falls will vote us an additional amount of $10,000, we will build and equip a railroad to Sioux Falls on or before October 1, 1878.”  On the 28th day of September, 1877, Horace Thompson of St. Paul, president of the Worthington and Sioux Falls Railroad Co., addressed a letter to the commissioners of Minnehaha county, proposing to build that line of road into Sioux Falls by the first day of October, 1878, if certain conditions contained in the letter were complied with.  He required that the County of Minnehaha should raise $25,000 in aid of the road, and said in this communication that he made this proposition with the expectation that Sioux Falls would raise an additional sum of $10,000, and that the company controlling the charter to the Minnesota line would turn over to the Worthington and Sioux Falls company its charters, surveys, right of way, deeds, or releases of the whole line, including land at terminus in Sioux Falls for depot and side tracks, free from all expense.  This communication was received by the county board on October 1, and on that day the board decided to submit to the election of the county the question of bonding the county in the sum of $25,000 in aid of the road, as proposed, the bonds to run twenty years, with interest at ten per cent., and not to be issued by the board until Sioux Falls had raised $10,000 for the same purpose.  The question was submitted at the general election in November, and resulted adversely to the issuance of the bonds, the vote standing 304 for, and 492 against.

After this defeat, the proposition made by the Worthington and Sioux Falls company was modified, and a proposition was submitted to the people of Sioux Falls, offering to build a road into Sioux Falls before the 1st day of November, 1878, provided they would raise $20,000 in aid of the road, and comply with the conditions first proposed in reference to the right of way and depot grounds.  The citizens of Sioux Falls by this time were determined that the road being built west from Worthington and then completed and in operation to Luverne, should be extended with the greatest possible dispatch to Sioux Falls.  Fifty-two citizens of Sioux Falls petitioned the board to trustees of the village to submit the question of bonding the village for this purpose, in the sum of $20,000, to the electors of the village, and a meeting of the village council was called for December 15, to consider the propriety of so doing.

When the meeting convened, President Howard and Trustees Sherman, VanEps and Phillips were present, Trustee Callender absent.  A motion was made to grant the request of the petitioners, which received an unanimous vote, and the election was called for January 15, 1878.  The result of this election was 102 votes for and three against bonding.

At a special meeting of the village board held March 29, 1878, the bonds voted by the corporation were signed by C.K. Howard, president, and C.O. Natesta, clerk, and put into the hands of the village treasurer to be turned over to the Sioux Falls Railroad company at the proper time. The bonds having been issued, the Sioux Falls company was merged into the Worthington and Sioux Falls Railroad company, and the extension of its line secured.

Sioux Falls was now sure of a railroad, and her people watched the approach of the iron rail with great pleasure, and every issue of the local newspapers announced the progress that was being made.  It reached Valley Springs the first of June, and on Monday, the 4th day of June, the company opened its office at that place for business.  Brandon, the next station, was reached on the 15th day of July, although considerable grading had been done on the line west of that place.  On Thursday, August 1, 1878, the first rain with passengers in charge of Peter Becker, conductor, reached Sioux Falls between twelve and 1 o’clock in the afternoon, to be accurate, 12:40.  A few gentlemen from Sioux Falls met this train at Brandon and decorated the engine with flags and streamers, and when the train reached it destination it was greeted by a band of music, led by T.H. Brown, and the cheers and shouts of a large assemblage of people.

It is easy to imagine something of the feeling pervading the people on this occasion, after having so long and so diligently labored for railroad facilities to find at last the work had been accomplished, and their ears could hear the whistle of a locomotive, and their eyes see a train of cars in Sioux Falls.

The writer was in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, on the 11th day of September, 1870, when the first railroad train came into that city.  It was a great day, and the people for miles around decided to make the most of it.  Thousands of people were in attendance, and when the train approached bands of music played, cannons boomed, and the crowd set up a mighty shout.  A few rods form the depot a large, well-dressed woman sat in a two-seated carriage with a driver in front, and the spirited horses attached to her carriage became frightened and commenced to run, when she shouted “let them run, let them run, I have been in the west sixteen years, and this is the first time I have seen the cars.”

The first passenger fare established to St. Paul was $9.75, to Sioux City via Worthington, $6.20.  Freight rates to St. Paul were as follows:


First-class              $1.00 per hundred pounds

Second-class          $.90 per hundred pounds

Third-class              $.70 per hundred pounds

Fourth-class           $.60 per hundred pounds

Lumber                   $60 per car

Wheat                    $.30 cents per bushel


     The trains from St. Paul arrived at 11:45 A.M., and departed at 1:15 P.M.  During August and September following, the company erected depot buildings, engine house, and an elevator with a capacity of 60,000 bushel.

     The Worthington and Sioux Falls line was extended to Salem in McCook county during the fall of 1879, and was eventually absorbed by the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railroad Company.



     Having secured one railroad, the enterprising business men of Sioux Falls set about the securing of other lines into the city.

     During the latter part of the year 1878, the Sioux City and Pembina railroad had completed it line to Beloit, and, like all railroad corporations, wanted a donation for the people residing along the line as it proceeded to build.  It proposed to build to Sioux Falls during the year 1879, provided an appropriation should be made by her people for that purpose. At this time the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul company was building west from McGregor, and was getting its line within hailing distance, and although the proposed route entered Dakota south of Minnehaha county, it was thought advisable to made the attempt to divert it from its course and secure its extension to Sioux Falls.

     A railroad company was organized at Sioux Falls called the Sioux Falls and Red River company, and had for its initial object the securing of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul line of road.  This corporation consisted of B.F. Campbell, M.Grigsby, Wm. VanEps, C.K. Howard, J.M. Washburn, A. Gale, E.W. Caldwell, H. Callender, N.E. Phillips and T.H. Brown of Sioux Falls, and W.J. Sibbison and R.S. Alexander of Dell Rapids.

     As soon as incorporated, the company conferred with the management of the C., M. and St. P.R.R. Co., in reference to securing that line of road, but after brief negotiations it was found impossible to divert it from its proposed route, or to secure any assurance that it would build a branch line to Sioux Falls.

     During the early part of 1879, the Pembina company manifested a disposition to build to Sioux Falls, but at the same time it wanted a donation, and submitted to the people at different times, propositions for extending its line to Sioux Falls, and promised to have the road in operation before January 1, 1880.

     On the 26th day of July, it finally proposed that it would do so if Sioux Falls would donate depot grounds and secure the right of way from Canton.  This offer was promptly accepted and the right of way secured, and on the 18th day of December, 1879, the first train over this road arrived in Sioux Falls.  During the month of October, 1879, the Sioux City and Pembina, and Dakota Southern railroad companies consolidated, and on the first day of April, 1880, the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul company absorbed it into its railroad system.

     Another road, the Southern Minnesota, during 1879 was rapidly coming west through southern Minnesota and it was thought desirable that this road should build down the valley of the Sioux to Sioux Falls.  It was not very greedy in its demand for a donation for building to Sioux Falls, but asked that depot grounds in the village and the right of way for ten miles north of the corporation limits be given. This proposition was accepted, and the road secured and completed into Sioux Falls in 1881, and was soon absorbed by the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad Company.



     As early as the 13th day of August, 1884, P.P. Peck, then one of the aldermen of Sioux Falls, asked the city council, “to appropriate $500 to make a permanent survey of a line of railroad from Sioux Falls east to a point in Osceola or Lyon counties, Iowa, to intersect with the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern railroad.”  This was done by an unanimous vote, and a warrant ordered drawn in the sum of $100, “to pay the incidental expenses of such survey.”  A few months later a warrant was drawn for $400 to defray the expenses of the survey that had been made.

     The foregoing is the first record the writer has been able to find of any attempt made to get the Burlington line of road into Sioux Falls.

     During 1885 the subject was discussed, but no definite action taken.

     At the railroad meeting held in Sioux Falls January 2, 1886, the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern Railroad Company made a proposition to extend its line to Sioux Falls during the year 1886.  To do this it required that a fund of $80,000 be raised by the people residing along the proposed route from Ellsworth to Sioux Falls, and that the right of way and depot grounds be donated.  Previous to this, the Sioux Falls, Iowa and Northern Railroad Company had been formed, and the final result of this meeting was to pass a resolution as follows:  “Resolved, that it is taken to be the sense of the meeting that the officers of the Sioux Falls, Iowa and Northern railroad be requested to draw a guarantee of the proposition here submitted by President Ives, and present the same to the people of Sioux Falls for their signature, and that the chairman of this meeting appoint a committee of five for that purpose.”  This meeting was well attended and those present were in a mood to promise almost anything to secure this road, in fact, some of them said, “Sioux Falls could not prosper without it.”  An agreement was drawn up and signed by the committee on the part of Sioux Falls, and by President Ives on the part of the railroad company to carry into effect the proposition as first made.  It was estimated that Sioux Falls would have to raise $50,000 of the $80,000 asked for, and the contract was made accordingly.

     On the 11th day of January, 1886, the city council convened in special session to consider a petition that had been circulated and largely signed, asking the council to levy a tax on all the taxable property in the city, sufficiently large to raise $50,000, or else submit to the people the question of bonding the city in that sum to secure the building of this road to Sioux Falls.

     The council referred the petition to the finance committee, with instruction to report at the next meeting, and then adjourned until the next day.  On the 12th day of January the committee reported, recommending the council to submit the question of bonding the city in the sum of $50,000 in aid of the road, to the electors of Sioux Falls, and that the election be held on the 9th of February, 1886.

     The council at once passed a resolution calling the election, as recommended by the committee.  Within a day or two after this action had been taken, it was discovered that $50,000 would not be sufficient to meet the obligations assumed by the citizens committee, and a public meeting was held to take the subject into consideration.

     At this meeting it was thought advisable to raise $60,000, as it would require at least $10,000 to get the right of way and depot grounds in Minnehaha county.  A resolution was passed, requesting the city council to submit the question of bonding the city in the sum of $60,000 to a vote of the people.  In a called session on the 20th day of January, the city council rescinded its former action in the matter, and ordered the question submitted to a vote of the people on the 16th day of February, 1886, in accordance with the terms of the resolution adopted at the citizens’ meeting.

     The election was held and resulted in there being 709 votes cast, of which 671 were in favor of issuing bonds, and 38 against.

     On the 26th day of February the vote was canvassed and the bonds ordered issued—120 in number, of $500 each, at 7 per cent, interest, to become due in twenty years.  On the 12th day of May the city council directed the mayor and clerk to sign the bonds and deposit them in the Minnehaha National Bank.  This issue of bonds was at a later date destroyed, owing to some informalities, and on the 9th day of March, 1887, a new issue of bonds was made in the same amount, to run for twenty years from date.

     The road was completed into Sioux Falls on the 26th day of October, 1886, J.W. Boyce driving the last spike at 11 o’clock A.M., and the ringing of church bells and blowing of steam whistles announced to the people that the B., C.R.&N. railroad was completed.  A freight train arrived that day over the road, and the following day, at 3 o’clock P.M., a passenger train left for Ellsworth, to connect with the through train from Watertown, and on the 1st day of November, 1886, regular passenger trains commenced running.

     In securing the right of way through the county, and in getting the other towns along the line to Ellsworth to donate their proportionate share, required not a little work on the part of Sioux Falls.  Thomas H. Brown did a good deal of this work, and is entitled to a large share of the credit in obtaining this line of road.






     On the 26th day of April, 1887, a public meeting was held at Cherokee, Iowa, to take action in the matter of inducing the Illinois Central Railroad Company to build a branch to Sioux Falls.  It was a well-attended meeting of the business men of Cherokee, and they were alive to the advantages the city would secure by the building of this road.  A committee was appointed to confer with the officials of the road, and to set before them the advantages that Cherokee had over all other towns on the line as a terminus of a branch road to Sioux Falls.  The committee had also instruction to confer with the people of Sioux Falls, and get them interested in the enterprise.

     This may be said to be the initial step that culminated in securing to Sioux Falls a connection with the Illinois Central, although the citizens of Sioux Falls had before this taken some action in the same direction.

     About four o’clock in the afternoon of Thursday, May 12, 1887, a delegation of twenty-two gentlemen arrived in Sioux Falls in the interest of the proposed railroad from Cherokee.  This delegation was made up of business men from Cherokee, Primgar, Sheldon and Rock Rapids.  They were expected to arrive the next day, but the citizens were ready for them, and dodgers were at once circulated, calling the business men to assemble at the Cataract house that evening to confer with the delegation regarding the projected railroad connection.

     Representatives of all the various interests in the city responded to the call, and the visitors were assured that nothing would please the people of Sioux Falls more, than to secure the railroad connection they desired.

     Just prior to this time, it had been intimated in railroad circles that the Illinois Central had a project to extend its road from Fort Dodge to Sioux Falls, and from whatever point this road commenced to build through northwestern Iowa, the people of Sioux Falls were determined to offer such inducements as to secure the connection.  R.F. Pettigrew, A. Beveridge, C.E. McKinney, E.A. Sherman and Major E.G. Smith were appointed on the part of Sioux Falls to act with the delegations present from the several localities, with instructions to do everything possible to secure the road.

     The delegations returned home the next day, and reported they had been enthusiastically received all along the line, and that the people were alive to the importance of energetic, concerted action, if they were to secure the road from Cherokee to Sioux Falls.

     Sioux Falls had been fixed upon by the Central, as the ultimate terminus of the proposed branch, and whether it was to commence at Fort Dodge, Tara, Manson, or Cherokee, (although her citizens preferred it should be at Cherokee) she was reasonably certain of the connection.

     On the 22d day of May, 1887, the officials of the Illinois Central visited Cherokee, and the advantages and feasibility of the route from Cherokee to Sioux Falls were so strongly presented to them by the people of that enterprising city, that they secured an order directing Division Superintendent Gilleas to make a survey of the route at once.

     On Wednesday, June 1, 1887, D.C. Rice of Sioux Falls, who had been summoned to Cherokee, returned home and reported that the route had been divided into three surveying districts—one from Cherokee to Sheldon, one from Sheldon west, and one from Sioux Falls east; that he had charge of the one from Sioux Falls, and had received instructions to push his work with all possible vigor, and that he would commence the next day.

     June 2, 1887, Superintendent Gilleas was in Sioux Falls, and he said the survey would be completed over the entire route within two weeks.  On Wednesday, July 11, he again visited Sioux Falls, accompanied by Wm. J. Knight, attorney of the Illinois Central railroad, and it was soon known that they came with authority to contract for the building of the road from Cherokee to Sioux Falls before January 1, 1888.  As usual on occasions like this, a meeting was held at the Cataract house in the evening.  It was largely attended by representative business men, and without any delay Mr. Knight made the following proposition:  “The Illinois Central will at once commence grading and have its line from Cherokee to Sioux Falls in operation by January 1, 1888, if the city of Sioux Falls will secure it depot grounds and the right of way thereto from the corporation limits.”  The proposition was accompanied with a statement that the depot ground wanted by the company was a strip of land 300 feet wide and about 2,000 feet long, on the east side of the river north of Eighth street, between the river bank and the Omaha track, and that the company desired the right of way to the packing house, polishing works and quarries, and sufficient ground for stock yard and roundhouse purposes.

     Before this, the people of Sioux Falls had agreed with the towns east, through which the road was to be built, that Sioux Falls would secure the right of way in Minnehaha county.  After the proposition had been submitted by Mr. Knight, it was discussed fully by those present and finally submitted to a vote, and it was unanimously decided to accept the proposition.  A committee was then appointed, consisting of R.F. Pettigrew, C.E. McKinney, E.G. Smith, E.A. Sherman and C.O. Bailey, to obtain a guaranty that the agreement would be carried out, and to arrange with the company in reference to all matters contained in its proposition.

     Although this project of building the road from Cherokee to Sioux Falls was being carried on by the Illinois Central company, still it could not do it directly, as its charter obtained from the State of Illinois did not permit it to construct any railroad lines outside of the state, but it could acquire possession of railroads by purchase or consolidation.  To avoid this inhibition, the Cherokee and Dakota, a construction company, was incorporated, composed of prominent officials of the Illinois Central.

     On Tuesday, July 12, 1887, a large delegation came over from Rock Rapids for the purpose of seeing what could be done in reference to the right of way nine miles in length, in Minnesota.  This delegation wanted Sioux Falls to take care of it, as they had all they could do at Rock Rapids, having to procure thirty-two miles of right of way in Lyon county besides depot grounds.  The result of this conference was an agreement that Sioux Falls should obtain the right of way in Minnesota.

     The following Thursday prominent officials of the Illinois Central came to Sioux Falls and informed the people just what was wanted to settle the question whether the road would be built or not.  Some of the requirements it was impossible to perform, and soon after, E.A. Sherman and R.F. Pettigrew went to Dubuque to confer further with the railroad officials, and obtain, if possible, such modifications of the contract as would enable the people of Sioux Falls to enter into it, feeling assured that they could perform the obligations assumed.

     In this mission they were successful, and Mr. Sherman returned to Sioux Falls.  On Tuesday, July 26, 1887, he started out with a contract of guaranty to obtain the signatures of the business men of the city, and the amount they would be individually responsible for if the road was built in 1887.  The city had bonded for $60,000 in building the B., C.R. and N. railroad, and had promised the Willmar and Sioux Falls company $60,000 more, and it looked like a big job to secure $40,000 for this road, and it was probable that it could not be obtained for a less sum.

     Mr. Sherman put in a good day’s work, and at night had $30,000 subscribed.  Thirteen men had subscribed $1,000 each, and thirty-four men $500 each.  The next day he increased the guaranty to $42,250, and then telegraphed the officials of the Illinois Central that the guaranty was completed in accordance with the Dubuque agreement.  Thursday evening a public meeting was held, but it was only necessary as a ratification meeting, and it is safe to say that a Sioux Falls audience was never in a happier mood.  A committee was appointed to secure the right of way, consisting of E.A. Sherman, R.F. Pettigrew, C.E. McKinney, H.M. Avery and R.G. Parmley.

     On Saturday, July 30, 1887, the guaranty was accepted by the railroad officials, and the grading of the road let, to be completed within sixty days, and the people of Sioux Falls retired that night assured of another connection with a great railroad system.

     E.A. Sherman, R.F. Pettigrew and R.G. Parmley went into Minnesota to secure the right of way, in fact, all along the line as far as Sioux Falls was to obtain it, and one of the committee reported that when they were all together they could always secure it.  Pettigrew and Sherman would get the men into their barns and Parmley would go into their houses and by his bland smiles, winning deportment and entertaining songs would so please the ladies that when they came to the point of contracting for the amount that should be paid, they always found the wives more liberal than the husbands.  On the 12th day of August, 1887, this committee reported that they had secured the right of way through Minnesota, except for a short distance over the property of two nonresidents, and that in so doing, had contracted to pay $6,400.

     The first iron rail laid on this road was on Monday, September 26, 1887, at Cherokee, Iowa.

     Monday, December 19, 1887, was a cold day, but nearly five hundred men with two hundred teams were approaching the terminus of the Illinois Central in the city of Sioux Falls, laying the iron rail as they advanced, and the whole city was ready for a burst of enthusiasm when the last spike should be driven.  At just 11:30 o’clock, P.M., everything was ready, when Mayor Norton, wielding the sledge with a few well directed blows, sent the last spike home, and the whole city was soon made aware by the great commotion that followed that Sioux Falls had an air line railroad connection with Chicago.

     It had been previously arranged that a banquet should be given the officials of the Illinois Central when the road was completed, and the evening of the 19th day of December had been fixed upon as the time, and as Governor L.K. Church was to be in the city on that day, it was made a dual affair in honor of the officials and his excellency.  At midnight Mayor Norton appeared at the banquet room with the railroad officials, and as the governor and other invited guests were present all sat down to one of the most elegant spreads Sioux Falls had ever given.  E.W. Caldwell was toastmaster, and called on Governor Church to welcome the Central to Dakota, which he did in a splendid speech. This was followed by speeches form D.R. bailey and Major E.G. Smith on the part of Sioux Falls.  General Manager Jeffries then made the speech of the occasion, and eloquently asserted that notwithstanding a majority of the stock and bonds of this company was held by foreigners it was American to the core.  Speeches from F.R. Aikens, C.H. Winsor and E.G. Wright followed, and the gathering dispersed after having given three cheers and a tiger for the Queen City.

     On Thursday, December 22, $30,000 was paid out in Sioux Falls to the laborers on the new line of road.

     Freight trains commenced running on this road in January, 1888.  A Cherokee accommodation train was put on April 2, and a regular passenger train June 3, 1888.

     It only remains to add that Sioux Falls fulfilled all the obligations entered into by her citizens to secure this road, and that the city council issued the warrants of the city in the sum of $43,329.52, to pay for the right of way and depot grounds.






     On the 18th day of February, 1886, several business men of Pipestone visited Sioux Falls to work up the interest among her people in building a railroad to be known as the Willmar and Sioux Falls railroad.  They registered at the Cataract House and then called upon some of the most prominent business men in the city, extolling the enterprise they had in hand as only men can do who want a railroad.  In the evening a meeting was held in one of the sample rooms at the Cataract House and the project discussed in all its phases.  E.A. Sherman was chairman of the meeting, and before it adjourned it was decided unanimously to make a move to obtain the road, and Andrew Beveridge, C.L. Norton and Cyrus Walts were appointed a committee to act for the city.  A day or two after this meeting a local company was organized as the Willmar and Sioux Falls Railroad Company, with $2,000,000 capital to build the line, and among the directors elected were E.A. Sherman and H.T. Corson of Sioux Falls.  On March 11, 1886, articles of incorporation were filed with the secretary of state of Minnesota, and on April 6, the local company ordered a preliminary survey to be made.

     On Tuesday, July 20, 1886, a mass meeting was held in Sioux Falls to get an expression of the citizens and to see what could be done to secure the road.  The meeting was quite largely attended, and resulted in passing a resolution guaranteeing $50,000 and the right of way for the line in Minnehaha county to the Manitoba Railway Company, if the company would build the road into Sioux Falls.

     After this time, during the year 1886, conferences were held in St. Paul with the Manitoba management by prominent citizens of Sioux Falls for the purpose of obtaining, if possible, the assurance that the road would come to Sioux Falls.  Nothing of a definite character was accomplished, although he people at this end of the line were doing everything they could to aid in the project.

     On the 8th day of January, 1887, it was reported that the surveying party was west of Willmar, and coming west, and on the 7th day of March, that the survey had been completed to Pipestone.  March 24, the surveyors arrived in Sioux Falls, having completed the survey of the entire line.

     April 28, 1887, a meeting was held in the court house by the citizens of Sioux Falls, for the purpose of considering a proposition that had been made by President J.M. Spicer, which contemplated the building of the road to Sioux Falls.  It was largely attended, and the utmost enthusiasm prevailed; and when it was known that the conditions of securing the road were a donation of $50,000, and the right of way in Minnehaha county, it was so good a thing that no discussion took place and the proposition was accepted by a unanimous vote.  A petition to the city council was then and there signed by upwards of fifty taxpayers, asking the council to levy a direct tax in aid of the road, and pledging the signers to use their best endeavors to secure the name of every taxpayer in the city.  William VanEps, W.H. Corson, P.P. Peck, N.E. Phillips and John Sundback were appointed a committee to wait upon the county commissioners at once, and urge them to call a special election, and submit the question of levying a direct tax in aid of the road to the electors of the county.  A committee, consisting of M. Grigsby, C.E. McKinney, R.F. Pettigrew, M. Gerin and J.T. Gilbert, was appointed to draw up and circulate for signatures a guaranty to the company in sufficient amount to secure the immediate commencement of work on the line.  May 8, 1887, this committee reported that there had been secured $48,000 upon the guaranty.  A meeting was held in Palisade township on the same day, which was largely attended, and W.W. Coon, E. Millard and Ezra Royce were appointed a committee to aid in securing the right of way through the township.

     June 18, 1887, President Spicer came to Sioux Falls, and upon his arrival a meeting of the citizens was called for the evening.  It was a representative gathering of the people, and when convened E.A. Sherman stated that the people had come together to hear a report of the meeting of the directors of the Willmar and Sioux Falls Railroad Company held at Pipestone the day before.  He said it had been determined at that meeting that the road could not be built to Sioux Falls during the year 1887, as it was impossible to secure the necessary ties, but that the management of the road through its president was ready to submit a proposition to the people, which would, if accepted, secure the road.  President Spicer then came forward and submitted the following proposition:

     The Willmar and Sioux Falls Railway Company being desirous of obtaining from the City of Sioux Falls, County of Minnehaha, Territory of Dakota, a bonus from said city in aid of the construction of the line of railway of said company from Willmar, Kandiyohi county, Minnesota, to Sioux Falls, Dakota, hereby makes to said City of Sioux Falls, the following definite proposition as heretofore mutually agreed upon:

     First.  The amount of such aid is $50,000, and the right of way through Minnehaha county, Dakota, to the City of Sioux Falls.

     Second.  The said amount of aid to be paid as follows:  At the time of the acceptance of this proposition the citizens of Sioux Falls shall execute an indemnity bond to said railway company in the amount of $50,000.  Said bond to be approved by the president of said railway company and conditioned upon the construction of said railway line as herein proposed and the payment of the said aid as follows:  At the time of the completion of said line of railway to Sioux Falls, $50,000 in cash, with the option on the part of the city to make said payment as follows:  $20,000 January 1, 1889; $15,000 January 1, 1890, and $15,000 January 1, 1891, with interest thereon at the rate of 6 per cent per annum form the time when said railway company shall have cars running to the said City of Sioux Falls.  Said right of way through Minnehaha county to the City of Sioux Falls to be obtained at the expense of the citizens of Sioux Falls, or of Minnehaha county, Dakota, and deeds to be placed in the hands of the said railway company on or before September 1, 1887, and it is hereby understood and agreed that the citizens of Sioux Falls shall fully protect and indemnify said railway company against any cost or expense in obtaining the right of way through Minnehaha county, Dakota, to the City of Sioux Falls.

     Third.  The said railway company proposes and agrees, in consideration of said bonus, to cause to be constructed its line of railway from Willmar, Kandiyohi county, Minnesota, to Sioux Falls, Minnehaha county, Dakota, and to complete its line of railway and have cars running thereon to Sioux Falls, Dakota, on or before the 1st day of January, 1889, and to grade said railway through Minnehaha county to Sioux Falls on or before January 1, 1888.

     In witness whereof said Willmar and Sioux Falls Railway Company has on this 18th day of June, 1887, caused this proposition to be signed by John M. Spicer, its president, and Charles C. Goodnow, its secretary, and sealed with its corporate seal.


By John M. Spicer, President.



     He said that all the counties along the proposed route in Minnesota had voted a tax and secured the right of way, except Pipestone county, and that the people of that county would vote on the question the following Monday.  He urged the people to take prompt action in the matter, as Sioux City on the one side, and towns west of Sioux Falls would pay liberal bonuses to divert the road from Sioux Falls, and that Sioux City had already offered $300,000 for the road.  Other remarks were made, when R. F. Pettigrew made a motion that the proposition submitted by accepted and the bond given.  It received a unanimous vote.  A committee to secure the guaranty was appointed, composed of John Norton, Andrew Beveridge, C.E. McKinney, M. Gerin and J.T. Gilbert.

During the summer a good deal of speculation was engaged in, in reference to the commencement of the work here, the location of the depot and other matters pertaining to the road.

August 1, 1887, a large crew of men and several hundred teams camped on the Willmar and Sioux Falls line at a point about equi-distant from Willmar and Granite Falls, and by the 5th of September there were about one hundred camps of graders between Willmar and Sioux Falls.  September 12 it was learned that a large force of graders had been laid off, and that there was trouble somewhere.  E.A. Sherman and R.F. Pettigrew visited St. Paul at once and saw James J. Hill, and were not long in finding the cause of the trouble.  The Manitoba wanted depot grounds near the Omaha depot south of Eighth street, but expected to get what land the company wanted for $25,000, but had been asked $50,000, which sum was considered exorbitant.  The result of the interview was an order by Mr. Hill that the grading should go on, and that the matter of depot grounds should rest until the spring of 1888, when, if necessary, condemnation proceedings would be instituted to obtain them.  At the conclusion of the interview Mr. Hill said:  “I have agreed to put my line through to Sioux Falls, and it is going there.”  This statement was a great relief to the people of Minnehaha county, for it must be admitted that the boomers at Sioux City had not only kept them guessing, but had given them a great amount of hard work, and sharp work to thwart their schemes to divert the road from its original destination.

September 20, 1887, a meeting of the directors of the Willmar and Sioux Falls Railway Company was called at St. Paul.  At this meeting all the directors resigned and an election was held for a new board.  It was the intention to elect a director from each of the principal towns along the road, but it resulted in retaining only President Spicer and Vice President Sherman, the balance being made up of prominent officials of the Manitoba.

Mr. Sherman arrived home on the 22d of September, and the next day it was known that the road had secured depot grounds in the southwestern part of the city, but at the same time it was known that the management still desired to obtain land near the Omaha depot for depot grounds, if it could be obtained at a reasonable price.  This it was impossible to do, and on the 9th day of October, 1887, the depot was located where it now is.

The work of grading the road commenced early in the spring of 1888, but was delayed by heavy rains during the latter part of the spring and early summer, but on the first day of August a large force was put on, and from that time the work was pushed with great vigor.  The approach of the force engaged in completing the road to Sioux Falls about October 20, 1888, astonished the people.  It looked like a small, well equipped army.  Some of the boarding cars were three stories high; and when the people saw seven hundred feet of track laid in just eight minutes, they were all ready to vote for “Jim Hill” for president of the United States.  The line was completed to Sioux Falls at 4:30 o’clock, in the afternoon of October 25, 1888.

The first regular passenger train on the Willmar and Sioux Falls railroad pulled out of the city of Sioux Falls at 8:30 A.M., November 1, 1888.  The bridge not being completed over the Big Sioux river near the company’s depot, temporary quarters had been provided on Eighth street, east of the Omaha depot.

E.A. Sherman secured the right of way and depot grounds for this road in Minnehaha county, and in doing so, labored hard to have it cost the city as little as possible, but having done the best he could the city was compelled to pay $77,403.65.

After the completion of the road, it was considered the right thing by the citizens of Sioux Falls, to formally express to James J. Hill its appreciation of what he had done for the city in giving her a connection with the great combination lines of railroads under his management, and a time had been fixed for so doing, but had been changed, and finally Tuesday, December 11, was settled upon for the occasion.  At first the intention was to give a reception to the railroad officials, but as time wore on the original plan was enlarged and the business men of St. Paul, Minneapolis and towns along the line were invited to the hospitalities of the city.

On Monday night, December 10, 1888, a train of nine sleepers and day coaches started from St. Paul for Sioux Falls.  At different points along the line delegations got aboard the train, and when it arrived at its destination there were 185 passengers.  A few persons from adjoining towns had also been invited, so that the guests of the city numbered more than two hundred.  It was a great disappointment to every one that James J. Hill could not be present, but a law suit involving about two million dollars detained him.

From the arrival of the train until its departure ten hours later, nothing was left undone by the people of Sioux Falls to make the occasion enjoyable of other guests and memorable in the annals of the Queen City.  The arrangements were simply perfect, the banquet elegant, and the whole affair terminating in some admirable speeches in harmony with the occasion.




     The South Sioux Falls Railroad and Rapid Transit company was incorporated in December, 1888.

     The incorporators were R.F. Pettigrew, S.L. Tate, F.H. Gerrish, C.G. Ferguson and F.W. Pettigrew.  It was supposed at first that the company intended to build a belt motor line around the city, the central station to be located at South Sioux Falls.

     January 4, 1889, the city council of Sioux Falls passed an ordinance giving this company the right to build and operate a motor line within the city limits, and the exclusive right to certain streets in the city, commencing at the intersection of Eleventh street and Phillips avenue.

     During the spring and early summer the road was graded and ironed to South Sioux Falls. Two new passenger cars for this road arrived in the city about the 10th day of May, 1889.  The 18th day of June, 1889, the first business was done on this road, over one thousand people being conveyed from Eleventh street to Coats’ race track.  A trial trip was made Tuesday, June 25, 1889, to South Sioux Falls, all the city officials were invited to honor the occasion with their presence.

     During the summer of that year all sort of surmises were made as to where the western terminus would be located, but the idea prevailed quite generally that it was the eastern end of the Midland Pacific, and would ultimately be built to Puget Sound.

     In March, 1890, the name of this company was changed to the Sioux Falls Terminal Railroad Company.

     A portion of this line between the city of Sioux Falls and South Sioux Falls is now operated by the Great Northern Railroad Company.




          In June, 1889, it was known in Sioux Falls that there was a project on foot to construct a motor line from Sioux Falls to East Sioux Falls. The organization was perfected about the 1st of July of that year under the name of South Dakota Rapid Transit and Railway Company.  W.R. Kingsbury, R.J. Wells, C.C. Crandall, C.E. Johnson, A.M. Crosby, J.T. Little, Jr., and S.C. French were elected directors, and they elected Kingsbury, president, French, vice president, Johnson, treasurer and W.S. Welliver, secretary.

     An ordinance was passed by the city council of the city of Sioux Falls on the 1st day of July, 1889, granting the right of way for this company to build and operate a single track of its railway along and upon certain streets in the city, commencing at the foot of Ninth street crossing the Sioux river and thence east to the city limits.  But before anything was done at the west end of the line, the company and the owners of property on Tenth street arranged for the building of a viaduct on that street, east of the bridge over the tracks of the Milwaukee, Omaha and Great Northern railroads, and the ordinance granting the right of way, was afterwards amended so as to begin the line at the intersection of Tenth street and Phillips avenue.

     About this time the Tenth street bridge was condemned, and owing to the fact that this line was to cross the river on Tenth street, the bridge was rebuilt in a most substantial manner.

     As soon as the right of way through the city had been secured the company proceeded to survey the route, and when it was completed on the 1st of August, Engineer Jackson reported that the line was just six miles in length.  The building of the bridges on the line, seven in all, was completed in November and track laying commenced on January 27, 1890.

     About February 20, 1890, the contract was let for the equipment of the road, all except the cars, for the sum of $35,000.

     The motors for the electric cars arrived April 8, and were taken to the engine house on block one in East Park addition.  The engine arrived on April 12, and the boiler—weighing 13,000 lbs.—on April 17, 1890.

     About this time in the history of the electric motor line, a disagreement arose between the city council and the company, and during the afternoon of May 14, a special meeting of the committee on rules and ordinances met to consider the matter.

     At the time of the passage of the original ordinance number 81, the company thought it possible that they might want to cross the river on Tenth street, although by the terms of the ordinance it was to cross at Ninth street.  Afterwards ordinance number 102 was passed, amending ordinance 81, giving the company the right to enter the city by way of Tenth street across the viaduct, and the laying of a double track on the bridge, the company to keep up the repair of the bridge roadway between the rails.  At the time this ordinance was passed, Col. J.H. Drake appeared in opposition to it.

     The meeting of the committee was called to consider an ordinance amending ordinance number 81.  Col. Drake and Wm. VanEps were present and discussed at length the question at issue, while the company was represented by J.W. Jones and its president W.R. Kingsbury.  This proposed amendment declared the rights and privileges granted under ordinance 81 forfeited, unless the line of railway should be wholly built and equipped for business and in full operation within the limits of the city of Sioux Falls on or before the 15th day of July, 1890, or within fifteen days after the Tenth street bridge and viaduct should be completed and open to travel.

     The hearing in this case ended with the promise of President Kingsbury that the company would lay only one track over the bridge and viaduct, and that it should be laid upon one of the sidewalks supported by brackets if found practicable.

     The committee reported this ordinance to the city council on May 17, with a recommendation that it be referred to the city attorney, which was accordingly done.

     About this time one of those little affairs occurred in the city that usually follow in biding motor and street car lines where there are, or are supposed to be, conflicting interests.  Sunday morning, May 25, just after midnight, there appeared to be an unusual activity in the vicinity of Tenth street and Phillips avenue.  It so happened that, owing to some public gatherings in the city that were just breaking up, a good many people were on the streets, and, as it was only a step out of the way to visit Tenth street, they did so to verify the rumor that something unusual was taking place at that point.  A crowd soon gathered, and to their surprise found about fifty persons on Tenth street engaged in laying a street car track.  Mayor Peck soon arrived, and was horrified at finding so many men breaking the Sabbath, and expostulated with them, using some of the most approved scriptural quotations “in accents wild,” but all to no effect.  The tall form of George Arneson was to be seen everywhere among the Sabbath breakers urging them on.  Fred Pettigrew and C.G. Ferguson appeared to be associated with Arneson in command, and this gave the whole scheme away, for who was there but Judge Tate, that could induce such men to work on the Sabbath.  The Mayor and City Attorney Brockway took a hack for Judge Tate’s home.  They found him asleep, or apparently so, but they aroused him, and then commenced one of the most remarkable disquisitions upon the desecration of the Sabbath that was ever delivered to a wicked man.  Peck told him that the example he was setting was not in keeping with his Presbyterian pretensions, and Brockway reminded him that there would be a hereafter that was fearful to contemplate for such men as would induce unreflecting persons like Arneson, Pettigrew and Ferguson to break the Sabbath.  The judge was awed, if not convinced, and with a trembling hand he wrote a note and handed it to the mayor, which read as follows:  “To George Arneson, F.W. Pettigrew and Mr. Hyde:--Please to stop work on Tenth street and level up the ground so that the work can be renewed Monday morning.  S.L. Tate.”  This note was recognized as authority by the street car force.  Of course, this movement was for the purpose of occupying the street in advance of the motor line, and the mayor, after having stopped the street car scheme, turned his attention to the managers of the motor line, and they agreed to do nothing on Sunday.  All day Sunday the air was full of rumors as to what would happen on Tenth street at the beginning of the next secular day, and a good many people took an afternoon nap on Sunday, so as to be present when the exercises commenced.  About eleven o’clock Sunday night two hundred men appeared on Tenth street between Phillips and First avenues, armed with spokes.  They were there in the interest of the motor line. The mayor was also there with the police force augmented by thirty specials sworn in for the occasion.  The street car managers were also present and tried to induce the mayor to disarm their opponents, but the mayor had enlisted in the interest of peace, and while he would not disarm any one, still, he declared he was there to see that no weapons were used by either party in the attempt to occupy Tenth street.  It was evident, however, that he was pleased with the extensive preparations that the motor line had made to give the public the advantage of their line upon Tenth street at as early a date as possible.  During Sunday evening the street car people had been engaged in spiking rails onto ties and had them in readiness for laying.  Just before midnight a crowd of men started from the street car barn on Eleventh street, with rails spiked to ties.  At this demonstration large wagons of the motor company came from Phillips avenue into Tenth street; the first was loaded with ties, the second with rails, and the last with spikes, which were dropped as they proceeded east on Tenth street.  The motor force occupying the line, went at the work in earnest, and in four minutes had the iron laid to First avenue, in fifteen minutes more they had the rails spiked in place, and at 12:20 o’clock Monday morning, the motor line was running a handcar over the line.  The horse car people carried three lengths of rails spiked to ties to First avenue, but in attempting to lay one of them in the middle of Tenth street, it resulted in its being dropped in the gutter on one side of the street.  The collision was not much of an affair, as the force of the motor line was so much stronger that they had only to place themselves in the path of the street car people to prevent them accomplishing anything.  After the motor people had the track laid they proceeded to perfect the line and put it in as good condition as possible.  The street car people after being repulsed, drew several loads of ties and rails into Tenth street between Phillips and Main avenues, but the motor people were prepared to prevent any further attempt on the part of the company in laying its track.

     During Sunday the motor people had prepared injunction papers against any interference by the car company in laying its track on Tenth street, and during Sunday evening W.R. Kingsbury, J.W. Jones, W.A. Wilkes and C.E. Johnson took an engine, went to Canton and induced Judge Aikens to return with them, and they arrived in the city at midnight.  Judge Aikens signed the papers, and within thirty minutes they were served on Judge Tate and the foreman of the car company—and the war for the occupation of Tenth street was transferred to the courts.

     The cause of this little scrimmage, of course, was the desire on the part of the street car company to prevent the motor from occupying any of the principal streets of the city. The company had an exclusive franchise for twenty years, and had been operating its street cars at a loss, and the managers felt that the motor was trespassing upon its rights, and that the building of the motor line would lessen the value of the street car property.

     It is only necessary to add, that in the end the matter was amicably adjusted.

     We left the ordinance limiting the time for the completion of the motor line, when we turned aside to chronicle the Sunday war between the two companies, in the hands of City Attorney Brockway, who reported to the city council on May 27, that in his opinion the ordinance ought not to pass—and the council defeated the passage of the ordinance.

     On Friday, June 13, 1890, at five o’clock in the afternoon, the first trip over the electric motor line was made.  Three trips in all were made during the evening of that day, and as this was the first electric train that had ever been run in the state, it was quite an event.  Everything worked smoothly, and to the entire satisfaction of the management.

     On Saturday, June 21, 1890, the motor line commenced running regular trains to East Sioux Falls.

     For two or three years there was considerable traffic over this line, and during the summers it was largely patronized by picnic parties and pleasure seekers, who invariable enjoyed the seven-mile trip between the two cities.  But the enterprise did not prove a good investment, and after considerable struggling against adverse circumstances, it went into the hands of a receiver, and during the summer of 1898 the rails were taken up, and we regret to state, there is now nothing left but the bare roadbed to remind the people that there was at one time a rapid transit railway line between the cities of Sioux Falls and East Sioux Falls.



     This railroad, the last one to enter Sioux Falls, was opened to the traveling public October 19, 1893.  No railroad project ever conceived of by a citizen of Sioux Falls, had been so constantly before the public, as a railroad form Sioux Falls to Yankton.  The files of the newspapers in Sioux Falls for fifteen years, disclose the fact, that this project, though dormant at times, was ready to come to the front whenever the slightest interest in railroad building was manifest among her citizens.  At times its construction seemed assured, and then again, it would for months appear as remote as aerial navigation.

    A bill was passed by the last territorial legislature, 1889, in aid of the construction of railroads, that was introduced and pushed through, with nothing behind it but this project to Sioux Falls to build a road to Yankton.  The writer was sent to Bismarck by the Commercial Club of Sioux Falls, and spent thirty days in getting this measure (with others of less importance) through, and while there reported to R.F. Pettigrew, then president of the club, that it seemed impossible to get the law enacted, and received in reply a telegram which directed the writer to “stick,” that it must be done, and strongly intimated that the writer’s residence in Sioux Falls would not be desirable if this measure did not become a law.  The law was enacted, and before the constitution of the state was adopted, the citizens of Sioux Falls went at this project with a determination that it should be accomplished.  E.A. Sherman in particular, devoted a good deal of time to the matter, organizing a company and endeavoring to enlist capital in the East, and at one time it seemed as though he would be successful.  But it was decreed otherwise, and all hope of aid through any legislation after the adoption of the constitution was at an end.  On the 27th day of September, 1892, some of the foremost citizens of Sioux Falls met at the request of Senator Pettigrew, “to consider a matter of public interest,” and when the meeting was organized, he stated that the time had come when a railroad could be built to Yankton upon certain conditions.  The conditions were stated, and the meeting promptly decided that the requirements were reasonable, and proceeded at once to pledge that the city of Sioux Falls should perform all that was required of her people.  This much having been accomplished, the Sioux Falls, Yankton, and Southwestern Railway company was organized, with Senator Pettigrew as president.  On the 31st day of October, the Argus-Leader announced that the grading contracts had been let by Senator Pettigrew.  From this time on, the work progressed rapidly.  On August 15, 1893, the first passengers came from Lennox to Sioux Falls on a construction train.  As the road approached completion, the Jobbers and Manufacturers Association of Sioux Falls decided that the road should be opened in due form, and proceeded to arrange for an excursion to the Queen City from all points on the line, and Monday, October 19, 1893, was the day fixed upon.

     The train left Yankton at 8:20 A.M., consisting of six coaches, and arrived in Sioux Falls at 11 o’clock sharp, having made the runoff sixty-two miles in two hours and forty minutes.  The train was in charge of Conductor August Burr and Engineer C.N. Oram.  Upon the arrival of the train at the corner of Eleventh street and Phillips avenue, nearly 700 people disembarked from the cars, and a procession, headed by the Sioux Falls band, the city council and reception committee, was soon formed, and all falling in line marched down Phillips avenue to Eight street and thence up Main avenue to the council chamber, where the visitors were received and welcomed by C.A. Jewett, president of the Jobbers Association.  Mayor Peck followed in a speech of welcome on the part of the city.  The Yankton fire department, accompanied by the K.P. band of Yankton, were among the excursionists, having received an invitation from the fire department of Sioux Falls to honor the occasion with their presence.

     The banquet in the evening was the finest ever given in the city.  The Press of the 20th of October said:  “Germania hall shone resplendent last night.  The banquet hall with its decorations, its lights, its beauty and the attending brains, made a gem that scintillated in the breast of the metropolis of the Dakotas never before equaled, and long to be remembered.  The management of the celebration had turned over the entire management and arrangement of the spread to the Ladies’ Industrial Society and the St. Agnes Guild of the Episcopal church.  Royally the ladies did their duty.  The two societies had for assistants thirty-five young ladies of this city, who, under the supervision of captains, did the service at the tables in a manner to do credit to Delmonico’s finest.  Stout’s orchestra occupied the stage and furnished music throughout the entire programme.  Seven tables were tastefully arranged with palms and flowers.  Banquet lamps and boundary ribbons of colors to match were used to divide the tables in sections.  Over each section a bevy of young ladies, costumed in the same colors as the decorations, gave the guests constant attention.  Everything was the perfection of order.  Every section had distinctive arrangement of plate and decoration.  Two hundred and seventy-five covers were laid.  The service was solid silver, and at each cover was a rose boutenniere.  E.W. Caldwell was toastmaster, and Captain W.H. Stoddard, William Blatt, Esq., of Yankton, W.H. Wait of Lennox, Melvin Grigsby, E.A. Sherman, J. Tomlinson, Jr., Herbert L. Greene, H.H. Keith of Sioux Falls and Judge George W. Roberts, Otto Peemiller and W.B. Wilcox of Yankton responded to the toasts.  The speeches were all admirable, but the gem of the evening was the address of Mr. Wilcox.  Mr. Tomlinson in closing his response to the toast “Sioux Fall and Her Business as a Jobbing and Manufacturing Center: said:  “And further, I want to pay my respects to one man who more than any other has made possible the occasion tonight.  A man, who day and night, can always be found pushing, working and accomplishing for Sioux Falls, a man who differed with him in politics, but who every man in Sioux Falls should be ready and is ready to honor as her most energetic and worthy citizen, the Honorable R.F. Pettigrew.”  During the construction of the road, Jacob Schaetzel, Jr., acted as disbursing agent, and furnished for publication the following list of the stations and their distance from Sioux Falls:  Byron, 10 miles; Lennox, 17 miles; Davis, 26 miles; Viborg, 33 1/3 miles; Irene, 41 miles; Volin, 50 miles; Yankton, 62 miles.  On Monday, October 23, regular trains, both passenger and freight, commenced running over this line under the management of the Great Northern.

     Right here the subject of railroads is dismissed, and although nothing is expected in a work like this but a record of the past, the writer cannot forego the pleasure of predicting that in the near future other railroad enterprises will originate in Sioux Falls, become accomplished facts, and bring additional prosperity to the city and the country tributary thereto.






     From Sioux Falls, going east, to Brandon 8.6 miles, to Valley Springs 15.1 miles, to St. Paul 240 miles; going west, to Ellis 6.6 miles, to Hartford 14.2 miles, to Humboldt 20.9 miles.



     From Sioux Falls, going north, to Renner 6 miles, Baltic 13.6 miles, Dell Rapids 20 miles, Egan34.2 miles, Flandreau 40,6 miles; going south, to Harrisburg 9 miles, Canton 20 miles, Elk Point 69.7 miles, Sioux City 91.5 miles.



     From Sioux Falls to East Sioux Falls 6.7 miles, Rowena 9.3 miles, Ben Clare 13.4 miles, Chicago 547 miles.



     From Sioux Falls, going north, to Corson 11 miles, Garretson 19 miles, Sherman 22 miles, St. Paul 249 miles; going south, to Yankton 63 miles.



     From Sioux Falls to Chicago 554 miles.



                                            Sioux Falls at Omaha depot  1,397 feet

                                            Sioux Falls at Milwaukee depot 1,395 feet

                                            Sioux Falls at Burlington depot 1,400 feet

                                            Sioux Falls at Great Northern depot 1,420 feet

                                            Brandon    1,319 feet

                                            Corson     1,362 feet

                                            Garretson    1,457 feet

                                            Sherman    1,396 feet

                                            Dell Rapids    1,485 feet

                                            Hartford    1,564 feet

                                            Valley Springs    1,392 feet



                                                Low water mark near Dell Rapids   1,485 feet

                                                Low water mark above the falls, Sioux Falls  1,380 feet

                                                Low water mark near Brandon   1,281 feet

                                                Low water mark Sioux City    1,098 feet


200 W 6th St
Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County, SD

SVGS can be contacted Monday - Friday 12pm-4pm by contacting the Old Courthouse Museum  at: 605-367-4210
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