|THE MONARCH OF THE PLAINS (AKA THE AMERICAN BISON OR BUFFALO).|
We spent the weekend in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and enjoyed a gathering of Jerry’s extended family on Sunday. Monday morning, we headed off in the car for a week in Minneapolis, Minnesota. But, on the way out of Sioux Falls, we stopped at Falls Park, a beautiful place northeast of downtown on the Sioux River.
|LOVE THAT MUDDY WATER.|
The park was developed in the 1990s and improvements continue to be made. The 1908 Sioux Falls Light and Power Company hydroelectric plant is now the Falls Overlook Cafe. It’s got a great menu, charming spaces to sit and relax, picture and history books to browse, historic photos, and gourmet coffees. Jerry’s maternal grandfather worked in that very building beginning in the 1930s; he would have appreciated a good cup of coffee at the time.
|THE HYDROELECTRIC PLANT: NOW, FALLS OVERLOOK CAFE.|
Sioux Falls was still a young city at the time the hydroelectric plant was built, having been founded in 1857. South Dakota became a state in 1889 — although most of my New York family still think Jerry grew up in Dakota Territory or, as my father used to say, “the Dakotas.”
|THE RUINS OF THE OLD QUEEN BEE WHEAT MILL IN THE CENTER BACKGROUND.
OPENED IN 1881. CLOSED IN 1883. DESTROYED BY FIRE IN 1956.
The old plant and other structures were built from the beautiful Sioux quartzite mined right there at the prison quarry on the river. Prisoners from the prison on the bluff overlooking the falls mined the quartzite and then used horse-drawn wagons to haul the dressed blocks of stone up the bluff to add onto the prison and to create the wall that replaced the original wood stockade.
|JOHN MORRELL & CO. MEAT PACKING PLANT VIEWED BEHIND THE PARK’S VISITOR CENTER.|
Adjacent to the park is John Morrell & Co., founded in England in 1827 and considered to be the oldest continuously operating meat manufacturer in the U.S. Jerry’s mother, father, and several aunts and uncles all worked there at some time.
|JERRY’S MORRELL MEATS TOY TRUCK. PURCHASED BY HIS MOTHER IN THE EARLY 1950s.
DONATED TO CHARITY IN EARLY 2011.
Jerry remembers taking tours of the plant when he was a kid. “Tony” gave the tours and you could actually walk on catwalks and observe the animals being slaughtered. I’m glad they don’t do that anymore. A little bit of trivia from Jerry: The sheep were led to slaughter by a goat (because sheep would willingly follow goats). So, the goat was called the “Judas Goat.”
|ONE QUICK PHOTO OUTSIDE MORRELL’S — THE STENCH WAS INTOLERABLE!|
We left Sioux Falls, South Dakota, late morning for our 262-mile (422-km) drive to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where we now enjoy the city and incredible friends. On the drive up through Minnesota yesterday, after stopping along the way for lunch, gas, and to wash more bug guts off the windshield, we made a final potty stop at a rest area about an hour south of the city. We probably would have stopped at this particular rest area whether we had to go or not.
|REST AREA ON THE STRAIGHT RIVER IN MINNESOTA. WE USED THE FACILITIES.
NO ONE CHALLENGED US.