Like much of South Dakota, the 123-acre Falls Park is steeped in history. The Falls of the Big Sioux River have been a source of industry and recreation for more than 150 years. It is also home to some of Sioux Falls' very first buildings.
It's impossible to grasp the scope of the Falls in words, but every second, approximately 7,400 gallons of water cascade 100 feet over the meandering course of the falls.
In 1887, the Queen Bee Mill was built, and in the pioneer days the falls were tapped to provide waterpower to run the mill. However, the mill was closed in 1883 due to its inability to provide adequate waterpower and converted into a warehouse in 1929. In 1956, fire destroyed parts of the mill. Upper walls were later knocked down for safety reasons. The remainder of the mill still stands.
In 1908 a hydroelectric plant, the Sioux Falls Light and Power Company building was completed. It has since been retrofitted and converted into the Falls Overlook Cafe.
The sheer beauty of the falls will leave you speechless, but there is much more to the park than water. The grounds surrounding the Falls are gorgeous in and of themselves. Lush green grass, trees, winding sidewalk paths and lots of lighting for nighttime visits are found throughout the area.
Don't miss a trip to the observation tower, a five-story 50-foot viewing tower at the Visitor Information Center, as well as other points of interest at the Falls -- including the mill race, dam and Falls Park Shelter, where fantastic farmers markets are often held.
Location: North Phillips Ave. and Falls Park Drive , Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57104
Image credit: Craig Bennett - Flickr Creative Commons License
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