pgs. 87-96, Parks, Movie houses, Medical Institutions, Sioux City Iowa, 1923

Book cover

A Brief Pictorial and Commercial History
of Sioux City, Iowa

published 1923

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A park system embracing over a thousand acres valued at over
a million dollars, makes Sioux City one of the most beautiful cities of the west.
(See Color Plates)

ONE of the most lasting impressions of Sioux City gained by visitors is the wonderful park system. Nowhere in the west can there be fouond a city of equal or much larger size with so highly a developed system of parks. The system includes over 25 distinct parks, and embraces 1,119.3 acres scattered throughout the city so widely that even the most remote sections of Sioux City are within a short distance from some park. These parks represent years of work and co-operation on the part of the citizens of Sioux City. Part of the parks represent donations from citizens, others were purchased and some were acquired from a combination of these sources.

The king of all Sioux City parks is Stone Park, a natural wooded area of 801 acres in the northwest corner of Sioux City. The fame of this park has spread much farther than Sioux City. Allmost daily the tourist information bureau receives inquiries by person or by mail concerning this park. Anyone who has ever been in Siux City even for a short stay will have some fond memories of Stone Park. It has its beginning in a donation from Mrs. Stone, who had the interest of a more beautiful Sioux City at heart. It gets its name from her, as also does Mount Lucia, the highest point in the park. Additonal land was purchased, including an entrance on the north, by the city until today it is all that we could want in this kind of a park.

For the most part this beautiful tract has been left in its natural state. It is reached from two directions—the river road and the hill road. The river road leaves the Military road at the Milwaukee railroad tracks at North Riverside. This drive is one of the most beautiful in this section of the country. For two miles it hovers on the banks of the beautiful Sioux river half way up the side of the steep bluff. The park department has just recently improved and widened the road. However, they have used good judgment in not paving it, as pavement would take away the spirit of romance that one gets in traversing it to the entrance of the park. The river below this road is a clear, swift running stream that is a joy to canoeists and motor boat enthusiasts.

The entrance to the park at the end of this road is in a valley containing a zoo that is rapidly being stocked with



rare animals, affording amusement and education for the children. Rising from this point in nearly every direction are high hills covered with beautiful old trees and natural foliage. A winding road leads, to the tops of these peaks along which are camp sites. This park is the true mecca for the thousands of tourists who roll across the continent every year. During touring season there are dozens of campers all the time. They come from the north, the south, the east and the west. The license tags of their cars indicate that they come from Canada on the north, and the gulf states on the south, as well as from the Pacific coast states and the Atlantic coast states. It is safe to say that this summer will see cars from every state in the United States and most of the provinces of Canada. "Where are they going?" you ask. They don't know—most of them are just touring.

Every convenience is provided in this park for tourists. Concrete stoves, running water, fuel, shelter, comfort stations, supply store, dance pavilion arid other conveniences make life pleasing for them while stopping in Sioux City. For the people of Sioux City the park is a perpetual picnic ground. Hundreds of picnics are held there every year ranging in size from a devoted couple to a large Sunday school picnic, as known only in the days of old before the advent of the gasoline propelled vehicle.

The north entrance to Stone Park leads off the paved Broken Kettle road. For a mile leaving the main highway is a drive that is being made into the Memorial Drive. Already 204 trees, representing the hoys who lost their lives in the World war, have been placed. They are growing rapidly and will make a wonderful impressive picture in the course of years. A monument is being planned for the park proper that will bring back the memories of the boys who fought in the world's greatest struggle. From the end of this drive to the center of the park is a winding beautiful drive with some wonderful views of the surrounding country. From Mount Lucia, referred to as the highest point in the park, can he seen three great states stretching out in four directions with the two great rivers winding in and out among the hills and farms.

But there are other parks-yes, dozens of them, and some beautiful ones, too. They range in size from .025 of an acre at Call's Triangle, to 120 acres at Garretson Park. Many of these parks are just tracts of land, others are developed as play grounds, and still others are improved wonderfully as city parks and quiet resting places. One of the most valuable and popular parks in the city is Grandview Park. This has the advantage of being large and easily accessible. It occupies approximately 30 acres and cost the city, with improvements, $84,618. It could not be replaced today for many times that amount.

Grandview Park is the mecca for the air starving people who live in the city proper and cannot afford a car. Thousands of men, women and children flock there every evening during the long, hot days. It has been said that the most beautiful sunset view can be had at this park



Overlooking Three States from Stone Park
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more beautiful than at any other spot in Sioux City. The park itself is hilly and from a high point can be seen a view embracing the low rolling hills of Iowa and the wide extending plains of South Dakota and Nebraska. The giant reservoirs that supply a large portion of the city with water are located in this park. Their massive concrete walls loom up like walls of some ancient coliseum. Many shrubs and flowers have been placed around these and along the pathways, giving the entire park a pleasing and cool atmosphere.

Sioux City is rich in Indian and pioneer history and several parks have been retained in memory of various events. Two great names that are familiar to people of this part of the west are Sergeant Floyd and Chief War Eagle. Each of these have been honored by a park with monument.

Sacjawea Park, composed of 12 acres along the bluffs between Morningside and the stock yards, is also linked with these historic events. The park was named from an Indian girl who served as a guide to the followers of Lewis and Clark when they landed at the future site of Sioux City and started to explore the country. This park was a gift to the city and is being improved to offer a beautiful scene from the street car window or from the high road above it.

One of the smaller and close in parks to which there is history connected is Prospect Terrace at the top of Bluff street on a high cliff overlooking the Missouri river. Many pilgrimages are made to this point every Sunday during the spring and summer months. It seems to Sioux City what Pike's Peak is to the cities of Colorado, everyone has a longing to go to the top of the hill for the view. A concrete road now runs to within a few feet of the top, making it convenient to reach. From the top there is a wonderful view of Sioux City, the Missouri river and Nebraska. The entire city, with the exception of the outlying districts, can be seen from here. The most wonderful view of the industrial district and the river front stretches out from this bluff.

Riverside park was recently purchased by the city and made a public park. Since then it has been greatly improved and is one of the growing popular parks. It is located on the river and is accessible by street car. This makes it ideal for picnics and outings of all kinds where everyone can reach it. It was originally an amusement park, but the city has improved it with an elaborate lighting system, sidewalks, five tennis courts, drinking fountains, modern comfort stations and excellent picnic grounds. It is reached by two roads in addition to the car line. One road follows the Missouri river from the city proper and the other is by way of the Military road to North Riverside and then along the Sioux river to the park. It is large enough to accommodate unusually large delegations.

Among the good playground parks are the Children's Park, West Side Park, Anderson Park Fairmont Park and



Gilman Park. A new swimming pool has just been installed at the Children's Park. Anderson Park has a swimming pool, tennis courts and an abundance of playground equipment. Fairmont Park was recently enlarged by purchasing a small partial block across a little used street. The street was then vacated and a much larger and better park was the result. This is the Greenville playground for hundreds of children of that neighborhood. Gilman Park is a playground in the summer time and a skating rink in the winter. Large amplifiers were placed there last year that gave music for the entire park.

One of the newer parks is the Lewis Park in Morningside, now being equipped as a camp ground closer in than Stone Park. It has: tennis courts, baseball diamond, skating in winter, playground the year around, and will soon be equipped with comfort station and bath house, swimming pool and adequate camping facilities.

Other parts of the city, including Leeds, Riverside, Coles Addition and Morningside, have been supplied with excellent parks. Garretson Park, in South Morningside, is composed of 120 acres. Little work has been done on improvements here, but it is an excellent piece of land and will later be one of the leading parks of that part of the city. Peters Park arid Cecelia Park, in Morningside, are shady resting spots.

Numerous small spots, such as Call's Triangle, Hedge's Rest, Pierce Street Triangle, Floyd Plaza and others are scattered all over the city. They are not large enough to be of value as parks, but add greatly to the beauty of that part of the city. They add a spot of green with some flowers and perhaps some trees.

In Sioux City, the parks are considered a vital part of the city. They are cared for with as much thought and consideration as are the school buildings and other public buildings. The Park Department of the city is well organized and has plans prepared many years ahead for the development of certain sections of city property into parks. In the winter children are given consideration by providing them with skating in the city parks and 0ll specially roped off city streets. In the summer they are given adequate playgrounds. Swimming and wading pools are being added year by year until within a few years every part of the city will be well supplied with them.

There is probably no other city in the country of equal or twice the size of Sioux City where the children are so well provided for, where they are given so many parks and playgrounds and where their play is supervised and watched over. The large area of parks may be credited somewhat to the spirit of the great west which is as yet uncrowded and where the cities were founded long after eastern cities became overcrowded. The west has profited by this and every city that is laid out considers among the first steps, the kind of parks that she will have.

The highways and city streets are almost parks within themselves with beautiful trees arid green grass along the roadside.



Sioux City's First Theater Built Over Half Century Ago

First run pictures, big city vaudeville and metropolitan plays amuse theater goers in Sioux City—seventeen show houses.

SIOUX CITY could well be called the city of diversified theatrics with every class of show from the dime movies to dollar-and-half picture shows and latest plays from the city circuits. In Sioux City, like in many other western cities, the moving picture shows have overshadowed the legitimate show, although vaudeville, high class musical comedies and late dramas are well patronized both by the people of the city and the surrounding territory.

The first show house that Sioux City had was called the Academy of Music, and was built in 1870. It was a four-story building with the academy, which was used for all kinds of shows, on the second floor. The seating capacity was about 800. For the next 18 years this was the playhouse for Sioux City where amateur and professional dramatics reigned. Occasionally, we are told by the earlier settlers, the show would give way to a political speech or debate as this was the only public hall of any character.

The most important event in the theater life of Sioux City was the building of the Peavey Grand Theater in 1888. It was built by community effort as many hotels and auditoriums are built today. It also housed the Chamber of Commerce for that time. With the opening of this show house, Sioux City began to receive the best shows and players in the United States. Practically every great player, singer, musician or other person of note in the theater life, from 1888 to the beginning of 1900, came to this show house at some time. This continued to be one of the leading show houses in the northwest until 1919, when it was forced to close because it was no longer safe for large crowds. So suddenly came the close, and so accustomed to attending the shows were the public, that' they were bewildered for years.

In 1896, Sioux City was startled and delighted at their first moving picture shown in the old Grand Theater by Jack Carmody, now manager of the Sioux City Bill Posting Company, and show promoter of the Auditorium. "The Morning Bath" was the title of this first picture which was the forerunner of the present high-class picture houses of Sioux City. Probably not a man in that small audience a quarter of a century ago realized the remarkable growth that was to come to the moving picture world within their lifetime.



Theatres, pg. 92
(click on image for larger size)

Princess Theatre
Crystal Lake
Plaza Theatre
Rialto Theatre
Royal Theatre
Orpheum Theater
Hipp Theatre



Little attention was paid to vaudeville until 1907, when the Lyric Theater was built, although there had been several attempts previous to that. Within a short time the then growing-famous Orpheum circuit took over the Lyric and Sioux City was proud to be a part of that great system of vaudeville shows that is known all over the United States and which has made a real place in the amusement world for high-grade vaudeville acts. The building soon became too small for the Orpheum and a new structure was erected in 1918, which is today perhaps the most popular show place in the city. The best that is to be had in the world of music, singing and popular novelty acts are shown here for the amusement of theater goers. The old Orpheum became the Rialto, now a moving picture house.

From the showing of the first film in 1896, started the history of moving pictures here and it has been a history full of rapid growths. Even when business is low and people are discouraged, they continue to attend the picture shows and continue to enjoy them. Such show houses as the Plaza, Royal, Princess and Rialto are beautifully constructed theaters appealing to the class of people who delight in beautiful surroundings as well as good shows. The latest pictures are shown at these places regularly; in many cases almost simultaneously with the showing in the eastern cities.

Other moving picture houses are Sioux, Hipp, Scenic, Model, Star, Garden, Sun, Park and Palace. These show good pictures at more moderate prices and appeal to a great number of people. Behind all of these shows are show managers who know the wants of the people and know how to serve them.

The Auditorium is the scene of the modern dramas and musical comedies shown in the city. It is the only show house now showing this class of theatrics. That Sioux City likes good shows is evident from the great crowds that attend these shows which are staged regularly during the season. Great actors, musicians and artists appear here who do not, as a rule, play in cities as small as Sioux City. This is due to a great extent to the way in which the Auditorium is managed.

The Sioux City Concert Course and other organizations are responsible for bringing to the city a great number of artists every year. Sioux City is fond of high-class music and attends these performances in great numbers. Lecturers and speakers are brought here through many clubs, churches, school authorities and others. They are for the most part open to the public and of an educational as well as interesting nature.

In recent years, from want of more facilities, the high school auditorium has been used to good advantage for musical acts and for lectures by nationally known speakers. Amateur plays by various societies and fraternal orders are also staged here frequently.



pg. 94, hospitals
(click on image for larger size)

St. Joseph Hospital
Methodist Hospital
Lutheran Hospital
St. Joseph Nurses' Home
St. Vincents Hospital
Woodbury County Poor Farm



Good Medical Institutions Make Sioux City a Health Center

With eight hospitals, two new ones and a new addition planned, and with numerous charitable institutions, Sioux City cares for the sick and afflicted.

SIOUX CITY is well equipped with hospitals and institutions to care for the sick and afflicted. At the present time there are eight hospitals with a capacity of over 600 people, in addition to various homes for the unfortunate girls, orphan asylums and other social and charitable institutions. The first hospital to be opened here was the Samaritan, in 1875. It was incorporated in 1882 and re-organized and named the New Samaritan in 1915. For some years after the establishment it was conducted under the auspices of the Women's Christian Association. From a small institution of a few patients it has grown to be an important asset to the medical profession in Sioux City. Its patients come from many parts of the surrounding states.

Plans have been prepared for a new building to house the New Samaritan which has greatly outgrown its present quarters. The location will be in the north part of the city away from the noise of street cars and heavy traffic. Its completion will be a great addition to the hospital facilities of the city.

The next hospital to be built was the St. Joseph's Mercy Hospital, which started out humbly in 1890, and has since grown to be the largest in the city. The original building has been rebuilt and added to until it now has capacity for over 150 patients and plans have already been prepared and work started on a still larger building. A large class of nurses are graduated from here each year. Approximately 90 are in training at the present time. They live in a new modern dormitory erected for that purpose on the grounds of the hospital. Anticipating a large growth, many acres of land were purchased before the city grew up in that section. This land is now being used for the extensions. The staff of this institution includes 33 nurses, physicians and sisters.

Another large hospital is also a Catholic institution. It is the St. Vincent, the newest and most modern in the city. Erected on a high hill near, and overlooking the business district of the city, it is easily accessible from all railroads and highways. There are 100 beds here, including those in 80 private rooms of the fireproof building. The hospital was first organized in 1907, but found it necessary to build a new building which was finished and opened in 1917.

The Lutheran General Hospital was organized in 1902



by a number of individual Lutherans and Lutheran congregations in Sioux City and surrounding territory. After a struggle on the part of the workers who founded it, the hospital became established and began to grow. By 1910, it was found that there was inadequate room in the building. This necessitated an enlargement that year, followed by a still greater expansion in 1920. The hospital is now modern in every respect with a capacity of 75 patients.

The Methodist Hospital had its beginning in 1919, when Dr. William Jepson made a gift of the St. John's Hospital to the Methodist Conference. The building was remodeled, a nurses' home was provided, and it was opened as a general hospital for the people of the city and community. Its growth has been such as to demand a larger building. This has been planned and work undertaken. The new institution will be modern in every respect and large enough to answer the needs of the city for some years to come. The present building has a capacity of 50 beds, all of which are in use practically all the time.

In 1914, the need for a hospital devoted entirely to maternity cases resulted in the Sioux City Maternity Hospital being established by a group of local people. The 25 rooms of this institution are always in demand because of the wide reputation it has achieved during the years of service since it was organized.

In addition to these hospitals of a public or denominational character, there are a number of private institutions, including the Hillside Sanatorium, with capacity for 50 people and with 16 nurses, and Morningside General Hospital, opened this year. These eight institutions mentioned maintain nurses' training schools with good attendances. The operating rooms are open to the entire medical profession who take advantage of the wonderful equipment including laboratories, x-ray rooms and other facilities. With the completion of the already planned new buildings, Sioux City will be equipped to handle the sick of this territory in an efficient manner.

Working alongside of the hospitals are a number of notable institutions such as Florence Crittenton Home for unmarried mothers, Good Shepherd Home for wayward girls, St. Monica's Home for abandoned babies, St. Anthony's Home for orphans of two years and over, and the Boys and Girls Home for orphans. Medical attention is given those too poor to pay for it, through the Family Welfare Bureau, Sioux City Day Nursery for babies, Tuberculosis Association, Visiting Nurses' Association and the Woodbury County Free Medical Dispensary. These organizations are financed through public donations to the Bureau of Social Agencies, of which they are members.

The growth and importance of the hospitals in Sioux City has made the city a center for health activities.



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