On the far Northeast side of the city, there is a spot that pays homage to those who once ventured into the unknown to build part of a new frontier. The Memorial to The Pioneers stands tall at 25 feet above its base, near the edge of a cliff and can be viewed from Cliff Avenue.
As the plaque at its base says, the monument was built in 1949 by the Minnehaha County Historical Society. It took many years for the society to build the monument. The land was purchased and plans were originally made in 1932, but progress was delayed by The Great Depression. 16 years later, the monument was built, constructed of Sioux Falls Jasper with a Granite facade.
If you take the journey up the steep streets to get more intimate with the monument, you’ll quickly discover it’s quite a peaceful place to take in a view of the East side of the city. You may have to keep your gaze in the opposite direction of the John Morrell plant though. Nobody wants to see (or smell) that.
The site wasn’t always so peaceful. North Avenue, the street that runs next to the monument, used to run Northwest and connect to Cliff Avenue. It was also once part of State Highway 77, a main artery between Sioux Falls and Dell Rapids. In 2006, the road was cut off at the monument and made into a cul-de-sac as part of a construction project where Cliff was widened. This caused a rapid decline in traffic to the monument, as well as the businesses along the street.
The Amidon Affair marker was placed next to The Memorial to The Pioneers in 1951 to tell the story of the murder of Judge Joseph B. Amidon and his son, which happened nearby. The Amidon Affair is considered one of the most significant events in the early years of Sioux Falls.
You owe it to yourself to venture out to this part of Sioux Falls on a sunny day to take in a huge part of the city’s history.