The Pioneer Memorial looks out over Sioux Falls from a bluff in the northern part of town. I’d seen the obelisk many times driving north up the hill on Cliff Avenue, but never taken the time to check it out. So I did.

The Memorial is a huge obelisk made from the Sioux quartzite bedrock that lives under the city. It was erected in 1949 by the Minnehaha County Historical Society, as a memorial to the early pioneers of the Sioux Empire.

From the site of the Memorial you can look south on the City and see the waste water treatment plant retention ponds, the street department, John Morrell meat packing plant, St. Joseph Cathedral and the South Dakota State Penitentiary.

It’s also on the site of the The Amidon Affair. An incident during the 1862 Sioux Uprising when Sioux Falls Judge Joseph B. Amidon and his son, William, were killed near the spot. Their deaths lead to attacks on Native Americans in the area and ultimately the abandoning of young Sioux Falls for a period of time. You can read more about the The Amidon Affair here.

There is a bronze plaque on the obelisk that reads:

“Memorial to the pioneers of

Minnehaha County 1856 – 1889. Erected by the Minnehaha County Historical Society 1949.”

At the base is another marker that reads:

“The Pioneer Memorial Honors the early settlers who faced the harsh and lonely prairie, the ferocity of the elements, and the uncertainty of their fate in this new land between 1856 when Sioux Falls city was platted and 1889 when South Dakota achieved statehood. They built homes, farms and businesses and planted their family roots in Minnehaha County. This Sioux Quartzite obelisk was erected in their memory in 1949.”

As you can see in the video above, it's a beautiful view of the city from the Pioneer Memorial.

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