Welcome to the Minnehaha County, South Dakota,
Century Fund Website
Learn more about us on the following pages:
Who We Are
What We Have Done
What More We Want to Do
How You Can Help
Links and Resources
The Falls of the Big Sioux River
The falls have attracted human beings from the dawn of time. The earliest nomad bands marveled at their rugged beauty and their raw power at full flood. Mound builders established villages nearby, on the hills and in the valleys of the Great Bend of the river. Later the Lakota and Dakota, along with other plains tribes, set up camps along the river. Various European explorers may have seen the falls during the 17th and 18th centuries, but the first to record his visit was a fur trader by the name of Philander Prescott. A crossing just south of the falls was used by Native Americans and by Euramericans alike, and became the locus of a settlement which was eventually grew into the town of Sioux Falls.
Where the native Americans found beauty and awe, the settlers saw opportunities for riches. Again and again the latecomers attempted to harness the power of the waters near the falls. The islands and river banks, first used for recreation, became cluttered with industrial buildings. By the middle of the 20th century, visitors to the falls were appalled by the ugliness that surrounded it, and a few citizens with foresight began the process of cleaning up the area and turning it into a park. Today Falls Park is a gem in the city’s park system, with carefully maintained walks and a bridge and a tower allowing varied views of the area’s foremost attraction.
The work of those whose vision restored and improved the area near the falls is a tribute to the kind of thinking supported by the Minnehaha Century Fund. The fund has contributed to historic markers in Falls Park, along with scores of others around the Sioux Falls, to call attention to the roots of our community.
Preservation, restoration, and education are the goals of the MCF. You can help with your input and your generosity. For more about how you can contribute to this cause, click here.
The river crossing is to the left. Image owner: Siouxland Heritage Museums.
A new Minnehaha County courthouse was constructed during 1889-1900.
Thereafter, most of the "divorsays" who came to Sioux Falls to untie
their marital knots attended a divorce hearing in this new building.
Today it is a museum and the home of the Minnehaha Century Fund.
One of the major undertakings of the fund is to provide support for calling attention
to such historical sites with markers such as the one simulated below.