The Fascinating Story of the Lost City of ‘East’ Sioux Falls
The great Dakota boom kicked off in the early 1800's with the arrival of railroads. One of the early winners was the village of “East Sioux Falls” which was incorporated in 1876. By the late 1880s, the rock quarry business there was exploding.
Quartzite rock was used in buildings and to pave streets all over the Sioux Empire.
"Early settlers to Sioux Falls found many uses for the stone. Quartzite buildings were constructed here as early as the 1850s. In the late 1800s, quartzite quarries could be found in towns throughout Minnehaha County, such as Dell Rapids, Rowena, East Sioux Falls, and Sioux Falls. Several streets were paved and many of the most prominent buildings in Sioux Falls were constructed of the stone. Quartzite was also shipped by rail to cities like Chicago, Detroit, Omaha, and Sioux City." - Historical Marker Located in Downtown Sioux Falls.
In 1887 Quarry partners C. W. Hubbard and James E. Riley expanded their business along the bluffs of the Big Sioux River six miles east of downtown Sioux Falls.
In 1888 a railroad depot was built by the Illinois Central railroad company. The station was named East Sioux Falls.
All the quartzite paving blocks and building stones could now be transported by rail throughout the United States.
By 1890 East Sioux Falls had hotels, stores, a post office, saloon and houses.
"The industry attracted Welsh, English, and Scottish stonecutters and their families. Their numbers soon outgrew the housing provided by the company. Many moved to Sioux Falls and Rowena, as East Sioux Falls bore a striking resemblance to a mining boom town. Unlike its quiet, sedate neighbors, East Sioux Falls had a bawdy, wide-open appearance, where drinking, fighting and carousing were more than occasional diversions." East Sioux Falls Historical Marker
In 1893 a depression occurred and the quartzite was no longer in high demand. Eventually, the Sioux Falls Granite Company was forced into bankruptcy. People moved away and the businesses closed.
By 1913, with very few folks left in the city, East Sioux Falls was forced to give up its charter.
Up until 1999, the Perry family owned the land that is now the Perry Nature Area which is a public use area that preserves the natural beauty and historic features of the landscape.
South Dakota True Crime